August 2015 Bar Bulletin
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August 2015 Bar Bulletin

The System v. The Pro Se: You Have Just Entered "The Twilight Zone"

By Marc Lampson

 

Fade In:

A woman enters an imposing gray building, walking through a doorway above which are chiseled the words: AND JUSTICE FOR ALL ....

Narrator Steps in Front of the Door the Woman Just Entered:

"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead, through those two glass doors and past the security guards - your next stop ... the Twilight Zone!"

[Cue a high-pitched guitar riff: dee-dee, dee-dee, dee-dee-dee ...]

"Submitted for your consideration in this episode, two ordinary people - the woman you saw earlier and a man you'll meet soon. They find themselves in an extraordinary situation, a situation created by well-meaning people who intended to be helpful, but eerily ended up writing thousands of words and pages of rules, instruction manuals, spreadsheets and forms.

"Now, imagine, if you will, a man who has worked in the legal field for more than 30 years. He decides to take a job at a law library helping non-lawyers who are trying to help themselves navigate the legal system without an attorney. Now imagine: YOU are that man."

[Cue reprise guitar and a graphic of a black-and-white spiral spinning dizzily toward the viewer ...]


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