LEG215 Week 6 Assignment 3:
Overview of Legal Research
Outline a detailed 3-step system for interviewing client
There are several steps system employed in interviewing client. However, this varies based on some concepts but they tend to address on a similar assumption. Some of the standard step methods used in interviewing include listening, questioning and advising. These three steps gives the directives in which a client should be advised based on the course matter in that context.
Step 1 – Interview Prep
Review any information about the client that you may already have available. Learning more about the client beforehand will help you develop an idea of what specifics you need to get when you meet. You may be able to communicate better with the person as well. Have ready any paperwork the client needs to complete.
Step 2 – Questions & Answers
Step two consists of questioning. You must gain a thorough understanding of the topic at hand. Start with open ended questions that allow the client to speak to the situation in detail. You can then also ask secondary questions in order to clarify the exact meaning of their answers given. In most cases, client often gives detailed information as they tend to be disorganized and not focusing correctly on what is needed. Always complete one track of questioning and second-level questions before moving to a different topic. People have many different approaches to delivering information. Thus some of the tips when used correctly can obtain information required so as to provide sound advice that can help. Make sure to summarize all information taken to insure that all key points were captured
It is critically important to practice active listening techniques. One way to effectively do so is to repeat back what the interviewee has said. This insures that you take away the correct statement. Another part of active listening is observing the body language and behavior of the client as they are speaking. It should be relatively easy to identify if the client is speaking quickly, nervous, or restless. Additionally, be attentive. This is essential as it shows that you respect their time and are concerned with their interests.
Step 3 – Form a Relationship
It’s important that your client knows that while you are handling their case it is the mostimportant one you have. Reinforce that idea.Reassure them that you are on their side while remaining objective about the law and thefacts.Let them know that you’re going to put up the best defense possible and that you’re goingto argue to the judge that they get the outcome of that they want.
Develop a rapport. Attorneys represent people they don’t like all the time. However, you can’teffectively represent someone that you can even tolerate speaking to and who refuses tospeak with you. So utilize all the points to make sure that you have a working rapportwith your client.
Draft five (5) questions that, as a paralegal, you would ask prior to beginning an interview with a client. Identify the primary purpose of each question.
What was the date of incident? If the incident happened recently, your firm will be able to control the case from this point forth. If the incident happened quite some time ago or if the statute of limitations is approaching, be aware that the client might already have compromised his own case.
How did the incident happen? This is extremely important in determining the liability question. If the client fell down his own set of stairs or drove his automobile off the road into a tree, your attorney might not want to waste more time discussing the case. If the client is vague or evasive as to how the incident happened, you can be sure that the rest of the case might be quite difficult.
Where did the incident occur? This question is important because it determines the appropriate venue if the case proceeds to suit. If the incident happened in your county or locality, then the convenience of trying the case will make a difference.
Were there any witnesses? This element will help your attorney take control of an important liability factor. If the incident is serious and there are witnesses to the incident, they should be approached as soon as possible.
Has the client contacted any other attorneys? If the potential client is shopping around, beware. Either the other firms are not interested or the potential client is looking for the answers he or she wants to hear.
Develop ten (10) interrogatories, and describe the primary information that you are attempting to elicit from the opposing counsel’s client.
1) Please state your full name, home address and all addresses for the last five years, social security number, date of birth, marital status and your employer’s name and address. Include in your answer who was lived with you in the five year period before the accident.
2) If you contend that the personal injuries of Plaintiff was not caused by the collision with your vehicle, state with particularity the facts upon which you base your contention.
3) Please state the name and address of your employer, your position and duties, and your wages at the time of the auto accident and at the present time.
4) Please state in detail your itinerary on the date of the auto accident, including each place at which you were present, your length of stay at each such place, and a detailed account of whom you saw and what you did at each such place.
5) Please identify all persons known to you to have personal knowledge of the facts pertaining to the occurrence, and indicate those who were eye witnesses, and state the substance of their knowledge and articulate their expected testimony.
6) Please identify all personswho investigated the cause of this auto accident for you.
7) Please identify all persons who arrived at the scene of the auto accident within one hour after the auto accident.
8) Please identify the motor vehicle you were operating at the time of your collision with the Plaintiff, including its make, year, registration number, and registered owner.
9) Please identify all persons to whom you have given signed statements regarding the auto accident, the date thereof, and the name of the person in whose custody each is at this time.
10) Please identify all persons who have given you signed statements regarding the auto accident or the personal injuries suffered by the Plaintiff in the accident.
Explain the importance of using interrogatories for a personal injury case. Identify two (2) ways in which your supervising attorney could use the opposing party’s responses to further her case. Provide a rationale for your response.
The answers to the questions included in the interrogatories are crucial for each side, as it will determine the direction the lawyers will take on behalf of the plaintiff and on behalf of the defendant. The answers are considered to be admissions, which give the lawyer the capacity to read the answers in court out loud.
During discovery, the parties request and exchange information and key facts. Interrogatories, as well as depositions, form the majority of the discovery process. Unlike many legal documents, interrogatories do not need to be filed with the court. They’re sent back and forth from one party to another (Goguen, 2015).
Written interrogatories may be used effectively in almostevery lawsuit. They may be used to particularize and elaboratenotice pleadings and to refine and narrow the eventual issuesfor trial. They may also be used to facilitate subsequent discoveryby establishing the identity of those persons whose depositionsshould be taken and the identity of those documentswhich should be the subject of a motion to produce or inspect.Interrogatories can also serve very specific functions, suchas establishing the extent of a defendant’s contacts with a forum for jurisdictional purposes, obtaining information to beused in drafting an amended pleading, verifying known facts,identifying expert witnesses, establishing the dates for a potentialstatute of limitations defense or obtaining an itemizedbreakdown of claimed special damages (Newman, 2007).In complex litigation interrogatories are often the onlypractical and efficient means of obtaining certain information.Answers to interrogatories,on the other hand, represent the collective knowledge ofthe opponent and his attorneys and agents.Moreover, the answeringparty is required to conduct a reasonable investigationif this is necessary in order to formulate an adequate responseto the questions.The fact that interrogatories are directed to the collectiveknowledge of a party and his attorneys and agents is particularlyimportant with respect to lawsuits involving corporations (Schoone, n.d.).
Experienced lawyers realize the power behind admissions that are used in court. Admissions can be used the entire time a case is being held in court, which helps to add supporting evidence to discoveries that are made during all phases of a court case. Additionally, answers to interrogatories may also be used in summary judgment motions and in motions to dismiss (Newman, 2007).
Gouge, D. JD. (2015). What are Interrogatories in a Personal Injury Case?All Law WebsiteRetrieved from: http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/interrogatory.html
Newman, K. (2007). Responding to Interrogatories. American Bar Association Young Lawyers DivisionThe 201 Practice Series: Beyond the Basics. Retrieved from: file:///Users/chadmccarl2/Downloads/-YL406000-relatedresourceslit201rspndinterrogatory.pdf
Schoone, A.P. & Miner, E.L. (n.d) The Effective Use of Interrogatories. Retrieved from: http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2153&context=mulr
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