Litigation: Finding the Smoking Gun - Justice in Box 253

MartinA young attorney at our firm recently took his oath as a new attorney. The Chief Justice of our Supreme Court exhorted his class to "seek justice," but acknowledged that, for many, their first years of practice would be spent reviewing boxes of documents. The young attorney's father, a wise general counsel who litigated for many years, turned to him and whispered, "You'll find justice in box 253." He is right. The devil is in the details and so are the devil's lies.

It never ceases to amaze us how witnesses, including many in positions of authority Bradfordand trust, will lie - and more so, how they think they will get away with it. Sometimes the lie is not even central to their defense, but they will gamble their credibility and lose. They may not be used to having their accounts scrutinized or challenged. They may have fallen into the habit of embellishing and fabricating details to promote their story. But the truth has a way of coming out on cross-examination, and when you catch your opponent in a lie, it destroys their credibility. Cases often turn on finding the one document or eyewitness that proves the lie.

Craig C. Martin

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David J. Bradford

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