AuthorLeonard H. Bucklin
2. Summary
In the trial notebook, behind the tab for Summary you are going to find:
a one-sheet summary of the case;
the latest of any other internal (office internal) summaries of the case that you or
your staff have prepared;
the last evaluation of the case you sent to the client or insurer;
Perhaps, not always, a helpful map or sketch, a timeline or chronology, the basic
contract in the case, or a photo that is frequently referred to in the examination
of witnesses. In short, the most basic visual item or exhibit that is going to drive
much of what you do can be copied and placed here.
The Summary section is where you go when you want to refresh your memory about
the case. Those four above items will always allow you to do that.
§2.1 One Sheet Only
Why do we insist that your summary be limited to one sheet? Nothing works better
to clarify the mind.
As the case develops, the one-sheet summary probably will not have to be revised.
The summary contains the basic and hard-core facts that probably will not change. If
change is necessary, of course, change the summary. The clarification of the mind on
what is essential to the case is worth the effort.
Contrary to what clients expect, litigation commonly takes more than a year to bring
to termination. You do not work on the case file each day. Other attorneys, or legal
assistants and secretaries, may only refer to the case once a week or less. In any office of
more than one attorney, it is frequently necessary for a second attorney to work on the
file. Because of all those factors, there must be a quick and reliable way to refresh minds,
or newly inform minds about the key dates, primary persons, and essential facts in the
case. The one-sheet summary fills this need.
As you gain experience with Building Trial Notebooks’ system, you may find that your
office needs to adapt the One-Sheet Case Summary. Modify as necessary using the CD’s
copy of the form. However you change the Summary, always limit it to one sheet in
size. (One sheet is two pages — a front and back of one sheet of paper.) The act of tight-
ly summarizing forces you to organize your own thinking about what is important in
the case. If you cannot summarize the case on one sheet, something is wrong with your
approach to the case!
That last sentence is important enough to go back and read again.

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