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ADVANCE LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITING JOHN BURRIS LECTURE SERIES MERRITT COLLEGE OAKLAND, CA April 25, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "ADVANCE LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITING JOHN BURRIS LECTURE SERIES MERRITT COLLEGE OAKLAND, CA April 25, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 ADVANCE LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITING JOHN BURRIS LECTURE SERIES MERRITT COLLEGE OAKLAND, CA April 25, 2013

2 INTRODUCTION Civil Rights Litigation Former Prosecutor – Chicago (Cook County) Alameda County Blue v. Black High profile law practice and litigation Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

3 MY PRACTICE Paralegals, Law Clerks, Attorneys Changes in practice over the years Depends on skill level and experience Most important skills are writing and grammar. Grammar is important in writing and speaking. Ninety percent of the tasks at my office involve interacting with the public. Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

4 PARALEGALS CLERKS Overall preparation of a case for an attorney Intake Pitch the case to an attorney Research Write the claim and/or initial lawsuit Discovery and Motion Attorneys determine the strategy Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

5 TECHNOLOGY Changes: Typewriters, Computers, Cell Phones, Tablets Physical Files, Electronic Storage on CD and Cloud Technology replaces the physical files stored off- site Cases can be electronically filed Litigation requests completed electronically Communications with clients and staff: Smart phone, Skype I had a dog bite case where I communicated with the client on Skype in France Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

6 INTAKE Understand what you are looking for Balance needs of the client v the Business of Law Need for Justice Evaluate the client as a possible witness See the client in person to determine whether they are lying Test the clients commitment Determine whether the client is reliable Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

7 PITCH THE CASE TO AN ATTORNEY Think elevator pitch. You have 11 floors to provide highlights and answer questions no matter the circumstances. First give the highlights in one or 2 sentences Second give the critical details: witness, drugs, guns, anything relevant Third, tell the attorney what information you do know or need to find Fourth, explain the possibility of novel legal issues raised. Fifth, Conclude! Give a decisive reason as to why we should or should not take the case. Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

8 RESEARCH Tools Research if necessary – Google, Findlaw, Westlaw, Lexis The key issue Tip: Google a news article, then Google cases, then use Westlaw, Lexis for details Get the full spectrum of your issues Then condense the research to a summary in less than half a page Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

9 WRITING Generally the most important aspect of any lawsuit is the statement of facts Your audience Third Person active narrative Short succinct declarative sentences. Subordinate conjunctions: because, unless, although, even though, until Conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, yet, so Beginning the sentence with AND or BUT: A sentence beginning with and or but will tend to draw attention to itself and its transitional function. An initial And is a useful aid to writers as the narrative continues. That an d Which Then and Than (implied comparison) Quotations and Exclamations Commas and semicolons Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

10 CASE WORKFLOW IN MY OFFICE A potential client inquiry arrives via , Phone, or other source. If the case is no good some type of rejection should be sent. Create an electronic client file by scanning intake documents and placing them in a unique folder on google docs under the Johnburrislaw repository. Schedule the STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS alert in Google calendar alerts under Johnburrislaw (i.e. 6 months claim, 2 years lawsuit). Include the assigned attorney. Schedule FOLLOW UP alerts in Google calendar alerts under Johnburrislaw (1, month, 3, months, 6 months, 1 year) Include the assigned attorney. Create a physical file and give it to Maxine or Arlene for placement on the calendar Write the statement of facts and enter the info into the ON-LINE CLIENT INFO FORM. Complete the Claim, Complaint, Request for medical records, Notification of counsel, and Request for Admission, and Request for Production. Complete the first Draft of the Elements Chart/Jury Instructions Begin Discovery Settlement Conference Trial Post-Trial Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

11 LEGAL ISSUES RAISED Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments Excessive Force Statutes: 42 USC 1983, CA 52.1 and Torts: Assault, Battery, False Imprisonment, Negligence, Wrongful Death CA Attorney Client Privilege ABA and CA Rules of Professional Responsibility Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

12 QUESTIONS Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

13 LAW OFFICES OF JOHN BURRIS Law Offices of John L. Burris Oakport Street, Oakland CA (510) Copyright Law Offices of John Burris


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