Unbundling Criminal Defense: Pro Se Assistance

For the longest time, the legal profession has struggled against pro se (self-represented) defendants in the criminal justice system. Although it is very important for defendants to consult with an attorney, especially in felony cases or other complex situations, sometimes people can handle their case themselves. JLongtin Law is currently working to make this process better for everyone- people, families, lawyers, and judges.

Legal Coaching is one way that we are addressing this unmet legal need. Legal Coaching is there to help people decide whether or not they need a lawyer, understand their charges and the possible penalties, and develop strategies to negotiate the best resolution they can on their case. We are also working with families through our Family Coaching Program. We offer assistance to those trying to help, not hurt, their loved one- addressing questions like, should I bond her out, how do I reach his public defender, and what can I do to help my loved one get treatment.

We certainly are not saying that you don’t need a lawyer- that would be silly, we like our jobs. However, what we are saying is that if you want to represent yourself, you have a constitutional right to do that, and there are ways you can do it more effectively. We are working to develop even more ways to help clients, such as helping in bond arguments, drafting motions, or preparing limited court filings. Keep an eye on us to see what is coming- I promise it will be interesting.

And I promise it will be driven by what clients want, not what attorneys “know” they need.

Jennifer Longtin