Navigating the Colorado legal system can be complex and frustrating. A knowledgeable Colorado attorney can help avoid many pitfalls; however, hiring an attorney is not always practical or possible. The United States legal system affords individuals the right to represent themselves. A litigant representing himself or herself is known as a pro se litigant. There are many resources for those looking to proceed pro se, but it is important to check the reliability of an organization or a website before relying on any content.
A great source for information are the court websites. On the Colorado State Judicial Branch website, there are forms & instructions available by category. Generally, disputes are settled in Colorado's Small Claims Courts, County Courts, or Civil Courts. Claims for less than $7,500 can be pursued in Small Claims Court. Helpful Small Claims Forms can be found here. Cases for $15,000 or less can be filed in one of Colorado's County Courts. Cases involving disputes in excess of $15,000 must be filed in District Court. The clerks of each courts can also be a great resource. While clerks cannot give legal advice, then can help with general procedural issues.
There are many websites offering cheap legal forms. As with any industry, the legitimacy of these sites varies greatly. If you are considering purchasing forms from one of these websites, be sure to verify that the forms are not already available to the public. It is also advisable to speak with a Colorado attorney to ensure the forms you are purchasing are the correct and up-to-date.
Legal blogs or "blawgs" can be another great resource. A couple of the most popular blawgs are above the law and SCOTUSblog. For more practical information about Colorado law, check out the Aguero Law Blawg where we discuss various topics like: bankruptcy in Colorado, improper services of process, and many other common legal issues. Send us a message if you would like to see a blog discussing a specific topic.
If you know that you need a Colorado attorney but cannot afford one, there are organizations offering free legal aid. For example, Colorado Legal Services offers free legal aid to qualified individuals. Many law firms, including this one, offer free initial consults which can be a great way to gather information regarding your case. If you are interested in scheduling a free consult to discuss your legal issue, contact us today.
Without an attorney, legal research can be difficult. Although access to cases, statutes, and legal rules has increased greatly over the past few years, it can still be difficult to find reliable legal authority. The law libraries at any law school are great places to conduct free legal research. Finding what you are looking for can be a time consuming process but the librarians should be willing to help. If there is no law school in your area then the internet will likely be your best option. You may be able to find what you are looking for simply by running a search on your favorite search engine but, as always, be sure to check your sources.
Representing yourself can be difficult but it is not impossible. While there is no substitute for an experienced Colorado attorney, there are many resources available to pro se litigants. If you are considering representing yourself in a legal action be sure to take advantage of any legal resource you can find.