Information wins: why an integrated approach to intelligence and forensics is a smart move for litigators

Magnus Boyd 21 Oct 2020

The key to a successful litigation outcome is simple: it all comes down to information. As a litigator, the ability to gather more, and better-quality, information than your opponent can make all the difference between winning and losing a case. With litigation being a fact of corporate life, and unlikely to be going anywhere for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to look for ways to litigate smarter. This means gathering the most useful information and getting specialist advice in real-time throughout the process.

The differentiating factor

Good quality information helps litigators anticipate problems and find solutions. The question is, how to do this. Information in the right hands can reveal – but it can also overwhelm and confuse if not approached with the right techniques.

The answer can be found in good Litigation Support. When done thoroughly, this covers far more than the trial itself – it’s a variety of services that protect and support the process, from issuing a claim, all the way to the courtroom. Great litigation support includes forensics, intelligence and corporate communications insight – giving litigators targeted data to build the best case possible.

What do you need to know?

Every case is different, and it’s not just a question of size that determines what support is necessary – it’s what is at stake. Determining the nature of that support – the information that will make the difference your case needs – requires a nuanced approach.

A good place to start is your opponent’s mindset and background. Investigating this at the start of a case gives you invaluable insight into the other side’s capabilities and potential strategy – as well as highlighting any vulnerabilities of your own.

Then there’s the issue of security. It might be that your opponent will seek to gather information about you unlawfully. One issue we have witnessed from time to time is opponents obtaining information from inside our clients’ organisation – either by hacking or surveillance. Having a cyber-specialist on hand can pay dividends. Penetration and vulnerability testing conducted before litigation begins is a great way of ensuring such issues never arise.

If a case is likely to spark public and media interest, it’s advisable to keep this in mind when drafting a Case Summary. The Pleading as a legal document can be hard to penetrate – but making the case easy to digest for a hurried journalist can make a big difference in reporting and how the case is perceived by the public. Having someone advise on this through a non-legal lens is always worth doing.

While this may sound simple, covering all bases and gathering information as you need it is time consuming work – time that litigators need to build the case. To really make a difference, you need specialist expertise providing support on a daily basis as the case develops. Between them this team will help:

1. defend against dirty tricks
2. uncover and secure crucial evidence
3. protect your client from trial by media

It’s also vital to work with people who have an in-depth knowledge of the requirements of a litigator – working quickly and transparently.

Win first, then go to court

Success at trial is never a certainty, but rigorous and exhaustive preparation is vital in gaining the upper hand. With the potential to save a significant amount of time, as well as ensuring that the groundwork is in place for the best possible outcome in your case, investing in Litigation Support could give you the winning advantage before you’ve even set foot in court.