Document Analysis 

How to think systematically through the use of evidence in your case.

Note: This web-page is still under construction and not ready for you to rely upon. You may find useful data here, but it is not complete.



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Before You Proceed: This Procedure assumes that you are already familiar with our Procedures entitled Case Planning and Document Management in SharePoint. If you are not, please study those procedures first.


Now that you know how to process documents in SharePoint, you must move to the next level, which is learning how to systematically evaluate the evidence in your case and plan how you will use it in motions, hearings and trial. Before reading this procedure, please watch the following Training Video entitled “GOJO Document Analysis.”

Document analysis is not the same as document management. Document management is a process by which documents are physically handled, including how they are stored, tracked, produced, tagged and accessed. On the other hand, document analysis refers to the thought process a lawyer uses to make intelligent decisions about how documents will be used in litigation.

Why You Need This Information

One of the single greatest sources of success in a civil action is the skill with which attorneys evaluate and use the evidence in a case. Unfortunately, most lawyers do not thoroughly and systematically analyze documents and testimony. For that reason, the potential value of the evidence that could be realized is rarely achieved—the evidence is not used, not admitted in trial (usually for lack of foundation) or not presented effectively.

Most lawyers pick from the collection of evidence and deposition testimony, selecting only the most obviously useful information, and then manage to get a portion of that information into evidence. This problem is compounded by the fact that some valuable evidence is never obtained in the first place.

What you will read below gives you an organized checklist of ideas to consider when evaluating the potential value of a document or passage of testimony may be, and from there, developing a plan for how to use the evidence.

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Systematic Thinking

There are four primary factors to consider when analyzing documents. These are: (1) the significance of the document; (2) the discoverability of the document; (3) the admissibility of the document; and (4) the application of the document. Each of these breaks down into a few sub-factors. These are mapped below:

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The significance of the document refers to the kind of impact it will have in the case.