It's also important to remember that your attorney understands the litigation process in a way that you don't. While you're a foreigner in the legal realm, your lawyer lives there. So, it's worth paying careful heed to your lawyer's advice. If you don't understand something, ask probing questions. However, always keep in mind that your lawyer has extensive professional training and experience in these matters.
A little respect goes a long way in the courtroom, particularly when you are representing yourself. Address the judge as "your honor," not as "Judge Smith" or "Mr. Smith." Try your best to be polite to your opponent, not demeaning or petty. Showing respect for people and procedures in the courtroom will help you gain the respect of the judge, which will make your day in court a more pleasant experience.
Once you file the necessary papers to begin a lawsuit, you will face a number of deadlines -- for everything from requestingthat your case be heard by a juryto telling your opponent what evidence you plan to introduce at trial. Make careful note of these deadlines and make sure that you meet every one. The judge won't give you any leeway just because you are representing yourself -- and missing an important deadline could result in your case being thrown out of court.
Lawsuits can become additionally complicated as more parties become involved (see joinder). Within a "single" lawsuit, there can be any number of claims and defenses (all based on numerous laws) between any number of plaintiffs or defendants. Each of these participants can bring any number of cross claims and counterclaims against each other, and even bring additional parties into the suit on either side after it progresses. In reality however, courts typically have some power to sever claims and parties into separate actions if it is more efficient to do so. A court can do this if there is not a sufficient overlap of factual issues between the various associates, separating the issues into different lawsuits.