Imagine this situation:  An officer knocks on your door, you answer it and he hands you a letter.  When you open it, the first thing that catches your attention is the statement:  You have been sued!  Would you know what to do in this situation?  What would be your next step?  Do you have the $5 – $10,000 dollars sitting in your bank account to pay an attorney to handle your case?  Yet, this situation plays out many times each day in our country.

Our legal system has become a great mystery to many and has been for quite some time.  In fact, in his 1852 essay “Trial By Jury” Lysander Spooner stated:

The uncertainty of the law…has become a mystery. So great is this uncertainty, that nearly all men, learned as well as unlearned, shun the law as their enemy, instead of resorting to it for protection. They usually go into courts of justice, so called, only as men go into battle when there is no alternative left for them. And even then they go into them as men go into dark labyrinths and caverns with no knowledge of their own, but trusting wholly to their guides. ~ Lysander Spooner, Essay on the Trial by Jury (1852)

But, a new group is forming in Austin County; The Austin County Legal Learners.  This study group is made up of average citizens that are joining together to help each other in learning some of the basics of law with the hope of taking some of the “mystery” out of it.  This type of group is nothing new; in fact, groups like this have been popping up all over the United States.  These groups have begun to form a substantial network of average citizens, helping each other engage in the legal system pro se (self represented).  This help can take the form of sharing personal court experiences, to proofreading briefs that have been written by their fellow learners, to setting up mock trials to take part in to perfect courtroom procedures and etiquette.  These networks serve as a support system to help each other in their individual dealings with the law; from lawsuits, to speeding tickets and even in some instances, criminal cases.   This national network seeks to empower the average citizen with the knowledge to, at the very least, be able to perform some of their own research concerning their case.  In these days of lawyers charging anywhere from $100 all the way up to $1000 dollars an hour, the average citizen is finding themselves priced right out of a legal system whose sole purpose was to exist for them to find justice.

The Austin County Legal Learners will have their first study group this Thursday March 26th from 7-9 PM at Tony’s Family Restaurant in Sealy in the back meeting room.  Everyone is welcome to attend but, are asked to plan on purchasing a meal since the back room is free as a courtesy for paying patrons.  Everyone is also asked to bring a thumb-drive or some other form of file sharing device.  The Austin County Legal Learners have a Facebook Page to share information and keep interested individuals up to date on meetups as well as other topics.  Their Facebook Page can be accessed at: