why selfrep

BECAUSE to be a competent advocate for yourself - whether you have a lawyer or not - you must have under your belt two fundamental skills :

  • How to do a legal analysis

  • An understanding of the nuts and bolts of the civil litigation process from beginning to end

This foundational legal knowledge is essential before taking the next step in resolving your legal dispute.

who's it for?

Self Rep Edge is for anyone involved in a civil legal dispute of any kind, including:

  • if you have a lawyer doing everything for you

  • if you have a lawyer doing some things for you, but not everything

  • if you are doing everything on your own

And ...

  • anyone not currently in a legal dispute, but who may nevertheless want to better understand the civil litigation process for their future use and/or general knowledge.

In other words, Self Rep Edge is for EVERYONE.

what's inside? Self Rep
  • Self Rep Edge Video Series

    Building your foundation

  • Civil Litigation Workbook

    Preparing your case

  • Case Management

    Organizing your essentials

Self Rep Edge incorporates simple and relatable hypothetical cases and situations to help explain seemingly complex legal concepts, in a way that makes it easy to follow and easy to understand.
why selfrep
The Self Rep Edge Video Series and Civil Litigation Workbook walk you through each major step in the civil litigation process, building a foundation of legal knowledge that anyone can achieve.
Self Rep Edge incorporates simple and relatable hypothetical cases and situations to help explain seemingly complex legal concepts, in a way that makes it easy to follow and easy to understand.
The Self Rep Edge Video Series and Civil Litigation Workbook walk you through each major step in the civil litigation process, building a foundation of legal knowledge that anyone can achieve.
why selfrep


Self Rep Edge Video Series

Building your foundation
(click the tabs to view more sections)


Video 1: FACTS 12 min 1 sec

The first major step in analyzing your case is to lay out all the Facts of the situation.

The Facts section is the cornerstone of the entire litigation, which is why it may be nurtured and massaged over time. The more you ponder and pore over the facts of what happened, the more you will discover about your case.

Self Rep Edge Facts
Video 2: RESEARCH 56 min 46 sec

The next major step in analyzing your case is to research and find the law that governs the legal issues presented from the facts.

Before beginning your research, however, it may be helpful to review certain important fundamentals of the legal system in the United States to give you a better idea of what types of laws are on the books, how they are organized, and where they are located.

Self Rep Edge Research
Video 3: ELEMENTS 21 min 22 sec

The next major step in analyzing your case is to break each rule down into its elements, then add the facts and evidence of both sides and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

All rules of law have at least one element.

Elements are the individual circumstances listed in a rule that may be separated and analyzed independently to determine whether or not the rule applies.

Self Rep Edge Elements
Video 4: ARGUMENT 5 min 35 sec

Now that you have laid out all the facts of the situation, then researched and found the law that governs the legal issues presented from the facts, broken each rule down into its elements, added the facts and evidence of both sides, and evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of your case, the next step is to create your argument summary statement.

Self Rep Edge Argument


Video 5: PREPARATION 19 min 6 sec

Now that you have objectively analyzed your case and concluded with your argument summary statement, the next major step may be to reach out to the opposing side and attempt to settle. Civil legal disputes may be settled by the parties themselves at any time - from immediately after the dispute arises, throughout the entire course of the litigation, up to immediately before a trial verdict.

Self Rep Edge preparation
Video 6: DEMAND LETTER 19 min 51 sec

The settlement process generally begins with one side sending a demand letter to their opponent, who in turn responds to that letter.

A demand letter is generally written after an actual legal dispute arises and the positions of both sides concerning the dispute are known. A demand letter is often the beginning of the end of a legal dispute.

Self Rep Edge Demand Letter
Video 7: NEGOTIATION 5 min 45 sec

If the demand letter and follow up letters do not resolve your dispute, the next step may be to arrange a formal negotiation.

Formal negotiation is where the parties agree to meet and discuss settlement. The key to a successful negotiation is preparation.

Self Rep Edge Negotiation
Video 8: MEDIATION 7 min 1 sec

Mediation is essentially the same as Formal Negotiation, except rather than the parties meeting and discussing settlement on their own, an impartial Mediator facilitates the negotiation between the parties and assists them in reaching an agreement.

The Mediator does not decide the outcome of the settlement; the parties decide the outcome for themselves.

Self Rep Edge Negotiation
Video 9: ARBITRATION 4 min 41 sec

Arbitration is an additional method of resolving your dispute without going to trial.

However, unlike negotiation and mediation, arbitration is not a settlement procedure.

Arbitration has more in common with regular civil court trial than a formal negotiation or mediation.

Self Rep Edge Arbitration

Court System

Video 10: JURISDICTION 12 min 6 sec

Filing a complaint with the court officially enters the dispute into the court system, which consequently requires both parties to abide by the rules of court and the rules of civil procedure.

For example, if a plaintiff does not file their complaint with the proper court, the rules of civil procedure generally allow their complaint to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. This is because a court may not hear and decide a case unless it has the authority to do so. More specifically, the court must have proper jurisdiction.

Self Rep Edge Jurisdiction
Video 11: REVIEW/CASE OF PAOLO 40 min 53 sec

The Case of Paolo takes place in the fictitious state of New Huntington, where Paolo was injured while participating in a touch football game at a company party.

Paolo is currently preparing to initiate a civil lawsuit against two defendants, Drake Defendant and Dolly Defendant, whom Paolo believes are liable for his injuries, by filing a single complaint against both of them in a New Huntington state court.

Self Rep Edge Review Case Of Paolo
Video 12: PLEADINGS35 min 13 sec

Now that Paolo has analyzed the legal issues presented from the facts of his case, exhausted all attempts to settle with his opponents, and determined that the Orange County Court in the state of New Huntington is the proper jurisdiction and proper venue to hear and decide his case, the Case of Paolo may now be ready to enter the court system and begin the pleadings phase.

Self Rep Edge pleadings
Video 13: MOTIONS24 min 36 sec

Motions Practice is one of the four major parts of a lawsuit. Motions Practice is the process of filing and opposing motions. Motions are formal requests, made by parties in a lawsuit, asking the judge to take some kind of action concerning a wide range of issues, which may arise at any time throughout the entire course of the lawsuit, from immediately after the plaintiff files and serves their complaint, up to and even after a trial verdict.

Self Rep Edge Motions
Video 14: DISCOVERY34 min 59 sec

Discovery is where the parties gather all the information and evidence they need to build their case. The purpose of the discovery rules is to facilitate the information and evidence gathering process between the parties, in a manner that allows the parties to gather all of the information and evidence they need that is relevant to the issues in the case and what they are entitled to under the law.

Self Rep Edge Discovery
Video 15: TRIAL38 min 16 sec

Trial is generally in eight steps:

  • jury selection (if it's a jury trial)

  • plaintiff's opening statement

  • defendant's opening statement

  • plaintiff's presentation of their evidence

  • defendant's presentation of their evidence

  • plaintiff's closing argument

  • defendant's closing argument

  • the jury's deliberation and verdict

Self Rep Edge Discovery


Civil Litigation Workbook

Preparing your case
(click the tabs to view more sections)


The Facts section is comprised of four fields: Background Facts, Timeline Facts, My Losses / Damages, and Opponent's Losses / Damages.

The entire Facts section may be treated as an ongoing work-in-progress, to be updated regularly, as you learn more about your case.

You may add, delete, edit, or grab-and-move each entry, as needed.

Self Rep Edge facts

Initial steps in doing research, include determining your personal goals of the litigation, narrowing down the body of law, narrowing down the area of law, determining the statute of limitations, determining the legal issues presented from the facts of your case and creating an issue statement for each, and compiling key search words to begin your research.

Self Rep Edge Research

For each rule, separate from the rule the elements, exceptions, or factors, and list them one by one.

Then, objectively analyze each element, by adding the facts and evidence of both sides that may help to either prove or disprove each element.

The final step is to objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each element.


On the Workbook, under each legal issue, there are three fields that comprise your argument summary statement: the citations for the rules of law that govern your legal issue; your conclusive statement; and, your key fact allegations that, if proved, would support your conclusion.

Your argument summary statement may be viewed as a work-in-progress that is central to every aspect of the litigation going forward.

Self Rep Edge arguments


The Settlement Preparation page is in two parts:

Part one is working through the Preparation Chart, which includes five calculations: Best Possible outcome, Target Point, Fair Point, Walkaway Point, and Worst Possible outcome.

Part two is determining any underlying interests that may be motivating the actions of either party, then developing Creative Solutions that directly address those underlying interests.

Self Rep Edge Preparation

The items outlined on the Workbook serve as a general guide to help you write your letter.

The Demand Letter Basic Components are like building blocks. You may work through each component individually, copy your entries onto a separate document, then organize and format the contents before finalizing your draft.

Self Rep Edge demand-letter

Preparing for a formal negotiation is as important as preparing for a trial. This is because, in part, if you reach an agreement with your opponent, that agreement results in a binding contract, which generally has the same effect as an order from the court. Therefore, the side that arrives most prepared for the negotiation gives themselves the best opportunity to get the results they want.

Self Rep Edge Negotiation

The key to a successful mediation is preparation.

Preparation for a mediation may include writing and submitting a mediation brief to the mediator - or to the judge, if the mediation is being hosted by the court.

The Mediation Brief Basic Components serve as a general guide to help with writing your mediation brief.

Self Rep Edge Mediation

The Basic Components of an Arbitration Brief generally include: an introduction and some background facts that may help frame your story; informing the arbitrator what is the specific arbitration award you are requesting; your detailed, yet succinct timeline of facts and events that led to your current dispute; a summary of your legal argument for each issue; an explanation of any damages you are claiming; a list of any witnesses you plan to call during the arbitration; and, a list of any exhibit evidence you plan to present during the arbitration.

Self Rep Edge arbitration

Court System

The Subject Matter Jurisdiction Questionnaire consists of five Yes or No questions, based on rules of civil procedure, which help determine whether: either a state court or a federal court; only a federal court; or, only a state court, has subject matter jurisdiction over a particular case.

The Personal Jurisdiction Questionnaire consists of six Yes or No questions, based on rules of civil procedure, which help determine if a court in a particular state – whether a state court or a federal court within that state – has personal jurisdiction over a particular defendant.

Self Rep Edge Jurisdiction

The pleadings phase is one of the four major parts of a lawsuit.

The pleadings phase is when all parties in the lawsuit draft, file, and serve their respective pleading documents.

The purpose of each party's pleading document is to notify the court and all other parties in the case of each party's positions, legal claims, and/or defenses.

Self Rep Edge pleadings

Analyzing the legal issues in a motion is done in the same manner as analyzing the legal issues in the underlying case. Meaning, the party may lay out all the facts of the situation, determine the legal issues presented from those facts, research the law that governs those legal issues, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the motion - given the facts, evidence, and law - then, conclude with an argument summary statement for each legal issue in the motion.

Self Rep Edge Motions

The ultimate goal of discovery is for the parties to learn everything they are entitled to know about the facts and evidence related to their case, and to develop a list of all the evidence that they plan to present during trial.

The formal discovery process is designed, in part, to prevent any surprises at trial. Meaning, by the close of discovery, and before the trial begins, the parties should generally know exactly what evidence they intend to present at trial, and exactly what evidence their opponent intends to present at trial.

Self Rep Edge Discovery

The purpose of trial is for the fact-finder, whether a judge or jury, to decide the important facts of the case based on the evidence as presented during trial by both parties.

Therefore, the principal task of both parties is to carefully plan and prepare the presentation of their evidence to the fact-finder during trial.

On the Workbook, the Trial section includes outlines and worksheets that are designed to help a party prepare for trial.

Self Rep Edge Trial


Case Management

Organizing your essentials
(click the tabs to view more sections)

Initiators of a civil legal dispute are called either Plaintiffs or Petitioners - depending on the type of case and/or the particular court.

Defenders of the action are called either Defendants or Respondents.

Include all current and potential parties, and their attorneys, on the Parties page.

Self Rep Edge parties Info
Court Info

If and when your case enters the court system, you can easily record and access all relevant court information on this page.

Up-to-date, accurate court information is useful for preparing legal documents and other purposes.

Self Rep Edge Court Info

Maintaining a detailed record of all correspondence related to your case, in any way, is essential.

Correspondence includes phone calls, emails, text messages, letters, in-person visits, and more.

Self Rep Edge Correspondence

The Expenses page is deisgned to keep a detailed accounting record of all monetary expenses associated with the litigation, in any way, whether the expenses are recoverable or not.

Self Rep Edge Expenses
File Cabinet

Each page of the website allows you to upload, organize, and easily access all documents associated with all aspects of the litigation onto your File Cabinet.

These files may include evidence, legal documents, correspondence, and much more.

Self Rep Edge File Cabnet

Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date calendaring system is essential to organization and preparation.

Important dates may include deadlines for filing and serving documents, and much more.

The Calendar page allows you to easily enter upcoming event information, and set up alerts, as needed.


Create and save contact information for any individual or organization associated with the litigation for easy access.

Litigation may take many months to resolve. Therefore, maintaining an accurate and up-to-date list of contacts may be helpful. This is especially important for potential witnesses.


The Journal is where you can log your experiences that relate to your dispute on a regular basis - especially if your dispute is based on circumstances that continue to affect you.

Maintaining a detailed Journal helps you to later recall everything that happens along the way.


Researching and managing a legal dispute inevitably includes saving website URL's for future reference.

Drag and drop (or copy and paste) URL's to the download symbol on the tool bar.

The URL's are then saved on the Bookmarks page for easy access.


Special Features

Access to Justice

When I was in my last year of law school, one of my professors (who was also a judge) offered up a brief presentation concerning an issue about which he was clearly passionate - Access to Justice. He told us of the alarming statistics concerning people who go through civil court unrepresented. He pointed out, interestingly, that although many people do this because they can't afford a lawyer, many others actually can afford a lawyer, but for a variety of reasons, simply don't want to hire one. He also told us that in his experience, however, unrepresented people, regardless of their reasons, do need help. I believe the main point of his presentation was to give us an idea of something we might do in our future law practice called "Limited Scope Representation" (also "Unbundled Legal Services"). This is where the self-represented person gets some help from a lawyer, and they do the rest. For example, the lawyer drafts a motion, but the self-represented person attends the court hearing on that motion. Or, an attorney does the research for the self-represented person, who then develops their legal argument accordingly. I was blown away by all of this, and I knew right then and there that I was going to create something to help self-represented people.

Over the next several months of brainstorming and kicking around different ideas, I noticed something interesting - that, generally speaking, everything a person needs to represent themselves, in nearly any kind of civil legal dispute, is already widely available. Meaning, all of the law, legal forms including templates, samples, and “how-to" instructions for completing these forms, discussions on specific areas of law and a variety of common types of legal disputes, including insider tips from experienced lawyers, and so on. All of this, and more, can be found relatively easily on the internet, at the court, and/or at a law library.

So, what's the problem?

The problem, as I discovered, is that most people do not have the fundamental skill-set necessary to be able to make meaningful use of the plethora of resources that are widely, and mostly freely, available to them.

Simply put, what's missing is the FOUNDATION. This foundation, as I see it, is: (1) knowing how to do a legal analysis, and (2) understanding the nuts and bolts, ie a "big picture" understanding, of the entire civil litigation process. This was the impetus behind the development of what would eventually (years later, in fact) become Self Rep Edge. Both of these skills can absolutely be achieved through this program, which includes: Building your foundation through the Self Rep Edge Video Series; Preparing your case through the Civil Litigation Workbook; and, Organizing your essentials through the Case Management system - these are the tools a person needs to take control of their legal dispute, with or without a lawyer, including knowing what steps to take, knowing what questions to ask, and knowing what to do with the answers to those questions. This is, in part, why we say: Before Doing Anything Else, Get This Program.

When I was in my last year of law school, one of my professors (who was also a judge) offered up a brief presentation concerning an issue about which he was clearly passionate - Access to Justice. He told us of the alarming statistics ...read more

...read less

Destress Zone

Generally speaking, anyone involved in a legal dispute - regardless of what's at stake, regardless of what side they're on, and regardless of the strength of their case - experiences stress, often severe.

Because stress can have a crippling effect on a person's ability and judgment when attempting to resolve a legal dispute, managing this stress is extremely important.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. This too shall pass.

Self Rep Edge offers a sanctuary, a place to go – it is home base, where you can safely and securely build your foundation, prepare your case, and organize your essentials.

Knowledge, preparation, and organization reduces stress and increases confidence, which are key to getting the results you want.

Your dispute will eventually be resolved one way or another. The better you manage your stress (and related emotions), the better your chances of a favorable outcome.


Self Rep Edge LLC is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. Self Rep Edge is strictly for educational purposes. Engaging with the Self Rep Edge website, in any way, does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal help, consult an experienced attorney specializing in your area of law.

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