Chapter 11

Elementary My Dear Watson: Legal Investigation


Bullet Locating and obtaining evidence to prove the client’s case

Bullet Marking and preserving evidence to use at trial

Bullet Organizing evidence to meet the demands of case preparation

Cases don’t just show up on the law firm’s doorstep served on a silver platter ready to take to court. Too often, the attorney and paralegal need to discover and develop the facts of the client’s case in order to effectively prepare for settlement or trial. This means doing a little detective work. As a paralegal, you may find yourself playing Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew to find important evidence. Your supervising attorney may also call on you to mark and preserve case evidence and organize it for trial.

In this chapter, we show you how to conduct the informal discovery process (as opposed to the formal discovery process we discuss in Chapter 6, involving submitting to the other party written documents, like interrogatories and requests for production, and conduction depositions). We give you tips on how to find supporting evidence for civil cases, how to mark the evidence and keep it safe for trial, and how to organize it to present the ...

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