Your Legal Leg Up Document Bank Explained
Our document bank is a collection of documents we have come up in litigation in which we have been involved, or that we have researched and modified to be of special use to YLLU members. And it is a huge benefit to our members.
Debt Cases are “Document intensive”
If you’ve done any work on a debt case, or if you have read or seen many of the things Your Legal Leg Up has put out, then you know that one of the main reasons debt law cases are so good for pro se defendants (or plaintiffs, for that matter) is that they are “document intensive.” That is, the cases don’t depend on brilliant cross-examination, don’t depend on surprise witnesses or scintillating arguments. No. Most debt litigation is determined by whether the debt collector has any documentary evidence and whether that’s allowed into evidence by the court.
In other words, the fight is largely “procedural.”
It’s Often a “Battle of Paperwork”
You will create and respond to requests for information of various sorts (called “discovery”), and then you’ll fight over whether the court will look at certain things and what it should do with the things it looks at. In legalese, that means you’ll probably have to file a motion to compel (to make them give you the evidence you asked for), and one or both parties will file a motion for summary judgment, which is asking the court to rule on some important part of the case without even having a trial.
You’ll create discovery. They’ll create discovery requests and send them to you for response, and there will be letters and motions back and forth about all that. They could file a motion for summary judgment with a “Memorandum in Support” asking the court for judgment against you. You’ll want to respond and persuade the court not to give them a judgment.
It’s a LOT of words, letters, memos, briefs and other written documents, and if you’re doing all that work by yourself it adds up. In fact, it can take over your whole life.
They Have an Advantage
How do the debt collectors handle all this paperwork? It seems like it could drown you, but what if you had a hundred or a thousand cases? Of course they have secretaries and other staff to help, but their main advantage in the paperwork battle is obvious, isn’t it? They’ve already done it, many times, before they ever sued you. They just plug in your name and their computers do the rest.
Now You Do Too
We built our document bank to neutralize this advantage. Because where they use the same type cases over and over again, and the same documents, you can too. If you have documents that others have used, and with our document bank you do.
Now, it isn’t quite as easy for you – and it’s never going to be quite as easy for you. That’s because each firm has its own set of documents and its own case strategies. Answers to one won’t be the same as answers to the documents created by another debt collector. But they all follow a pattern, and they’re all similar to each other, so once you get one set of answers to interrogatories, for example, you can figure out how to answer another one.
It’s a little more complicated with things like motions, where the strategic differences between firms are even more important, and yet it’s still true that with a good sample you’re halfway to the finish line in almost everything you’re going to do.
If you are representing yourself in a debt case and have a need to create a document, your first move should be to find a sample or two of the thing you’re trying to write. Then
- Read it and see how it is constructed.
- Think about what it says and whether it’s close to what you want.
- Then research the law of your jurisdiction.
- Think about the important ways the facts of your case are different from the facts involved in your sample.
- Then make appropriate changes so that you are applying your state’s law to the facts of your case.
So our document bank will save you tremendous amounts of time, worry, and wear and tear. It’ll help you focus on the things you should be doing to win your case rather than running around in circles.
If you are not a member and think a document bank could be one important way to help you defend yourself, join us! The document bank comes with every level of membership. Click on About Memberships in the main menu above to learn how you can become a member. If you are a member, just log in, go to your member home page, and click on the document bank subjects you need.