The Pro Se Assistance Program (PSAP) is a project of the Middle District of Alabama Federal Bar Center. This program assists litigants who are representing themselves in federal court with filing a complaint or amended complaint in support of a civil action in the Middle District of Alabama.
The PSAP program was established in an effort to address the varying needs of pro se litigants, to help pro se litigants better understand the complexities involved in a legal action, and to assist the ALMD in the administration of justice.
The services offered by the PSAP are free of charge. There are certain court costs associated with filing a lawsuit in federal court. The PSAP will not pay any of these costs.
Use of the PSAP is entirely separate from any appointment of counsel by the Court. A request for appointment of counsel requires submission of a separate motion and the decision whether to appoint counsel remains entirely at the Court's discretion.
What services do the coordinators provide?
The coordinators are qualified attorneys and law school students who will assist pro se litigants by providing necessary information and assistance in the initiation of a civil lawsuit filed in the ALMD, including:
- information about federal court procedures;
- assistance in the preparation of pleadings and other court documents; and
- referrals to other services, in appropriate cases.
How do I participate?
You must complete the Pro Se Assistance Information Sheet and the Declaration of the Pro Se Party to Participate sheet and file them both with the Clerk's Office. If your case is approved for participation in the PSAP, the Director and coordinators will contact you.
Are the Director and coordinators my attorneys?
Although the Director and lawyer coordinators are qualified attorneys and the student coordinators are law school students, the Director and the coordinators are not your attorneys. The coordinators will not:
- appear in court on your behalf;
- research, write, or file documents for you;
- conduct any investigation into the facts of your case; and/or
- negotiate with your opponent or opponent's attorney except in the Assisted Mediation Program.
What should I have with me when I meet the coordinators?
In order for the coordinators to best assist you, please bring the following:
- any pleadings or court documents that have already been filed and/or that you have begun drafting;
- any documents related to your case that you want the coordinators to review.
It is very important that you give the coordinators your full cooperation, and you must answer any questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.