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Recent legal scholarship has shed needed light on the vast universe of litigation that occurs without lawyers. Large majorities of civil litigants lack representation, even in weighty matters such as eviction and termination of parental rights, raising a host of issues worthy of scholarly attention. For example, one recent article has examined racial and gendered effects of the lack of constitutionally guaranteed counsel in civil matters, and another has shown that judges tend not to reduce the complexity of the proceedings for the benefit of unrepresented parties. In Judging Without a J.D., Sara Greene and Kristen Renberg add an important dimension to this discussion by examining the phenomenon of judges who have no legal training before they take the bench. Thirty-two states allow a person without a law degree to become a judge, including seventeen that allow non-lawyer judges to adjudicate eviction cases. Because of the high rates of pro se litigation, many litigants in these states “experience a courtroom in which often no one, not even the judge, is aware of the law.” Worse, some find that “the one person in the courtroom who is aware of the law is the attorney for the more powerful party (such as a landlord).”


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