It’s Sunday and I’m sitting in my AC, contemplating what I told you yesterday.
I’ve decided to amplify for your benefit my first time experience in Housing Court.
As you know, I was there by myself, definitively DIY. I am not a lawyer. A lawyer, a professional, did appear for the Skush-O’Briens in opposition to my complaint. When he asked me if I wanted “to conference,” I had no idea what he was talking about. I was not ashamed of being ignorant, though, and didn’t try to bluster. Essentially, I said, “Um, huh?”
Then Mark, the HPD lawyer stepped in and soon thereafter so did the judge. They certainly saw that I was inexperienced in the process. Both were exceptionally nice, making it clear to me, a layman, what was expected of me, what I needed to do. I was leaning (not heavily, however) on them both, just as I leaned on the Housing Court clerk on the second floor, window 5.
There are several actions I took on my own: I filled out the forms, I served them by certified mail immediately, within the deadlines. I followed instructions exactly; I was home for the HPD inspector and showed him everything. And I came to court on the right date at the right time.
I did not need to be aggressive; I needed to be persistent, patient and obedient.
And, of course, I needed a righteous case.
I say all this to encourage everyone who does have a righteous case not to be afraid to encounter an opposing lawyer who may very well be aggressive. Lean on the process, lean on the professionals for advice and protection, and leave your temper at home.
You don’t need it.