Careful Case Preparation is the Key to Winning Your Case

Understanding legal concepts and how to spot problems is important for winning your case.

As we have said in numerous posts, the side that wins the most lawsuits is the side that has carefully prepared for their case and trial.

Identifying Issues in Your Case

Legal research is important. Every case will involve one, and usually more, concepts of law of which most people are only vaguely aware. The real key is identifying the issues which are important to your case. There are several ways to do that. One of these is to go online to one of those websites where you pay an expert for an answer and then lay the case out so they can explain the various legal issues.

Another option is to hire a local lawyer in your town to evaluate the case and provide you direction.

The third is to just run searches on legal databases and perform your own legal research(as set out in the Guerrilla Guide to Legal Research), and then just look for cases with facts similar to yours. This is, of course, the method that takes the longest but it is also the least expensive.

Once you find those issues of law be sure you understand what they mean

Understanding Legal Concepts

This is the area where most people prove to have the least competence in representing themselves. Law school doesn’t actually teach you very much about specific laws or specific cases. What it does do is train you how to spot issues and the general principles and legal concepts upon which these ideas are based.

If you do not understand the legal concept then you will never be able to spot the problems with your case.

In evaluating various books on different areas of the law I often see book reviews in which the buyer states, “It didn’t provide information for my case”. That’s because the person doesn’t understand the concepts discussed in the book. Concepts can be applied to all cases, if you have a good understanding of what is meant.

For instance, almost every lawsuit involves “discovery”. As we discuss in The Guerrilla Guide to Written Discovery, there are certain questions (known as Interrogatories) that you can send in every case. However, if the law allows you two sets of thirty questions each, you don’t want to waste any of the questions on interrogatories which aren’t useful to you. So, you must first identify what you need to know from the other person and then convert that into your discovery. While all of the Guerrilla Guides to the Law provide some specific examples, there is no way for anyone to know exactly what you will use in your case. Therefore, what you need is a book that explains the basics to you about a particular topic and then gives you examples to look at not because those are the ones you will use, but so that you can see what form is used.

By the time you get to mediation or trial, through the use of effective discovery and by putting some time and effort into understanding every part of the case, you should know not only your case but also be able to anticipate what the other side will do as well. If you don’t have any idea of what the other side is going to ask, what witnesses they are going to call, and the weak spots in your case (and all cases have weak spots) then you simply are not ready to try and conclude the case.

Once you have a complete understanding, then it is time to begin pushing for trial and if you understand the case and have truly prepared, then you have a greatly improved chance of success.

We have written the Guerrilla Guides to the Law to provide assistance in each of the areas laypeople find the most difficult. We use simple, easy to understand language and examples as well as noting when something in particular happens regularly. By not adding a bunch of “fluff” and unnecessary information we are able to keep the cost of the books down as well as to make them a much quicker read and much easier to understand.

Related Articles:

Discovery Basics for the Pro Se – What is Discovery and What is Disclosure?

Discovery Basics for the Pro Se Pt. 1 – What are Requests for Production?

Discovery Basics for the Pro Se Pt. 2 – What are Interrogatories?

Discovery and Legal Research are the Most Important Skills of Being Pro Se

How to Read and Brief a Case When Doing Legal Research