Something Constructive: How to Organize the Facts in Your Case
Published to: 000113, 000114, 000115, 000116, 000117, A Small Town Lawyer's Perspective, office management, Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer, West Virginia Lawyer - Tips and Techniques
on May 4, 2010 8:25 pm
Every case involves facts that have to be organized, whether it involves a serious collision, divorce or custody matter, or fight over grandmother’s will. The software application CaseMap taught me how to organize information, into:
1. Object lists; before trying to tell a story, identify the people, documents, events, places and “things” that make up your case.
a. For the people, have name, address, phone, e-mail, who they are, and what they know.
b. For documents, list a title, date and short summary of contents;
c. For other objects, get as much concise detail as you can. Then, objects can be linked to key issues in the case. They also make the narratives or chronologies listed below understandable.
2.“Top ten lists”; these can be grievances, problems with your spouse’s parenting, wrongs done to you, etc. Just keep them to a line or two, and if they exceed 10, rewrite the list. These are great to present to busy judges and great to help dictate a petition or other pleading. An example is, if your estranged spouse has deteriorated into unfitness as a parent, because of alcohol, drugs, anger issues, etc., you can make a concise list of examples or factors demonstrating that unfitness.
3. Chronologies or narratives, starting with the oldest event to the newest. These tell the story and help the lawyer make a complete history. Since you have already listed and identified the objects, the chronology flows much smoother. Please put the date, actual or approximate in the left margin.
With Object Lists, Chronologies, and Top Ten Lists, the lawyer is armed with what he needs to argue and present your case.
Every case that begins with these lists properly completed has an edge over every case that doesn’t.
This post was written by Burton Hunter