Every case ultimately turns on a piece of evidence. One little document can change the course of your case. One piece of paper, one photo, one statement can change your life forever. Evidence is the lifeblood of litigation. It makes or breaks a case. When you are going through litigation it is important to gather your evidence and prepare your documents for your attorney’s review. Sometimes, more important than the evidence itself is providing the evidence, good or bad, to your attorney so that your attorney can properly use the evidence to your benefit or prepare an argument against the bad evidence.
If you fail to provide the evidence, your attorney cannot prepare for its use and is often, to use a sports reference, blind sided and your whole game plan is thrown off. It is our jobs as an attorney to prepare for arguments in advance, predict the other sides possible moves, and prepare a counter to those moves. It is a strategic game of chess. We are thinking twenty steps ahead in order to prepare for any possible outcome. However, the problem with not knowing a piece of evidence exists is that we cannot work with the absolute unknown. We cannot prepare for something we do not know exists. It would be like playing chess, predicting moves, and then, suddenly, the other side gets an extra Queen and we have no idea how it will effect the game although we suspect it probably won’t be good. If you withhold documents or evidence, it can only hurt you in the long run.
Please, please, please, provide us with the evidence. Turn over documents. Be forthcoming. Be overly inclusive and let us, as the experts, review the documents and determine what is relevant and what can help or hurt your case. We have years of experience in reviewing documents and determining what evidence will or won’t hurt your case. We have years of experience in presenting that evidence to the court and how the court reacts to that evidence.
So . . . the next time you are trying to determine whether to provide a document or piece of information, err on the side of caution and provide the document, let us know that piece of information. It just might change the outcome of your entire case. It just might change your life.