How Americans navigate a civil justice system made ‘by lawyers, for lawyers’

Across the country, a huge influx of individuals are representing themselves in civil courtrooms, which lack the criminal side’s right to counsel.

Investigative (NATIONAL, Oklahoma)

Mollie Bryant
Big If True
March 18, 2019

Tags: Access to Justice, Pro Se/Self-Help

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC), Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission and Foundation


People representing themselves in civil issues face a barrage of challenges. Courtrooms are intimidating and legal documents are famously difficult for laypeople to understand. Attorneys admit that in some courts, clerks refuse to share basic information with people representing themselves, and as it is, legal procedures can be arcane and daunting. Without the training and expertise of a lawyer, advocating for one’s self in court can be an uphill battle.