Trials are all about reconstructing the past, mainly through oral testimony. This oral testimony often derives from memory. However, memory is a fickle, self-serving beast. And it must be measured against objective evidence.
As lawyers, it is our job to test our client’s words against anything objective. We can Google the terrain, visit the site, speak to witnesses, watch videos, stare at pictures, read thousands of pages of documents, and cross-examine our own clients. By going millimeter by millimeter through the chronology, we can begin our preparation for trial.
A great lawyer once told me that ultimately preparing for trial is about (1) building your case (which starts from the first witness) and (2) building the platform for your client to sing.
In building the platform, you can use the other side’s evidence. You don’t need to fight every piece of evidence. By choosing the ultimate battle, you can cleanly reconstruct your version of the past for the judge.
However, knowing the battle to pick comes from knowing the case. And the only way to know the case is to comb through all the evidence, millimeter by millimetre. You cannot trust your client alone.