Blawgletter has worked at one place, a law firm, since getting a bar card in 1985. At some point, the firm tried to distill its approach to trial work into one document. The current version appears below:
How We Handle Cases
In handling complex litigation, our firm is guided by two principles, both of which reduce expense without sacrificing chances for success. First, less is best. Excess discovery is not just nonproductive, it often is counterproductive. Excess discovery removes the element of surprise at trial, forces the opposition lawyers and witnesses to get prepared earlier than they otherwise would, and often takes the eyes of the lawyers who engage in it off the ball. The best lawyers are best able to handle (and create) surprise at trial. We believe in retaining our natural advantage.
Minimal discovery, however, doesn't mean being ill-prepared. It means we prepare by means other than formal discovery, such as thoroughly interviewing our client's employees and the other side's ex-employees, organizing all documents and information chronologically to understand the complete picture, and conducting jury simulations.
Second, we take whatever discovery we need before the other side does. We like to take the first depositions and we like to depose the top executives first – before they can get their stories straight. We don't believe extensive document discovery is necessary to do this.
THE BOTTOM LINE
TEAMWORK ON THE BIG CASE
At the beginning of a complex case, we assemble our trial team, rarely consisting of more than one or two partners, an associate and a legal assistant.
The partner in charge manages case preparation by using a Task Assignment memo, revised weekly, and a regular weekly team meeting or conference call.
DISCOVERY AND DISCOVERY DISPUTES
Dealing with Opposing Counsel
BUDGETING AND CALLING THE ODDS