As an attorney, I’m always looking for that one slam dunk piece of evidence a client can provide me to win their entire case. I can spend hours and hours brainstorming, digging through past pleadings, doing discovery, meeting and conferring with Opposing Counsel, and the document can just never show up and because of that you have to get really creative to win your argument in Court, whether that be to prove your case in a round about way with the evidence provided or through oral argument.
But do you want to know what would be better than that? Providing all evidence or any document or item related to your case to your attorney before the trial… well before your trial, so that I have time to take action with that document.
I’ve had a case before where I just needed this one document to prove our argument. Client and I sat together going over game plan for oral arguments, shuffling through all our lodgments, and evidence packets, and discovery that was propounded on Opposing Party, and decided it was the best we got and lets get it done. Still in the back of my head, I couldn’t stop thinking if only I had the one golden ticket I needed to walk in and say case closed. Well, turns out, Client had that document, but it wasn’t until after we had lost the case, that it was provided to me, and when I tell you this was the “golden ticket” document, it couldn’t be more true. This document, clear as day, from Opposing Counsel stated everything that I needed it to say and more to prove our argument, but unfortunately, too little too late.
I absolutely urge you to provide everything you can that is relevant to your case to your attorney. Had I been provided this one document, it could have been filed as evidence to the Court prior to our Hearing and could and would have done wonders for us, but unfortunately, too late. Not everyone is familiar with Family Court filing deadlines and procedures, but I am here to explain them to you now, so that you can avoid this situation too. When Client’s present evidence to us that we feel is relevant to our argument and what was stated/written in the Client declaration, we can do what’s called “lodging” with the Court. What this means is that we prepare and present a packet of evidence to the Court prior to our Court hearing for the Judge to consider along with our written arguments in the form of a declaration. Anything that we would like to give to the Court for review needs to be lodged no earlier than 10 days, but no later than 5, which means that we MUST file/lodge/serve everything at least 5 days prior to Court. If we miss that deadline, often it is too little too late.
This particular case was heartbreaking, this one document could have changed the whole trajectory of this Client’s case, but it was not given to me until after the hearing. I do not want this to happen to anyone else. When your attorney is searching and searching and again, more searching, make sure you are searching too. We don’t request evidence to waist your time, energy, effort, or money, we do it because we think it may be the one item to change the trajectory of your case, to get you that win you are so desperately looking for, especially in family law where it means it could be custody of your children, or saving your house in a divorce, or protection of a restraining order.
We want more than anything, as your attorney, to see you victorious and vindicated in all your matters. We advocate for you so that you don’t have to, we too, just sometimes need help… help searching and searching for the golden ticket.