If your opponent has a lawyer and you attempt to go up against him/her yourself, you will likely get crushed, because you will not know how to conduct discovery and prepare a response to a motion for summary judgment.
That said, if you want to try to "do-it-yourself," then I suggest you get these two publications at a minimum:
There are layperson guides to representing yourself in court, and they will explain the basics. Eventually, however, you will be confronted with some sort of deadline or pleading that you won't understand, and the layperson guide will not address the issue.
Which is, of course, why there are lawyers.
Hope this helps.
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This is already set for arbitration. I just do not have the deep pockets to hire an attorney.
Do you know how or who I should contact at the court to help me find an attorney the takes payments?
The only legal aid organization in the area of which I'm aware, and they may not be particularly friendly to an ex-landlord, is:
Channel Counties Legal Services Association132 S. A St./P.O. Box 1228Oxnard, CA 93032(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>
Other than that, all I can think of would be the standard State Bar Certified referral services. Most attorneys won't take payments, because they get "stiffed" and collections actions, for a lawyer, unless he/she is a collections attorney, are as expensive for the attorney as they are for anyone else. But, lots of attorneys take credit cards, so if you have a reasonable credit line, then that would be an option.
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