Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.
In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 09:40 am
Going to federal court can be an intimidating experience. You may be wondering if you really need to hire a lawyer to represent you or if you can just represent yourself. Here’s the truth: while you can technically represent yourself in federal court, doing so is an extremely risky move that is not recommended in most cases.
Another common misconception is that judges will give you extra leeway because you don’t have legal training. This is completely false. Judges expect you to follow all the same rules that apply to lawyers. You’ll need to adhere to rules of evidence, civil procedure, etc. If you don’t object to testimony properly, make the right motions at the right times, or follow the proper protocols, you’ll likely damage your own case.
In fact, some judges may be even stricter with a self-represented litigant to avoid any appearance of favoritism. After all, they have an ethical duty to be fair and impartial toward both sides.
Doing quality legal research is also extremely difficult for someone without legal training. Sure, you can find some basic legal information online or at a law library. But researching case law, interpreting statutes, and drilling down on the finer points of legal precedent is complex work. Without access to the right legal databases and a thorough understanding of how to construct persuasive legal arguments based on your research, you’ll be at a major disadvantage compared to seasoned legal counsel.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions that lead people to wrongly conclude they can effectively represent themselves in federal court:
Federal litigation is not about emotional appeals or getting to tell your side of the story. It’s about constructing persuasive legal arguments and having admissible evidence to back up your claims. The judge won’t simply rule in your favor because they subjectively feel you’ve been wronged. You have to prove your case under the law.
Being correct or “morally right” in your own mind doesn’t mean the law will agree with you. You have to be able to analyze statutes, case law, and procedural rules to construct legally sound arguments. You can’t just assume the law will back you up because you believe in the merits of your position.
TV legal dramas are fiction written for entertainment, not educational tools. Federal litigation is nothing like the exciting, confrontational trials you see on TV. Real-world cases involve meticulous rules, dry procedures, and details that will trip you up at every turn if you don’t have formal legal training.
If you truly cannot afford a lawyer, look into getting your legal fees waived by the court or finding pro bono legal assistance. Law schools, bar associations, and nonprofits like the ACLU often have pro bono programs. Also, many lawyers offer payment plans or reduced rates for clients with financial hardship. Don’t assume you have to go it alone.
Representing yourself in federal court is almost never advisable for people without legal training. The procedural complexities and requirement to follow the same rules as lawyers make it extremely unlikely a non-lawyer will prevail. While you can technically file a claim pro se, doing so means risking your case and making irreversible mistakes. Hiring a federal litigator to fight for you is worth the investment.
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