I can barely draw a straight line – let alone paint a picture. Notwithstanding, I’m in the picture painting business. It’s just that the pictures I paint are of a different kind. I paint pictures in court in an attempt to persuade a trier of fact to see things my way and/or my client’s way.
If the picture I paint is clear enough, a good verdict is a possibility.
I start my painting by identifying goals. These are factual goals that are within my theory of the line of questioning. I’m trying to advance my theory of the case or undermine the opponent’s theory of the case.
What can I prove that would advance my theory? How many
factual goals are there?
I build my painting by reviewing all of the available facts. I see what facts support my factual goal. I’m looking for facts that will give my painting depth and texture. I want to avoid just jumping to a conclusion. There is no reward in that. We want detail! I want to paint with sufficient facts that a conclusion is compelled. I want to give clarity to a particular event or set of facts – so detail is important. I want to assemble a set of facts that support a central point.I’m going to prepare my painting one fact at a time. As I achieve success in one area, I will move on to another area – one factual goal at a time. The painting, in effect, is a series of small discussions. My painting goes from one topic to another – each topic being discussed with sufficient detail to allow a factual conclusion. Each topic builds on the overall picture that I have in mind.
The most important topics in a case require the most detail. When painting in a critical area, you need to produce a lot of facts. This requires a critical look at the important topics. What makes up the topic? What are its component parts? Once that is done, you try to develop facts that support each of the components. The sum of the parts exceeds the whole.
For example, in an alimony case, an important aspect of the case is a consideration of the style of living enjoyed by the couple prior to their split. Looking at the style of living requires looking into the household budget, item by item. What kind of house do they own? What are the
taxes? Where is it located? What does it cost to run? What does it cost to maintain? You also look at vacations. What vacations were taken? Where did the couple go? How much did they spend on vacation?
Every sub-topic you can come up with – that bears on the issue of life style – is explored. Facts are developed to support each sub-topic. Each fact is a brush stroke. Each fact is useful in developing the painting. In every case, the number of factual goals are different. The idea is to achieve success in achieving a number of factual goals. If you do, your painting will be clear. If it’s clear, that’s the
best you can hope for.