Law Library's Institutional Response to the Pro Se Patron: A Post-Faretta Review

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The United States Supreme Court decision in Faretta v. California! established legal self-representation as a constitutionally guaranteed right in both state and federal cases. Since the 1975 decision, concern has grown over the impact of pro se litigants on the legal system. This article focuses on one aspect of the pro se problem: the ways in which law libraries and law librarians can help pro se litigants who become law library patrons to achieve effective self-representation. After surveying the extent and nature of pro se use of law libraries, the article assesses the ways in which law librarians should respond to the needs of pro se patrons and the legal and ethical implications of the librarians' conduct. Concrete institutional responses will be suggested to the problem posed by Faretta: How to achieve fairness in litigation when one party is not represented by counsel.

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