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Locate the right people before you start litigation

Google shouldn’t be your only fact-finding resource

Litigation is above all about facts, so why are there so few law school courses on fact investigation? Whatever the answer, lawyers often need help gathering facts before, during and after trial.

Take beforehand: Many of the facts a litigator needs in order to win are not yet written down when the case begins. If these facts are in writing, they are not available on Google.

We tell our clients all the time that while computers linked to the Internet are a good start, the real secret in fact investigation is an often-overlooked device known as the telephone. To use one well, you need people who are good at interviewing those who know the things you need to know.

Interviewing is an art, especially early in the process before you are armed with a subpoena. The trick is to get people to talk to you when they may have no good reason to do so. You also have to do it without lying to them, since the ethics rules that bind attorneys and their agents forbid this.

Contributing Author

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Philip Segal

Philip Segal is a New York attorney and the founder of Charles Griffin Intelligence, a New York firm specializing in fact investigation for lawyers. He...

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