Pro Se Litigants–Their Mistake, Everyone’s Problem

One of the greatest challenges lawyers face is correcting problems created by the ignorance of pro se litigants. This is usually far more expensive than if both parties had lawyers from the beginning and--despite the expense--is far less successful.

While I was not a good student, I loved my three years of law school at the University of South Carolina. Since then, I work most Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. I spend hours each week reading recent appellate opinions from South Carol… Read More

Some Hard Lessons I Learned about Pleading

Previously pleading was critical to the practice of law. Errors in pleadings caused judges to dismiss cases with prejudice. Pleading determined the relevance of evidence and the relief the court could award. I attribute much of the fault for pretrial contentiousness, longer trials, and the unconscionable cost of legal services to the decreased emphasis on pleadings by lawyers and judges. Most lawyers today not only do not understand pleading, they do not understand what a pleading or its pur… Read More

Lawyers and Writing

"If you were limited to oral persuasion or written persuasion, which would you choose?” I recently put this question to our Lawyers’ Lunch Table. These lawyers chose written persuasion four to one. I agree with the writers. I find good writing leads to good results. I credit good writing for my firm's outstanding results over the past year. If we prefer written persuasion and we know good writing leads to good results, why are we as lawyers such bad writers?

The poor writing I see i… Read More

Why Laypersons and Litigants Hate Lawyers and Judges

I love lawyers and judges. I come from a family of lawyers. I married a lawyer from a family of lawyers. My heroes–David Bruck, Jimbo Morton, and Judy Clarke–are lawyers. My best friends are lawyers. My grandfather served as acting chief justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina. My parents served as magistrates. A brother-in-law is a federal judge.

For years I could not understand why litigants, laypersons, and the public dislike, detes… Read More

Why the Client Should Pay the Fired Lawyer

I wrote a client demanding payment of her $2,600 past due account. She promptly responded by discharging me as her attorney with an e-mail message asserting I did not respond promptly and that I over billed. I responded explaining the need for an order relieving me as attorney of record, why the accusations are incorrect, strongly suggesting that she promptly get a new lawyer, offering to do anything I can to help the new lawyer, and wishing her the best of luck.

I continued to think ab… Read More

About The Authors

Thomas F. McDow's Profile Image
Thomas F. McDow is the author of Debating SC Family Law, a blog devoted to discussing family law and appellate court issues in South Carolina. Read More
Erin K. Urquhart's Profile Image
Education: Spartanburg Public SchoolsWinthrop University, B.A. 2003University of South Carolina, J.D. 2006 Admitted: All South Carolina courts and the United States District Court for South Carolina, November 13, 2006 Professional Activities: South C… Read More

Recent Comments

G. Cohen said, "How incredibly arrogant." And, while you explained yourself, I still have to agree with G. Cohan. Although I als...

CJ Stevens on 11/04/2016
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I have read this report and that of 2-3 states. See my other post about my Future of the Law Committee. And I attended The Lawye...

J. Burton Hunter III on 11/02/2016
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I interpret my conversations with WV State Disciplinary counsel that we have obligatio to deal with pro se litigants as we do wit...

J. Burton Hunter III on 11/02/2016
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Here is a link to the ABA report on the future of legal services, in case you are interested:

Mike Polk on 11/02/2016
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There are some big thinkers out there working on some of these issues. Here is a link to an article I find fascinating: https://ww...

Mike Polk on 11/02/2016
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