Preliminary investigation: A summary of Sidebar so far

Stuff the head
With all such reading as was never read:
For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it,
And write about it, Goddess, and about it. – Alexander Pope, The Dunciad

Well, OK! As your Goddess, I’ve brought you this far in your potential lawsuit. Before I continue, let’s catch up with what we’ve covered. You’ve:

  • Considered personal and political reasons for suing, as a philo- and psychological exercise.
  • Heard about many other people who have sued and learned why they sued.
  • Also heard about some people who were not suitable plaintiffs.
  • Done a little self-analysis leading to the determination that you are a suitable plaintiff.
  • Grasped Benny South Street’s War Chest theory of developing a small lawsuit fund. (And learned how to hijack trucks but never mind that.)
  • Read about current lawsuits in newspapers and have formed opinions of their worthiness, and have made up some initial research files:
    • Lawsuits/Lawyers into which you’ve put clippings about cases, and information about lawyers about whom you’ve developed a good opinion.
    • Reporters who’ve written well on lawsuits that interest you.
  • Have learned more than necessary about Greenwich Village co-ops and my lawsuit.
  • Have learned from mistakes I made:
    • Always read thoroughly any legal documents you sign and make sure you understand them;
    • Why legal documents are such lousy reads;
    • Don’t go into business or partnership with someone whose background, character and finances you haven’t thoroughly checked out. If there are obstacles that appear in your attempts to investigate the character of a potential partner, don’t be afraid to say “no.” Loudly.
  • Have learned a little bit about snooping, i.e., using cool tech to gather information.
  • Have made a record of your potential lawsuit by:
    • Compiling the information and documents you’ve acquired;
    • Understanding and writing a time line;
    • Organizing your case files.
    • Gathering your friends as a support system.
  • Investigated types of lawsuits.
  • Learned enough about statutes of limitations to:
    • File a Notice of Claim against your city, if your lawsuit might name your city as a defendant;
    • File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if your lawsuit will be against your employer and will involve EEOC issues.
  • Joined me in my first meeting with a lawyer I retained to file a personal injury lawsuit and:
    • Read through the bad and excellent legal retainer agreements I printed, along with my annotations; and
    • Learned about a lawyer’s costs and expenses, i.e., how he will charge you for the work he’ll do.
    • Learned why the lawyer said certain things, i.e., what was going on in the lawyer’s mind at that initial meeting.
    • Learned why a lawyer might say you don’t have a case and how to evaluate this unwelcome statement.
    • Found out about problems you might have communicating with a lawyer because many lawyers have problems communicating with their clients.
  • Found out how to investigate what a lawsuit might be worth to you.

I’ve also dipped my toe (and yours, if you joined me at the pool) into what it’s like going to court and how not to eat while attending depositions.

So now we’re ready to do a little further gumshoeing. Then we’ll talk about finding you a lawyer.

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