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Will Some Lucky Pro Se Litigants Be Represented by Judge Posner?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Recently retired from the Seventh Circuit, Judge Richard Posner has indicated that he is interested in directly helping pro se litigants. The retired judge is rather vocal with his criticism of how the justice system is stacked against pro se litigants and has some ideas for systemic change.

His book that states these views is drawing criticism from the circuit he used to serve. But since its release, he has received many inquiries requesting help from non-profits that assist pro se litigants and others. While Judge Posner has indicated that he "isn't ruling out handling a case on behalf of pro se litigants," his focus appears to be on making larger changes to the system.

Judge Posner to the Rescue

While he may not be donning the lawyer's uniform in court quite yet, his desire to help pro se litigants is what drove him to retire from the bench. He explained, after his retirement, that the friction caused by his criticism of the staff attorney program led him to retire. He wanted to do more to help, and felt like he couldn't do it while on the bench.

Staff Attorney Pro Se Problems in Print

One of the aspects of Judge Posner's book that has raised the ire of the court is his use of examples of deficient staff attorney memos on pro se cases. In addition to providing examples, Posner explained that because the staff attorneys are generally recent grads, are inexperienced, and don't get the necessary guidance, it's no surprise the memos are unsatisfactory.

However, what may come as a bit of a shock is that he believes the staff attorneys are often unfair to pro se litigants. Less shocking is the fact that Posner, who wrote some of the most fascinating opinions ever, believes many of the staff attorney memos were just poorly written and hard to understand (maybe some slack deserves to be cut there).

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