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

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Recent Comments

I am well aware of this conundrum. That's why I called it "When you absolutely cannot or will not hire a lawyer (for your divorce)...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/28/2016
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I agree! Unbundled would be a great help to people like me. I tried to get lawyers to assist me with specific parts of the process...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
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I haven't followed this thread for awhile. By far the best option is an experienced lawyer who cares about you and your family. Se...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/27/2016
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I absolutely love this discussion on this subject. Involved in a divorce and forced to represent myself due to lack of funds and n...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
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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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