For the last year, I worked on one single aspect of a single case. As young associates strive to do, I became the master of the facts pertaining to that aspect of the case. I’d read all the documents many times over, interviewed all the witnesses, organized and reorganized events into chronologies and charts and bullet point summaries and, over the course of one brutal month, into a massive fifty-plus page memo. Sometime last year the corner-office partner who runs the case turned his attention to my part of the case. Suddenly, people were calling me all day, asking who this witness was, what this other witness said about X, which witnesses we should be worried about, and which ones did we have in the bag. Anybody could have answered these questions, using the various documents we had in the case file, but I knew the facts so well that I could answer them in half a second. I lived with these witnesses. I breathed the facts. Finally, Scary Lady Partner asked me to create a document summarizing everything I knew about this set of witnesses. Each witness would get one page, and that page would have the key facts, and the next steps we needed to take. I finished it up in a day and a half. It was an easy project, like writing my blog, because I was writing things I just knew. We spent another half day cleaning it up, making it client-ready. And when we finished it and I set seven sets of the final version on Scary Lady Partner’s desk, she heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank God we’ve got this all on paper, now. I mean, what would have happened if you got hit by a bus?”
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