My Shingle

Be A Shlep!

by Carolyn Elefant on September 6, 2006 · 5 comments

in Announcements, Legal Profession Trends

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One of my favorite blogging buddies, David Giacalone, on a partial blogging hiatus as f/k/a, has resurfaced again with a new proposed blog, shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress.  As the name reflects, shlep will provide commentary on and resources for pro se litigation.  From the introductory post:

Self-Help Law deserves its own weblog.  It is too important a right for consumers, a vital movement, and a growing virtual and realworld reality, to be outside the spotlight of the blogosphere and the weblogger community. (See Movement/ Shmovement below, plus our About page)  Indeed, if weblogs are even half as important in the world of legal services as everybody* says,
it may be malpractice for consumer advocates, proponents of universal
access to justice, law-and-technology gurus, or law firm
management mavens to start the day without seeking a weblog dose of pro se and self-help news and punditry.

Should solos and small firms care about the growing pro se
trend?  Absolutely.  Since many of us practice on the front lines of
litigation, we’ll often meet litigants with small matters that don’t
warrant the cost of hiring a lawyer or who are uncomfortable with the
cost of an attorney and would prefer to handle the matter themselves.
Rather than criticize these clients as stupid or short sighted (which
many lawyers are apt to do when clients seek not to hire them), we
should at least educate them on the pro se process.  Perhaps, clients will then decide to proceed pro se or
perhaps they won’t, but at least we can assist them in making an
informed decision.  But to do that, we lawyers need to educate
ourselves on the pro se practice as well – and that’s what David’s site will help us do.

Educating on pro se practice can also reduce the cost of litigation, not just for the pro se, but for all involved.  Because pro se litigants are not familiar with the court process, it may take longer for paying clients and cost them more money, or result in this kind of conduct.   We should develop ways to improve the quality of pro se litigation.

Of course, the only problem with shlep is that David Giacalone is pro se:  he needs assistance from other bloggers to ensure the success of this new venture.  Contact David at shlep if you’re interested.

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/shlep/ david giacalone

    Carolyn, Thank you for a very generous and insightful post. I’ve been planning to send you the following excerpt from Civil Legal Assistance for All Americans: The Report of the Harvard Law School Bellow-Sacks Project on the Future of Access to Civil Legal Services (at 29 – 30, 2005, text 64 pp., pdf), but this might be a great place to get this important message to solo and small-firm practitioners, with the hope that you and they will follow up on the national and local levels.

    “By far, the private bar

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/shlep/2006/09/01/wanted-co-editors-for-self-help-law-weblog/ shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress

    wanted: co-editors for self-help law weblog

      [pre-launch posting]
    Self-Help Law deserves its own weblog.  It is too important a right for consumers, a vital movement, and a growing virtual and realworld reality, to be outside the spotlight of the blogosphere and the weblogger community. (Se…

  • http://temp.starklawlibrary.org/blog/archive/2006_09.html#005944 Stark County Law Library Blog

    “Be A Shlep!”

    Posted by Carolyn Elefant: ?One of my favorite blogging buddies, David Giacalone, on a partial blogging hiatus as f/k/a, has

  • LM

    I’m so glad you’ve posted about the increasing pro se trend. I clerked for a judge this summer, and was just blown away by the number of cases — civil and criminal — in which people had resorted to self-representation. Fortunately, some states are designing programs to address these needs (e.g., pro se clerks and kiosks in courthouses).
    These services will no doubt be of great use for people who are too “wealthy” to qualify for legal services, but too poor to be able to afford a private attorney.
    Here’s another site to add to the repertoire: Self-Help Support
    LM :)

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