When a litigant proceeds without legal counsel, they are said to be proceeding “pro se” or “on one’s own behalf.”  While the task of representing one’s own interests can be daunting, advancements in technology and transparency have made legal research easier than ever.  Much of the pertinent information, once only available to legal professionals from fee-based sources, is now readily accessible and free (provided you know how to find it).

Below is a list of eight resources for pro se litigants preparing to file a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Legal Information Institute (LII) is a research and editorial group housed at the Cornell Law School.  They have amassed an array of Federal and State rules, regulations, and court decisions.  Be sure to check out their page on the basics of legal research and their guide to proper legal citation.

FindLaw hosts the largest legal dictionary available online.  It is also a great resource to learn about the fundamental principles of civil or criminal law.  FindLaw provides the full text of hundreds of thousands of court cases – searchable by specific court and legal topic.

Legal Research

Developed by an attorney, Justia provides users with case law, codes, regulations and legal articles at no cost.

  • Supreme Court Rules and Guide to Filing Paid Cases

You can find a copy of the Court’s most recently enacted rules here, and a copy of the Court’s guide to filing paid cases, here.

The Oyez Project at Chicago-Kent College of Law is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States.  Although its most notable content is a collection of audio recordings of oral arguments, it also provides comprehensive case summaries of Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1793.

The Georgetown University Law Library has posted many helpful databases, research guides, and tutorials for online legal research.  They have also generated an easy-to-comprehend guide to Bluebook legal citation style.

  • Direct court links

You can directly access the United States Supreme Court’s website or homepages for the Federal courts and State courts.

Visit our website or blog to find sample petitions for writs of certiorari, document checklists, and helpful articles on petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court.