Litigation coaching is a conversation or a series of conversations during which Sherri Renner, JD, guides and teaches you how to represent yourself in court. Sherri is an experienced (former) litigator and educator who has been coaching self-represented litigants since 2007.
As a coaching client, you always remain in full control of your case and, with some limitations imposed by law, the coaching relationship. This is in contrast to typical attorney-client arrangements in which you cede nearly all control to your attorney, rely completely on your attorney to represent you zealously and competently, and are obligated to pay the amount billed to you every month.
Here’s another contrast: During coaching, you acquire knowledge and skills that enrich you and which you will take with you to other situations that implicate your legal rights and obligations. Then the decision to retain an attorney becomes a rational choice rather than one compelled by powerlessness and fear. Compare this to the traditional full representation arrangement in which your attorney delivers a result to you while you remain on the periphery and may or may not learn enough to represent yourself in the future.
Finally, you schedule all coaching sessions. This means you remain in full control of the cost.
Speaking of cost, Sherri’s rate for coaching is $150 per hour. Members of the Association for Pro Se Advancement enjoy a discounted rate (and sometimes deeply discounted special rates). She never requires you to sign a contract, and requires no retainer aside from advance payment for the session you schedule.
As an Association member, you can attend weekly Q&A conferences. Sherri facilitates these unscripted conferences so that members’ issues can be discussed as needed. You can learn from others’ experiences, you may help others by sharing your own, and the conferences reduce the need for one-to-one coaching.
Coaching isn’t giving legal advice. At its most basic, legal advice includes interpreting the law, explaining your rights and obligations under that law and how the law applies to your case, appearing in court on your behalf, and handling all communications and formulating strategies on your behalf. If Sherri were to do these things for you, it would constitute the unlicensed practice of law, which is illegal in all states. It would jeopardize this important service, and it would keep you from learning how to do your own legal research, writing, analyses, etc. (yes, you can learn how to do these things!).
Coaching isn’t writing your pleadings and motions for you. Although Sherri does offer proofreading and editing services for drafts you have written, she cannot ghostwrite your pleadings, motions, or briefs for some really good reasons: