08/02/2011 05:09:00 PM EST
Isolating the "X" Factor: Lessons in Case Strategy
When you first get a case, you should make a list of the "knowns" and the "unknowns." What facts do you know and which ones do you need to uncover to better evaluate the issues of liability and damages? The more "x" factors, or unknown variables, the less of a grasp you will have on the case and the more your recommendations to your client will seem like guess-work. Therefore, early on, you should isolate the unknown facts, list them and develop a strategy on which facts are discoverable and how best to discover them. The early part of your case should be focused on investigating and searching out these "x" factors. Documents secured from the client or witness interviews may go a long way in answering the unanswered questions. Often, a number of questions won't be answered until well into discovery and some may never be definitively answered. But knowing what you don't know is essential to tackling any case. It's what you don't know which will help you or hurt you, and the sooner you know what you are dealing with, the better you can advise the client on a case strategy.
Read more on Frank Ramos' blog, Tips for Young Lawyers. Francisco "Frank" Ramos, Jr. is the administrative partner at Clarke Silverglate in Miami, Florida, where he practices in the areas of products liability, employment, commercial litigation, medical malpractice, class actions and general liability.
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