People sometimes file lawsuits without the assistance of an attorney at law. People who represent themselves in a court case are called “pro se litigants.” Complaints filed by pro se litigants are common, including in California and in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County in particular. Imagine that your business received a complaint from a pro se litigant. Should you ignore it because it did not come from an attorney? You might think that a pro se case is not serious, but taking a complaint lightly could be a big mistake.
Judge Richard Posner served as a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeal from 1981 until his recent retirement on September 1. Posner’s self-published book, Reforming the Federal Judiciary: My Former Court Needs to Overhaul Its Staff Attorney Program and Begin Televising Its Oral Arguments, was also released earlier this month.
In an interview with the New York Times, Posner opined that most judges regard pro se litigants as “not worth the time of a federal judge” and that Judges in the 7th Circuit (in the Midwest) generally rubber stamp recommendations of staff lawyers who review pro se appeals. In addition, Posner said he was prevented from giving pro se litigants a better chance by reviewing the staff attorney memos before they were circulated to judges.