Once again we turn to Paul Luvera for guidance on some aspect of trial practice. Paul is an extraordinary lawyer who is kind enough to share his knowledge with us on a regular basis via his Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Tips blog.
This time, Paul shares his method of organizing for trial in non-complex cases.
The first thing I did was to collect all the materials and physically stack them in piles by year. I then organized the piles chronologically. I put the material in one large notebook arranged in chronological order using numerical dividers. There is an index with tab number and identification of the document. By looking at the index I can trace the first event through the last one and have the tab number for any document that corresponds to that date. A set of the hearing rules are also in this notebook under a divider. This notebook becomes my "resource notebook."
Paul goes on to describe how he takes that information and moves it into trial notebooks.
I use a system similar to Paul, except I tend to have a timeline developed before depositions in the case. (Paul’s case was an administrative hearing, and therefore it is possible that there were no depositions taken in the matter.) Creation of a solid timeline early in the case, with additions to it as more information is known, helps me keep a solid grasp on the case at a glance.
I encourage you to read the remainder of Paul’s post and see if you can pick up any other tips to help you in your practice.