Kalamaoo County

SELF REPRESENTATION

Pro Per:

A "Pro Per" litigant is a person who represents himself/herself rather than hiring an attorney.

Standards:

A person acting on his or her own behalf is, under the law, held to the same standards and duties as an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the State of Michigan. Such person is expected to know what the law requires and how to accomplish his or her purposes in accordance with the applicable statutes and court rules.

Judges and hearing officials cannot provide legal advice. Many court employees are not lawyers. Do not ask them to provide legal advice. Consult the Michigan Court Rules and Michigan laws rather than asking advice from the court staff. Members of the court staff are allowed to provide procedural information only.

Seeking Advice:

If you need advice, please contact an attorney or consider attending the following local seminars/clinics:
  • The Kalamazoo Public Library and the Kalamazoo County Bar Association offer a series of free seminars about common legal concerns. Call (269) 553-7920 to obtain information on legal seminars or to make a free 20-minutes appointment for landlord or housing questions.
  • The Kalamazoo County Bar Association holds free walk-in Legal Outreach Clinics for low/moderate income persons. Call (269) 381-4693 or visit http://www.kalamazoobar.org to obtain information.
  • The Kalamazoo Public Library, in downtown Kalamazoo, has an extensive legal reference section.
  • The Probate Clinic (Link) offers consultations twice a month on probate and estate issues.

If you do not have a lawyer and do not know a specific lawyer to contact, you can be referred to a lawyer through the State Bar of Michigan.

State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend Street
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone number for use within state of Michigan: (800) 968-0738
Phone number for use outside state of Michigan: (517) 346-6338

Self-Help Information Available.

The court has informational brochures available for some types of proceedings. These are located in the lobby of the Kalamazoo County Probate court.

The State Bar of Michigan has an online legal self-help center that provides resources to the public:
www.michbar.org/news/releases/archives05/self_help.cfm

The State Court Administrative Office has self-help information at their website:
courts.mi.gov/self-help/center/pages/default.aspx

Indigent:

If you are indigent and qualify under specific financial guidelines, you may seek assistance from the following service:

Western Michigan Legal Services
201 W. Kalamazoo Avenue
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007
Phone: (269) 344-8113

Attendance at Court Proceedings:

Arrive at the assigned judge's courtroom or referee's hearing room for the scheduled day and time of your court proceeding. Arrive early to allow time for courthouse security measures. When you arrive, check in at the Probate Court counter.

What to Bring to the Court Proceeding:

  1. all copies of your documents pertaining to the scheduled court proceeding;
  2. paper;
  3. pen or pencil;
  4. corresponding proposed order to present to the judge if your motion is granted.

What to do at the Court Proceeding:

Read and follow the "Courtroom Etiquette" procedures.

See Video Recording for instructions on ordering transcripts.