A Dissatisfied Litigant, 1845, by Honoré Daumier (1808-1879).

Most people understand that attorneys’ ethical rules prohibit us from advising another lawyer’s client because it can so easily interfere with the attorney-client relationship.  More difficult to explain, though, is why I cannot help individuals who pursue legal action in courts of law on their own.  Hopefully, this will clear things up a bit.

These folks pursuing redress on their own are called pro se (pronounced “pro-SAY”) litigants, or sometimes pro per litigants.  Their lack of counsel has no bearing on the validity or magnitude of their claim– indeed, there are thousands of individuals who simply cannot afford a lawyer or do not qualify for assistance from Legal Aid organizations or other services.  Absent a lawyer, no attorney-client relationship exists, so I can’t interfere with it.

Still, there are two very specific reasons why I still can’t talk to you:  

Continue Reading Pro se litigants… why I can’t advise you directly.

Apparently, a normal chest x-ray.  I have precisely no base of knowledge to refute that conclusion (I haven’t gone to med school).  Image credit: Yale Rosen, via Wikimedia Commons.

I fielded a phone call in the wee early hours this morning (I was already up and working) from a fellow with an overseas issue.  He said he needed a some help with the Hague Convention (there’s no such thing as “the” Hague Convention), and could he pick my brain for a few minutes. 
Continue Reading Pro se litigants and Hague service