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The Champion

July 2017 , Page 14 

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Organizing Information and Taking Notes for Criminal Cases

By Lisa J. Steele

Criminal cases involve massive amounts of information. Reports and statements arrive haphazardly. Witnesses and clients need to be interviewed. The attorney at trial needs to listen to, and take notes of, verbal testimony to cross-examine, make motions, and make a closing argument. If an attorney is new to practice, he or she needs to establish habits and methods for organizing information and taking notes. Most attorneys evolve methods for managing information and taking notes — either relying on college methods, developing systems by trial and error, or using a mentor or employer’s system, itself likely based on college methods or trial and error. Surely, there must be a better way.

There are, in fact, many better ways. This article will discuss several methods for organizing information and some of the perception and memory problems the methods are designed to overcome, and discuss different tools for different problems.

Before trial, grid/table methods can help

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