Litigation can be an extremely stressful and invasive process, but there are some simple ways to minimize its effects on your schedule, minimize your attorney’s fees, and improve your chances of success.
Gather Your Documents
First, begin gathering all of your supporting documents as soon as possible to ensure that they are handy for discovery. Even if you plan to settle your case early on, you’ll most likely at least need documents involving damage amounts — such as invoices and receipts — to reference in support of any settlement amounts. Gathering these documents and providing them to your attorney early on will minimize the amount of times that your attorney will need to contact you to request documents, and will ultimately reduce your litigation costs.
Gather Your Electronic Media
Second, begin locating relevant emails, text messages, and other electronic media. Searching your emails for those involving relevant parties and placing them into folders will save you time in the future and will help ensure that these emails are set aside for easy reference later. Litigation can take years to resolve, so the sooner you locate and preserve these items, the better you can protect yourself from losing crucial evidence.
Stop Contacting Opposing Parties
Third, stop contacting any opposing parties. It may seem intuitive, but unless directed by your attorney, it’s best that you discontinue communicating with all opposing parties as soon as possible. Communications immediately preceding litigation often do more harm than good, and may aggravate some already delicate issues.
Contact Your Witnesses
Fourth, do contact important witnesses and gather their contact information. Let them know that you have a case pending and request that they notify you of any changes in their contact information.
Fifth, lists and journal entries can be helpful for your attorney, and can be crucial for preserving your memories. Lists of items lost, invoices paid, and amounts due can save you hours in attorney’s fees. Additionally, daily journals of your injuries and lists involving sequences of events can be extremely helpful in preserving your memories. Although few cases proceed all the way through to trial, it is always best to prepare for the worst and acknowledge that cases can take years to fully resolve. Preserving your case is essential early in the process.
Lastly, be sure to ask your attorney whether you can do anything else to speed up or aid the process. Different issues are handled in different ways, and only your attorney will know the best way for you to proceed with your specific case.