I live in Northern California. I was a victim of an assault by a tenant who rented the condo next door. This tenant is a violent felon and a convicted drug dealer. I notified the tenant's landlord and the HOA about this tenant many times yet they did not take any steps to enforce the CC&Rs. I am trying to to find a contingent-fee attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit against the landlord and the HOA. If I file the lawsuit myself, why do some attorneys say that I will likely loose my case? Is it because that even in a jury-trial case, judges consciously or sub-consciously are against a pro-per plaintiff even if the plaintiff is highly-educated and can and will represent himself to the highest professional legal standards? Do pro-per plaintiffs win sometimes against seasoned attorneys?
Yes, some pro per plaintiffs are very skilled. Most are not "defeated" by the law which they ably research but by the procedures of courts. You mention jury trial. Knowing the deadline to post jury fees (or lose the right to jury trial), knowing how to conduct effective voir dire or jurors, preparing jury instructions, are all procedures which are not impossible but not easy to learn. There really is a reason that law school takes three years.
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.
The problem pro-per plaintiffs face is that they generally 1) do not know the applicable law, 2) do not know the procedures they must follow, and 3) are to close to the case to be able to deal with it objectively and therefore think that everything is relevant. These three factors lead to the vast majority if pro pers losing their cases.
J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.
You should not have difficulty finding an attorney to take your case on a contingency. This is the type of case that many personal injury attorneys would take regularly. Call the local bar associations or search out personal injury attorneys on this website and contact them.
To answer your other question, pro-per plaintiffs do sometimes win against seasoned attorneys. But litigation is difficult and seasoned litigators will certainly have an advantage.
I have litigated against pro-pers numerous times in the past, even against pro-per attorneys. Most of the ones I have dealt with do not understand basic legal principles and procedures, often resulting in their losing their case on technical grounds.
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