When you are involved in litigation - either willingly or unwillingly, either as the plaintiff who initiated the suit, or as a defendant dragged into court – time is always critical. You will have deadlines for every single thing that you do. These deadlines are either:
Courts will often create what is called a "scheduling order" which puts down the times by which times must be completed. You have to count back the days to figure out when you need to get started. For example, if the court sets April 30 as the date by which discovery must be completed, if you're in Missouri you figure everything out in this way. Parties get 30 days to respond to discovery - they will object to everything, and you must send them a "good-faith" letter before filing a motion to compel. They get 5 business days to respond to a motion to compel, and it will take you 10 days to write one. Therefore, you must serve your last discovery 30 + 5 + 10 + a week for the good-faith letter + any time added by the Mailbox Rule + the amount of time the court will give them to give you the discovery. That means you need to file your last discovery at least 3 months before the end of the discovery period. In that example, you had one explicit courrt-imposed deadline, and several other "implied" deadlines in order to get it done.
Your very first step as a litigant must be to find out what rules control your case – and most specially what rules control the deadlines in your case. When it comes to missing a deadline, excuses are for losers. If you've missed a deadline, you must make your excuse and hope for the best! But never forget that there is a price to pay. You lose ground, either legally or in the eyes of the court and the other side, for every deadline you miss. You also add extreme stress to your life and risk to your case if you are always near and sometimes miss deadlines. I cannot make that any plainer, can I?
And another thing to keep in mind: time may be the cross on which your case could die, but it has two other aspects: organization and discipline. Find out what you need to do and when you need to do it. Then set up things so that you can do what you're supposed to do (organization) and then, actually do it (discipline).
Having read this, you have no excuse for coming to me (or anybody) and saying that you didn't know when something was due.
Why is time so critically important to everybody, and most particularly to pro se parties? Let's answer the second question – the most important one - first: why it matters above all to you.
Pro se parties in general, and specially in debt cases, must understand the way time works in their cases more than anyone else for three reasons:
The added “kicker” in debt cases is that you are maving into a headwind caused by the fact that so few people (represented by lawyers or not) defend debt cases with intelligence. Everybody expects you to “roll over” or, as the Beatles song goes, “get back to where you once belonged”
Most debt defendants or people involved in debt-related litigation (as, for example, filing a claim for violation of the FDCPA where you are the plaintiff) simply do not have very much money. This type of law, in general, was designed for people without much money, and that's a problem that many, but not all, pro se parties face. An actual lack of resources means that you have to scramble to get the things you need, from law books to typing paper, from trips to the library to trips to the court room. And daycare – to mention just a few resources that may not be readily available to you. To offset these actual resources you must schedule time enough to overcome them.
Historically we have focused on debt litigation, and our flagship product is the Debt Defense System. It gives you everything you need to defend yourself if you're being sued by a debt collector. Through the manual and on-site links available only to members you get everything you need to defend yourself, from sample Answers and Counterclaims, to discovery and motions, all the way to trial if necessary. You also get special informational emails, and regular teleconferences where you can get specific questions answered about the legal process as you prepare to do what it takes to win the lawsuit. A one-month renewing membership ir required with the Debt Defense System, as this is the way we provide you much of the information and support.
The debt problem is bigger than just litigation, however, so we now have materials designed to help you before and after any possible lawsuits. We have added the Debt Negotiation and Settlement Manual and the Credit Repair Manual to help you with these areas of concern.
We also offer many other products in this catalog. You might call them , more "situational." That is, you may or may not ever need them, depending on what the debt collectors are doing. Whatever product you are considering, if you are in a lawsuit we would urge you instead to get the Debt Defense System: it will not only provide you a full overview of the debt law process, but it will also give you both the systematic understanding that you really need to fight the debt collectors as well as any other products you are likely to need throughout the litigation process.