How We Help You Win if Sued for Debt
and Why We Do it the Way We Do
If you’re being sued for debt and you’re like most people, one of the first things you do when you discover you’re being sued is panic. Then you probably think about or actually go looking for help. That’s when you discover that lawyers want two thousand dollars up front and charge $200 an hour.
That’s when you face a big choice: do you give up or do you fight? Can you scrape up the money for a lawyer? Or are you going to try it on your own?
Most people give up, but a few try to defend on their own.
If you’re fighting, or planning to fight, there’s a good chance you’ll go online for help, and that’s probably how you found this video. You’ll find others, too, and some of them will offer you forms to fill out where you just “fill in the blank” on a pleading or a motion. They give you a 20-page handbook and a set of forms to sign and send for 25 or 50 bucks. It seems so easy! And I’m not even talking about the people offering magical solutions like “refusing service” or “conditionally accepting,” things that will cause you to lose immediately. I’m talking about people offering you forms to answer in a formal way with a minimal amount of time and effort.
Why don’t we do that?
We have two very big reasons for rejecting that approach. In the first place, I think offering you forms is giving you legal advice, and secondly, I think when push comes to shove, you’re going to need to know why you put what you did on your pleadings and motions, and forms do not in any way prepare you to go to trial if you have to do that. Let’s look at those separately.
Premade forms are legal advice. Why? Because someone else is choosing what you’re going to say or what you could or might say. They’re doing the thinking, but they aren’t thinking about your situation – they’re thinking about some standard situation and presenting you options based on that. So not only are they telling you (by including or not including certain things) what to say or not to say, which is what legal advice is, but they aren’t even doing based on the facts of your case, so it might be bad legal advice. We talk about what you might want to accomplish and some ways that might help you accomplish them – we inform your judgment, in other words, and let you create the documents you need with that judgment.
Now, premade forms seem to be accepted these days as not legal advice (even though they are), so you probably won’t get in trouble using them. And the people making them never seem to get in trouble anymore, although they once did. So let’s move on to the more important reason informing your judgment, rather than telling you what to say, is more effective. And it is simply this: if you work on it and create it yourself, you will understand it better.
Let’s step back and take a look at the way cases go.
The plaintiff files suit against you and serves the complaint on you. Then, you need to respond. Do you not like the way you were served and think it was done in the wrong way? You may want to file a motion to quash service. To do that, you’ll have to do a little research into what makes service “good” and effective, and you’ll need to know how to file a motion. Maybe you’ll want to file a motion to dismiss. Or maybe you’ll file an answer.
Let’s say you file an answer. What then? Well, discovery comes next if you know what you’re doing, and when you ask questions, the debt collector isn’t going to answer them. They’re going to object to everything. How do you make them answer? It’s a process, which we explain elsewhere, but let’s say you go through it and file a motion to compel them to answer. Doing this will greatly increase your chances of winning the case, but there’s a good chance you’ll need to argue about it in court.
And even if you never file a motion or have to respond to one, if the case is going to trial, YOU are going to trial. You’re going to have to listen to evidence and make objections (or not) and arguments to the court. Premade files do nothing at all to prepare you for this. The only things that prepares you for this are actually thinking about your case and working on it, and practicing what you’ll say at trial. In other words, if this case goes to trial, or if you have to argue a motion, or even if you just have to show up in court for some pretrial hearing, you’re going to have to talk to a judge and the other side.
THOSE are the things we prepare you for that no premade form could ever prepare you for. In the final analysis, you have to own whatever you say in court. You have to know what to say and why you’re saying it. That’s why people go to law school, but because debt law is just one small area of the law that isn’t very complicated, you can learn how to do it for yourself in this one situation.
But a premade form will never do that for you.
Lawsuits are serious, and you don’t want to lose if possible. I’ll tell you now: if you can afford a lawyer and can get a good one, that’s the best way to maximize your chances of winning. It’s the “gold standard.” It’s better than anything we can do for you, but it will cost you over a thousand dollars, and maybe a few thousand dollars. And it isn’t easy to find a lawyer who will fight for you at all – that’s what people tell me.
So if that doesn’t work for you, you’re going to have to do it pro se – representing yourself. But you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you every step of the way, and when you get there, you’ll know what you need to know and be able to do what you need to do. No one can guarantee you’ll win, but we can guarantee that you’ll have the tools you need to win, and you’ll know how to use them.