Representing Yourself in Court: A Guide for Self-Represented Litigants

Introduction: What You Need to Know about Self-Representation

If you’re considering filing a civil action in federal court but don’t have legal representation, you have the option to proceed as a Self-Represented Litigant (SRL). While the court appoints attorneys only in specific situations, you have the opportunity to take your case forward independently. It’s important to understand that civil cases differ from criminal cases, which are initiated by government officials. In a civil case, you don’t have an automatic right to legal representation.

Navigating the Process: Tools and Resources for Self-Represented Litigants

To assist you in your self-representation journey, the Self Help Tools section provides a range of valuable resources. Here, you’ll find helpful forms, frequently asked questions, and links to relevant online sources. While the Court and its staff cannot provide legal advice or assistance, this section aims to equip you with the necessary information to navigate the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules.

eFiling: A Convenient Option for Self-Represented Litigants

As a Self-Represented Litigant, you can currently file your cases via email by sending them to This streamlined eFiling process allows for an efficient submission of your documents.

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Responsibility and Accountability: Limitations on Artificial Intelligence

It’s essential to note that generative artificial intelligence, including ChatGPT, Harvey.AI, and Google Bard, cannot be used to draft any part of your pleadings, motions, or other legal documents. As a self-represented party or attorney, you assume full responsibility for the content of any submission to the Court. This adherence to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b) ensures accountability and upholds the integrity of the legal process.

Maximizing Self Help Tools: A Breakdown of Available Resources

Here’s an overview of the resources included in the Self Help Tools section:

Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Legal Terms

This comprehensive compilation addresses common questions raised by self-represented individuals like yourself. This section serves as an excellent starting point for those considering filing a case. Additionally, it provides explanations of key legal terminology regularly used by the Clerk’s Office and Court.

Forms: Assisting You in Filing Your Case

Within the Self-Represented Litigants (SRL) subsection, you’ll find a collection of forms and accompanying instructions for various types of cases. This repository also includes additional motion templates and essential documents you may require for your case or appeal. Before initiating your case, it’s advisable to review these forms and instructions to determine their applicability to your situation.

Links: Connecting You to Relevant Resources

This section contains a curated list of external websites that can offer further guidance. Explore these links to access valuable information about attorneys, legal aid organizations, federal and local rules, federal courts, external agencies, pro se sites, and legal research. Each resource aims to provide you with additional support throughout your legal journey.

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Important Reminder: The Role of Self Help Tools

While the Self Help Tools section strives to equip you with the necessary information, it does not substitute legal advice from an attorney. Furthermore, it may not address the specific details of your case or individual circumstances. For personalized guidance, it is recommended that you seek professional legal assistance.

Remember, Garrity Traina is here to support you every step of the way. To learn more about our services, visit Garrity Traina.