Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Kenn Goldblatt?
I’m author of The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook. To simplify explaining my background and experience, I usually introduce myself as “a litigator without a license.”
What is a Litigator Without a License?
In Texas, you cannot refer to yourself as an attorney if you do not have a law license. Because I represent myself in lawsuits, without the assistance of an attorney, the “litigator without a license” description fits best. When I assist others who are involved in lawsuits, I do so as a consultant, not an attorney
How did Kenn learn to represent himself in court without an attorney?
In 1994 I went to the aid of a friend and mentor who was being cheated and bullied as an estate executor by a corporation that had substantial income. When I got sued for my effort, I knew I didn’t have the financial resources to employ traditional representation. But I had the research and writing skills and experience I needed to defend myself. So I found an attorney who agreed to let me do as much of the work as I could under his direction for a reduced retainer. Then I learned what to do and how to do it as the case progressed. The case went on for about ten (10) years. As it did, I progressed from being a party to a senior trial paralegal, to representing myself.
So how much experience in litigating do you have?
Over almost 25 years I’ve appeared in every type of state and Federal court in six states and five Federal circuits, including six trips to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Why did you decide to write The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook?
There are now over five million (5,000,000) individuals representing themselves in state and Federal courts across the United States. Helping pro se litigants over the years showed me that most judges discriminate against individuals trying to represent themselves – usually for a couple of reasons. First, most pro se litigants usually do not understand the litigation process and make very little effort to learn it. Second, because they do not know what to do or how to do it effectively, they wind up wasting a lot of the court’s time. As a result, they frustrate judges and suffer the consequences.
How will The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook help those people?
Yes. Depending on the facts and circumstances of their individual case, I can consult with them to show them what to do and how to do it, or render other services that may be required. I’ve handled those sorts of cases from New Hampshire on the east coast to Washington state and California on the west coast – and states in between.
What’s the best advice you can give pro se litigants?
The most frequent question I get from individuals trying to do their own lawsuits is “Isn’t there an easy way to do this?” My answer is always a flat “No.” If they are not willing to do the hard work to prevail, they need to hire a lawyer and stay on the sidelines. But if they are willing to do the work, the book will show them what to do, when to do it, and make sure they do it consistently and properly.
How successful have you been in litigating your own cases?
I’ve consistently prevailed. In the last two (2) or three (3) years, I prevailed against experienced, licensed attorneys in five (5) cases. In the last one, I established my title to a piece of real estate against the plaintiffs and collected legal fees that were not required by statute for a lawyer who was representing corporations I owned, got a $500,000 judgment against one cross-defendant, and have judgments of the same size pending against two (2) other cross-defendants.
What about cases where you helped other pro se litigants?
The cases that are brought to me are usually ones that attorneys have already screwed up. I’m frequently able to straighten those out and help the litigant prevail.
In one recent case, I was called into a four-year old commercial suit where there had been three previous defense attorneys. In four (4) weeks, I showed the defendant how to reestablish his $95,000 settlement the plaintiff was reneging on. He collected his money and pressured the plaintiff into non-suiting the case besides.
In another three year old auto collision case the plaintiff’s attorneys made some fatal mistakes and then withdrew without informing the plaintiff they had missed her appeal deadline requirements. After a motion for new trial was denied, I showed her how to get her case back into court with what is called “a bill of review.” Now the defendant is talking settlement.
The key is understanding how the system works and the various alternatives you have as a litigant to establish your case and prevail. The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook is designed to give the average litigant the detailed information they need to have the best chance of prevailing in his or her particular case whether they are proceeding pro se or being represented by an attorney.
In any given lawsuit, there are lots of different cards to play. Knowing what those cards are, and when and how to play them is the key to prevailing in the lawsuit.
Have you gotten feedback from your readers?
Yes. One reader said on Amazon that the book is “very helpful to the lay reader.” Another said “I really enjoyed this book. I am in the process of litigating pro se and have found the information here invaluable.” A third commented that “I used the section on Recognizing and Preventing Opposing Party Dirty Tricks in my case as this is exactly what the opposition was doing.”
My intention was to give readers with no litigation experience a step-by-step reference book to guide them through each phase of a typical lawsuit to give them the best chance of prevailing at each step of the process. The book explains the process itself. The appendix gives examples of the typical types of documents readers may need to file as they go along and what those documents should look like when they are filed. And the glossary helps them to “speak litigation” in court to use the right words and terms in their court appearances.
Where can people buy your book?
The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook is available in hardcover, paperback, or electronic format on Amazon.com, through Barnes & Noble stores. But you can get a signed copy of the book by clicking here.