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Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare & Try a Winning Case


Prepare and present a winning civil court case!

Written in plain English, Represent Yourself in Court breaks down the trial process ...
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Prepare and present a winning civil court case!

Written in plain English, Represent Yourself in Court breaks down the trial process into easy-to-understand steps so that you can act as your own lawyer -- safely and efficiently. Find out what to say, how to say it, even where to stand when you address the judge and jury.

Armed with these simple but thorough instructions, you'll be well prepared to achieve good results, without the cost of an attorney. Find out how to:

  • file court papers
  • handle depositions and interrogatories
  • comply with courtroom procedures
  • pick a jury
  • prepare your evidence and line up witnesses
  • present your opening statement and closing argument
  • cross-examine hostile witnesses
  • understand and apply rules of evidence
  • locate, hire and effectively use expert witnesses
  • make and respond to your opponent's objections
  • get limited help from an attorney as needed
  • monitor the work of an attorney if you decide to hire one

    Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, this book will help you confidently handle a divorce, personal injury case, landlord/tenant dispute, breach of contract, small business dispute or any other civil lawsuit.

    The 6th edition is completely updated to include the latest rules and court procedures and more sample documents to help guide you through your case.

    What's New
    The 6th Edition of Represent Yourself in Court contains completely updated legal information, including:

  • updated discovery rules
  • new information about electronic discovery and the use of electronic evidence, and
  • a newsection that contains an example of a custody hearing.

Explains how to handle a contested court case from start to finish without a lawyer. Covers gathering and analyzing evidence, determining whether there is a valid case, choosing a jury, questioning witnesses, introducting documentary evidence, cross-examining the opponent, and more. Good in all 50 states. Illus.

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Editorial Reviews

New Orleans Times-Picayune
An excellent resource that outlines what's involved in representing yourself in court -- from presenting evidence to the rules of cross examination.
Library Journal
Highly recommended for even modest legal self-help collections.
Library Journal
The nuts and bolts of self-representation in court are presented in this detailed, sensible book. The authors describe the legal process from the investigation of the case through the collection of a judgment, with an emphasis on what happens in the courtroom. Bergman and Berman-Barrett share the procedures and methods a lay person needs to survive in an environment that is not necessarily friendly to nonattorneys. Understanding that in the law the devil is in the details, they take pains to avoid oversimplification, and they do an equally good job of illuminating concepts like burden of proof and procedures like marking and identifying exhibits. The authors highlight important information with icons that alert the reader to a practical suggestion, warn of a potential problem, or refer to other resources on the subject. Highly recommended for even modest legal self-help collections, including those that already own Robert Schachner's How and When To Be Your Own Lawyer (LJ 3/1/ 93).-Joan Pedzich, Harris, Beach & Wilcox, Rochester, N.Y.
USA Today
"Nolo helps lay people perform legal tasks without the aid -- or fees -- of lawyers."
San Francisco Chronicle
"...all of [Nolo's] books are easy-to-understand, are updated regularly, provide pullout forms...for proper legal submissions and are often quite moving in their sense of compassion for the struggles of the lay reader."
The Washington Post
"Nolo people simply through the how, when, where and why of the law."
Times-Picayune New Orleans
"An excellent resource that outlines what's involved in representing yourself in court -- from presenting evidence to the rules of cross-examination."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413307108
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 2/8/2008
  • Edition description: Sixth Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 524
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Bergman is a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and a recipient of a University Distinguished Teaching Award. His recent books include Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (Andrews & McMeel); Trial Advocacy: Inferences, Arguments, Techniques (with Moore and Binder, West Publishing Co.); and Represent Yourself In Court and The Criminal Law Handbook (both with Berman-Barrett, Nolo). He has also published numerous articles in law journals, and regularly gives presentations on how law and lawyers are portrayed in film.

Sara J. Berman is a professor at Concord Law School and co-founder of PASS Bar Review. She is the co-author of Represent Yourself in Court and The Criminal Law Handbook and the author of numerous articles and law course materials.

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Table of Contents

  • 1. Going It Alone in Court
  • 2. The Courthouse and the Courtroom
  • 3. Starting Your Case
  • 4. Overview of Pre-Trial Procedures
  • 5. Investigating Your Case
  • 6. Settlement
  • 7. Pre-Trial Motions
  • 8. What you Need to Prove at Trial: The Plaintiff's Perspective
  • 9. What you Need to Prove at Trial: The Defendant's Perspective
  • 10. Selecting the Decision Maker
  • 11. Opening Statement
  • 12. Direct Examination
  • 13. Cross-Examination
  • 14. Closing Argument
  • 15. Exhibits
  • 16. Basic Rules of Evidence
  • 17. Making and Responding to Objections
  • 18. Organizing a Trial Notebook
  • 19. Expert Witnesses
  • 20. When Your Trial Ends: Judgments & Appeals
  • 21. Representing Yourself in Divorce Court
  • 22. Represent Yourself in Bankruptcy Court
  • 23. Getting Help from Attorneys: Hiring a Legal Coach
  • 24. Legal Research Glossary Index
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