Connecting Self-Representation to Civil Gideon: What Existing Data Reveal About When Counsel is Most Needed

By: Russell Engler. Published by: Fordham Urban Law Journal. Published in February 2010.

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37 Fordham Urb. L.J. 37 This article first analyzes many of the reports revealing the correlation between representation and success rates in court. As shown in Part II, notwithstanding methodological differences, reports consistently show not only that representation is a significant variable affecting a claimant’s chances for success in eviction, custody, and debt collection cases, but that the finding also applies to many administrative proceedings.

Part IV explores the implications of the reports, discussing key variables beyond representation that impact case outcomes. It next identifies the two crucial, and unsurprising, conclusions regarding what we do know about representation. The first is the importance of power. The greater the power opposing a litigant, and the more that litigant lacks power, the greater will be the need for representation; the section therefore explores sources of power that line up against litigants without counsel, and factors that act as barriers to representation. The second theme is the importance not just of any advocate, but of a skilled advocate with knowledge and expertise relevant to the proceeding where the power imbalance is the greatest.



Categories: Researchers and Academics, National, Self-Represented Litigants

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