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Shlepping Towards Self-Help Justice

Since June, blogger David Giacalone has been on a hiatus from punditry, but that did not keep him from the Labor Day launch -- actually, pre-launch -- of a new blog, Shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress, devoted to news and views on self-help law and pro se litigation. Why such a blog? Giacalone explains:

"Self-Help Law deserves its own weblog.  It is too important a right for consumers, a vital movement, and a growing virtual and realworld reality, to be outside the spotlight of the blogosphere and the weblogger community. ... Indeed, if weblogs are even half as important in the world of legal services as everybody says, it may be malpractice for consumer advocates, proponents of universal access to justice, law-and-technology gurus, or law firm management mavens to start the day without seeking a weblog dose of pro se and self-help news and punditry."

OK, but why the name? To "shlep," Giacalone says, is to "drag, carry or haul, particularly unnecessary things, parcels or baggage." He continues:

"For more than two centuries, American consumers have been shlepping toward justice -- they've been manacled to an expensive lawyer in order to solve a legal problem, or protect, assert or defend their rights. Our courts have become costly, complicated, lawyer-centered bureaucracies, rather than the accessible, client-centered dispute resolution centers they should be."

Giacalone's goal in launching -- whoops, pre-launching -- the blog is to keep readers informed of self-help news and resources. But here's the rub. All those references to "pre-launch"? They are because he acknowledges that he can't do it alone. He is seeking co-editors to contribute regularly to the blog's content and help guide its construction and evolution. No law degree is required, but the position does require a commitment to achieving access to justice for all, along with "good writing, good manners and good sense." And, I might add, an aversion to shlepping.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 5, 2006 at 03:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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