Wedding planners always suggest creating a timeline of tasks to accomplish as the big day approaches. Breaking down tasks and assigning them a priority in the buildup to the wedding is both efficient and stress-reducing. Getting to trial can be as hard as getting to the altar, with just as many moving parts to juggle. Here’s a handy timeline of pre-trial tasks that will get you to opening argument with your sanity.
When we think of attorneys and questions, images of courtroom witness examinations and jailhouse interviews come to mind. But for most attorneys, questions are more often asked during pre-litigation investigation, discovery, and settlement negotiations — all situations in which the attorney needs to gather information. To get the answers you want and need, you have to ask the right questions.
During discovery, parties often use search terms to separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e., the irrelevant or unresponsive data from the relevant or responsive information. The sheer volume of electronic material makes the use of search terms a necessity, but, as with many conveniences, there is some risk involved. The key may be in agreeing to share search terms that will improve the process without showing your hand.
Because documents produced from computers will represent only a small fraction of the electronically stored information that may exist, a request for production during discovery may not be enough. To get at all the relevant documents, you may want to demand the physical inspection of the responding party’s computer system under CCP §2031.010(c).
Discovery during litigation provides powerful tools that allow each side to discover a wealth of information about the other. But how do you decide whether to use a particular tool? For example, when a plaintiff is claiming a physical or mental injury, should the defense always request its own physical or mental exam of the plaintiff? Such a request is available under CCP §§2032.010-2032.650, and it may be advantageous, but it is also risky.