Study the Law and Learn How to Conduct Legal Research

One of the first things to do when you are representing yourself in court is to study the law that is applicable to your case.

The Internet is your friend.  Search for (your state name) statutes.  For example, if you are in Georgia, the search would be “Georgia statutes.”  Find the search result that seems to provide a list of the Georgia statutes.  Then find the law (statute) or laws that apply to your case.  Study them.

You need to identify the elements that you must prove or disprove in order to prevail in the litigation.  This will require another search, but it is best done in a case law database.

Knowing the law is a starting point.  You will ultimately need case law to support your position.  You can try searching online, but it’s hard to find the cases that way.  It is infinitely better to search a database of case law.

I use Versuslaw.  It is less than $20 a month, and it is a great tool.  When you use Boolean logic effectively, you can really pinpoint what you need to find.

Versuslaw has a help page to explain Boolean logic if you are like most people and don’t know what the heck Boolean logic is, much less how to use it.  The basic Boolean logic functions are andornot.  If you want to search for disqualification and recusal, your search is (disqualification) or (recusal) because the search results will be the use of either word.  A list of cases will appear with a summary.  Click on the case for the full ruling.

If you want cases where the words disqualification and recusal are both used, your search is (disqualification) and (recusal).  This will result in a list of cases in which disqualification and recusal were both used in the same decision.

If you want cases about recusal where the recusal was not overruled, your search should be (recusal) and not (overruled). This will generate a list of cases where both the words recusal and overruled are not used.