The legal process is a foreign language to most people. A Party means the person involved in a case, the Bench means where a Judge is sitting in a courtroom, and heretofore and forthwith and thrice hence mean…well, who knows (and who cares)! The law has a way of taking very simple things and making them very complicated. Doing so takes very average people (lawyers pre-law school) and makes them very complicated people. People who say things like, “Subsequent to hearing the automotive guidance system indicate that your desired path of traversing was northeast, what did you do with respect to the operation and control of your motor vehicle?” instead of, “You were driving your car. The GPS said to turn right. What happened next?”
There is a process called Interrogatories during the litigation process (the process of bringing a formal case to court and getting ready for trial). These are forms delivered to the opposing side asking questions and requiring answers under oath. They usually come with pages of instructions and ask questions for the other side to answer.
Our Client’s Fear
When my client reviewed the interrogatories, she reacted like a deer in headlights even after I told her what to expect. She needed help understanding how to answer an interrogatory to ensure she answered them correctly.
How Garmey Law Helped
After scheduling our call to review the interrogatories, I reminded my client that this was not a process where she had to do this alone. The way we approached the interrogatories was to read them over the phone or by Zoom, and she would ask me any question about what the interrogatory meant, and I would help her to understand it fully. Only after she fully understood it would she try and answer. Instead of typing the answer out, I told her to speak and tell me her answer. I typed out the answer as she told me every question. It took us about 60 minutes to answer the 25 questions, and I reviewed with her what all our objections would be to the questions as well so that she knew some of the things we would be fighting not to answer.
After we were done, she fully understood each question, knew how we had answered it or prepared to defend not answering it, and we had completed her task together. I told her we would send her a copy of the answers, so she could review them and confirm they were correct, and then she could sign it and send it back to us. This process of guiding clients through the interrogatory process makes a huge difference in their confidence and understanding of this essential step in litigation. Our clients, like this one, finish the process feeling good about their answers and feel supported.