Litigation is a war of information.
I don’t intend to over-simplify, but there are 3 steps in every case and trial:
- Gather information
- Process information
- Present information
The gathering of information is done through client and witness interviews, investigations, affidavits of documents and examinations for discovery.
The processing of information is how you take the information and organise it so that it is presentable. For example, for cross-examinations, Pozner and Dodd suggest organizing information into one page topic charts and then building chapters of cross-examination off the topic charts. Both the topic charts and chapters congaing the source of information for every fact and question. For more information on this processing approach, see our trial resources on Fundamentals of Cross-Examination.
The presentation of information can be in a pleading, motion record, mediation brief, pre-trial conference brief and ultimately in Court at trial.
I encourage you to pick any case you’re working on and consider what you are doing to gather as much information as possible, how you take that information and process it and what you do to make your presentation have maximum impact.
Some areas for litigation lawyers to consider paying particular attention to are systems for gathering witness statements and systems for processing information as they prepare for examinations. It is usually a lack of systems in preparing for examinations (discoveries, direct examinations and cross-examinations) that hinder the eventual presentation.
This article is courtesy of the Ontario Civil Trial Manual
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