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Going From Data Dump to Trial

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

When litigating, one of the tried and true tactics of both plaintiffs and defendants is the infamous data dump.

When initial disclosures and discovery responses come due, some parties relish the opportunity to drop bankers box after bankers box off at their adversary's lawyer's doorstep. Data dumps drive up costs, and are frequently filled with red herring which can lead an attorney off on a tangent, wasting time and resources. However, when preparing for trial, it's important to pare down all that data into something that a jury will be able to grasp, you know the proverbial "smoking gun."

Below, you can read a few tips on pulling out the right smoking guns out of the haystack.

Work Backwards

When seeking to make your case, working from model jury instructions is a perfect place to start when approaching document review. Line up the pieces of evidence that support the elements listed in the jury instructions, and poll yourself and colleagues on which are the most evocative.

Every document that can be offered to prove an element can be the "smoking gun." The more clearly the doc relates to the element, and the bigger the element, the more it'll smoke, if you can get the presentation right.

Get a Review Team Together

If the data dump is beyond your capabilities to review on your own, and you're not getting pre-coded docs that can be loaded into a doc review platform and searched, then getting together a small team for a review project is a great way to quickly assess what you've received. Split the documents into groupings and have your team review and index the documents in various ways that may be useful (such as by causes of actions, elements, witnesses, or even chronologically).

Get It Coded

Depending on the size of the dump, you may want to consider getting the data coded so that you can utilize software to run keyword searches and other types of reports. While giant data dumps may obscure specifics, by using big data tactics you might be able to make the dumper regret their dumping.

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