This story from law.com contrasts the handling of pro se appeals in the Ninth Circuit and the Fourth Circuit, and includes some comments from Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer.
The artice notes:
"The 4th Circuit has a three-tier method for dealing with pro se cases, Niemeyer said.
First, a staff attorney reviews a self-representing litigant's appeal and gives an oral or written presentation to a three-judge panel, which either recommends it for further review or dismisses it. At the second phase, staff lawyers send a lengthy memo to a three-judge panel recommending the case for oral argument.
At the third phase, a lead judge has moved the case to oral argument, and at that point assigns an attorney to argue it."