I. How many hours you expect to devote to future legal research and writing, anticipating filing at least one motion.
II. How many hours you can devote to fact investigation.
III. What are you looking for?
a. Facts about the parties themselves - what kind of people are they?
b. Facts corroborating (or undermining) your client's primary claim to liability or nonliability
c. Facts reflecting on the amount of damages
d. Facts concerning relative fault among defendants
IV. Where will you look for these facts?
1). Identifying people to talk to
a. Who do you know exists? (e.g., Sarah)
b. Who do you know probably exists, although you don't know their names, and how will you find out their names, addresses & phone numbers?
i. Parties' spouses
ii. Employees at Stained Glass, Bank One, etc.
iii. People who would know parties (neighbors, co-workers)
c. Who might exist and how will you find out their names, addresses and phone numbers?
2). Rank all these people in order of likely importance - whom do you talk to first?
3). How will you "talk" to them - phone? in person? deposition? interrogatories?
1). Identifying documents you want to look at
a. Are there documents you know exist? (e.g., bank records)
b. What documents probably exist, although you don't know for sure where they are, who has custody, etc? (e.g., Larry's medical records)
c. What documents might exist (e.g., notes Larry wrote on computer about his intent to distribute property) and how will you find out if such documents exist?
2). Rank all these documents in order of likely importance - which ones do you seek first?
3). How will you get your hands on them? - ask by phone? in person? send letter? Formal discovery?
c. PLACES & THINGS
1). Identify places or things that are potentially relevant you want to look at (e.g., house, furniture).
2). Identify who has control over the thing, or how you will find out
3). How will you gain access - phone ahead? Show up unannounced? Break in at night like lawyers in the movies do? Formal discovery request?
V. What is the overall order in which you will proceed? This is not the same thing as the objective order of importance. The importance of each task is
determined by the amount of relevant information it is likely to produce considering the amount of time and difficulty in getting that information compared to
other possible sources of the same information. The timing of that important task is more complicated. You generally, but not always do important tasks first.
But consider when you will depose the other party? This is one of the most important tasks you must do, but you don't do it first -- you need to do some initial
fact-gathering so that you know what to talk about at the deposition. .