I was recently notified that my ex-employer is contesting my right to unemployment benefits. The hearing is only 6 full business days from when i received the notice. I don’t see anyway to retain representation in that time. If I represent myself, do I have a fool for a client?
Another good question Connie.
Depends on the difficulty of the point of contention .. and your ability to view the whole situation as if you didn’t have anything to lose, but prove. This requires a certain amount of detachment or objectivity.
It is a lack of legal training combined with the extreme emotions that one tends to feel when they fear being completely incomeless that tends to screw things up.
But I’m certain everyone would like to keep a claimant’s ignorance of the legality of an unemployment hearing firmly in place .. so we only have our fool of a lawyer or “non-legal” representation to blame which is usually the unemployed person him/herself.
Virginia does not require representation at unemployment hearings to be an attorney, but you, yourself can prepare in a way that enables you to win when the facts are on your side.
I’m here to encourage though .. because being a fool is a choice brought on by either retained ignorance or pure laziness or ingrained stupidity.
Those who teach “legal self-help” will tell you one of the most important things you must do is “control the court”. This always means legal research or at least a basic understanding of how a legal proceeding works. Motions, objections, subpoena power, how to testify, how to cross examine .. sound legal? It is. An unemployment hearing is an “administrative hearing” vs. a “court hearing”, but make no mistake, whoever presides has “rules of procedure” they must follow.
I just wouldn’t be comfortable relying on that “impartial judge” of the facts to look out for my best interests and right to due process because they aren’t all impartial .. some have to be compelled to be impartial.
All this legal stuff, you should know, is the same reason that appeals of hearing decision to a higher authority rarely work when you don’t know it going in.
If you don’t know or use your rights .. the system will work against you.
I know .. I talk too much, but damn, if you just lost your job and then been denied benefits, or your employer appeals your benefits .. you have to know what you’re getting into.