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Skills as a future litigation lawyer - analyzing and summarizing information? Watch

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    I have just had an internship in a law firm's litigation department. The firm handles a lot of complex commercial disputes, which often involve many parties and even more transactions over a long period of time. The affidavits are easily over 50 pages (which consists of conflicting information or different viewpoints of a same event), not to mention the hundreds of pages of other documents that I'll have to read.

    I know that in the future as a litigation lawyer, I would be expected by my boss to be able to analyze, summarize and remember most information in a case. I find this to be extremely challenging, and so far I think I have not done a very good job.

    How do you guys develop the skills to handle complex facts for your future career? Are there any books that can teach people how to analyze and summarize complex information better? I have thought of using speed reading techniques, but then as a student it may be fine, but as a lawyer I know I will miss out important information and probably screw up the case.

    Thanks!
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    You read it slowly. You try not to get overwhelmed by the information.

    You make notes, preferably a chronology of events, after you've read the documents to help put things in place.

    In general, I try to think of the facts of the case as a story and things falling into place accordingly.

    In my experience, when I am having trouble keeping the facts of a case in order in my head, it's usually because I didn't read the papers with due care the first time around or I didn't understand some or many of the issues being discussed. Generally reading up on the specific legal instruments/principles being employed helps. However, if I was reading about something very technical, e.g., construction, shipping, tax, etc., my difficulties arise due to unfamiliarity with a lot of the terms being used. There is no easy fix to this other than looking up the industry jargon that I find alien and trying to assimilate the new information as efficiently as possible.

    Don't pigeonhole yourself into litigation. There are many other areas of law out there that you may find interesting.
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    (Original post by arrowhead)
    You read it slowly. You try not to get overwhelmed by the information.

    You make notes, preferably a chronology of events, after you've read the documents to help put things in place.

    In general, I try to think of the facts of the case as a story and things falling into place accordingly.

    In my experience, when I am having trouble keeping the facts of a case in order in my head, it's usually because I didn't read the papers with due care the first time around or I didn't understand some or many of the issues being discussed. Generally reading up on the specific legal instruments/principles being employed helps. However, if I was reading about something very technical, e.g., construction, shipping, tax, etc., my difficulties arise due to unfamiliarity with a lot of the terms being used. There is no easy fix to this other than looking up the industry jargon that I find alien and trying to assimilate the new information as efficiently as possible.

    Don't pigeonhole yourself into litigation. There are many other areas of law out there that you may find interesting.
    Thanks. I do hope I have the chance to read slowly and digest all information, but from my 2-month internship experience, it seems that as a lawyer I will not have much time to read slowly and create charts, as these are not billable hours. For technical stuff, I think I will rely on the Internet for research, but then I know I will not have much time for it .

    I would be grateful if any of you guys can share some tips or recommend some books that teach the skills to summarize, analyze and understand complex facts.
 
 
 
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