The defendant has the same responsibility for case preparation as the plaintiff. First, the defendant must decide if it is necessary to file a counterclaim against the plaintiff. If the defendant wants the judge to offset any money the plaintiff may owe the defendant, a counterclaim must be filed. This should be done at least a week prior to the trial date since the plaintiff must receive a copy of the counterclaim two full days before the trial. The clerk of the Small Claims Court has forms for a counterclaim or you can download a counterclaim form by going to the Small Claims Court section of the Nebraska Judicial Branch website. Even if a counterclaim is not called for, the defendant must still prepare to defend against the plaintiff´s claim. This preparation should involve the same steps as the plaintiff, including gathering documents, finding witnesses, and writing questions.