Every year, millions try to navigate US courts without a lawyer

Without legal assistance, their issues will likely be unresolved or, worse, wrongly resolved against them.


Lauren Sudeall Lucas, Darcy Meals
Associated Press (AP)
September 21, 2017

Tags: Justice for All, Pro Se/Self-Help

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC), Self-Represented Litigants Network (SRLN), National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC)


In some states, as many as 80 to 90 percent of litigants are unrepresented, even though their opponent has a lawyer. The number of these “pro se litigants” has risen substantially in the last decade, due in part to the economic downturn and the relationship between poor economic conditions and issues like housing and domestic relations.

The Legal Services Corporation, the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation, reported in June that 86 percent of low-income Americans receive inadequate or no professional legal help for the civil legal problems they face. Here in Georgia, state courts heard more than 800,000 cases involving self-represented litigants in 2016 alone.