Get Organized! Assembling Your Litigation Documents
Documents, documents, and more documents! Frequently in many of our cases, the single most time intensive endeavor comes in the form of organizing, analyzing, and presenting documentation. Commercial civil lawsuits are almost always steeped in heavy documentation, and so it’s important for all our clients to understand this going in. Moreover, to the extent our client can master the documents, organize them, and provide them, that can save money on some very time intensive matters that we would otherwise have to bill for.
The first thing is to understand precisely what documents are going to be pertinent to the litigation. Letters, for one, but also emails and text messages are abundantly in nearly all our cases. Is there a medical aspect to the case? We need doctors records. Construction cases will demand contracts, permit records, and designs and specifications. Sometimes a case will involve thousands of relevant photographs. Talk to your lawyer about every document out there you can think of that’s pertinent.
Next, the documents will have to be organized in a manner that makes sense to the litigation. Contracts need to be together, as do emails and other pertinent manner of records. Having the organization is a must because neither you nor the attorneys want to be swimming through thousands of pages just to find that one critical email you remember sending several years ago. In addition to your comprehensive record, it is wise to keep a special "Hot Docs" file on hand for especially important documents that you find.
And of course, in this modern age, most documents are kept electronically! How and where you and your attorneys will share and exchange documents online is important--please refrain from sending a series of emails with attachments! We prefer Google Drive or Dropbox. There may also be issues about file formats. While we prefer to work in PDF format for all trial docs, producing a big batch of emails–along with all of their attachments–may not be so easy, and may require serious technological assistance. We have even worked with outside technology firms in the past to provide voluminous productions in searchable formats.
The civil litigation team at Asheville Legal makes it a top priority to discuss documentary records with the clients early in every legal matter. Doing so ensures that the records is as useful as possible, as early as possible. And that will often drastically improve the odds of achieving a positive outcome for your case.