I had a huge, amazing, delightful break through on an investigation today.
There is just absolutely no substitute for a fantastic investigation. I cannot understand attorneys who don't get out there in the field and do their own investigations. Now, maybe if I had a truly fantastic investigator, it'd be easy to just hand my cases off. But, instead, I perform many of my own investigations, either with other attorneys or with my amazing summer intern. (And if there's any chance a case is actually going to trial, I definitely have to get out there myself.)
I feel like I have such a greater understanding of my cases just by visiting the scene, visiting the scene, and visiting the scene again. There's just so much that can be acheived by seeing something in person and speaking to people in person.
Just as an example, I've had a very serious case pending for quite some time. It's scheduled for just after the holiday weekend and I still could not find the complainant. My investigator and I tried every technological means possible. We visited the scene, we visited his friends, we visited his enemies, we visited the scene again. It was like he was a ghost.
Finally, tonight, we went back and retraced the route again: visited the scene, spoke to his friends, spoke to his enemies. We saw one witness we had spoken to before and asked, "Hi! Remember us?" He kissed my hand, offered us coffee, and... finally... introduced us to the complainant.
I spoke to the complainant for all of two minutes when he said, "I'm not going to come to court. Tell your client I forgive him, I just want to get on with my life."
I could have had the best investigator in the world tell me "No, he's not coming to court," and, as much as I would have wanted to believe it, I wouldn't have known for sure.
But having seen it for myself, I know that I can relax this weekend.
Happy 4th of July.