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Not that you would recommend it, but any serious disadvantages going pro se as a defendant in an unlimited civil case?

Cerritos, CA |

I am trying to quickly settle and negotiate monthly payments on $10k+ damages, trying to absolutely avoid wage garnishments. Doable if one does his/her own research, files timely and meets all deadlines?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Absolutely doable. The question is what are the downside risks if you blow it? If your worst case scenario is a $10 k judgment, than you may be smart not to hire a lawyer, because you'll spend more than that in legal fees. On the other hand, even a small judgment can affect your credit and your ability to obtain employment. You would probably be money ahead by not hiring a lawyer and paying a bit more to settle, to avoid wage garnishment and an adverse judgment.


  2. Absolutely doable, as my colleague notes. Here you are being sued in the unlimited jurisdiction court in a matter that does not appear to meet the minimum damages required. If you can achieve a "quick settlement", perhaps you are ahead. If not, I think you will be at a disadvantage. Doable and disadvantaged are not mutually exclusive.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  3. It is doable to represent yourself in pro per, PROVIDED you are smart enough to know where to look for accurate information regarding the law, court procedures, deadlines, and so forth.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.

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