Archive for the ‘Litigation Strategy’ Category

The only two goals of responding to discovery

There are common bad practices of responding to discovery. One often sees responses that are incomplete and only partially respond to the request. The rules of civil procedure are quite explicit that an “incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.” Such incomplete responses subject the responder to a motion to compel, […]

Materials from preparing for family court temporary hearing lecture

The following is the outline for a presentation Elizabeth Stringer, Karen Fine, and I presented at the Charleston School of Law on January 12, 2018.  Links to word drafts of the materials follow. Temporary relief SCRFC 21 Substantive relief one is seeking at the conclusion of a case that is sought prior to trial Can […]

What’s the question(s) you fear the most?

A colleague, after watching a recent presentation I did on trial preparation, emailed me his appreciation. Part of his comment, “My favorite nugget: ask my client what question does he dread being asked on the stand.” That idea was indeed a “nugget” in my presentation–something I mentioned briefly without elaborating. In my own trial preparation […]

The time to start thinking about trial is when you start the case

Prospective domestic relations clients often begin their search process by determining whether they want a “negotiator” or a “litigator.” If they hope to resolve the case amicably, they search for a negotiator; if they want “victory”–whatever they perceive as victory–they seek a litigator. Such potential clients frequently ask me a variation of the question: am […]

How automatic discovery has changed my family law practice

It’s been six months since the South Carolina Supreme Court mandated automatic discovery in family court. I didn’t expect this rule change to change my practice. It has. As I’ve noted before, serving discovery can be a way of showing the opposing party that one is serious about the litigation and that one has given […]

What you think, what you know, and what you can prove

One goes into a hearing or trial trying to establish various facts that will hopefully lead the court to rule in the desired manner. However the court is looking for “proof” of these facts. Merely alleging these facts exist is insufficient to convince a factfinder. One might think of three confidence levels in evidence: thinking […]

Falling into the tiger pit of prior consistent statements

About a decade ago I represented a pre-teen girl in a DSS abuse and neglect case in which she alleged her stepfather had sexually abused her. DSS became involved after she reported the abuse to a school counselor. At a pre-trial hearing, in an attempt to get the matter dismissed, the stepfather’s attorney had noted […]

Best methods for equalizing physical custody

There are some custody cases that will only settle if both parties get equal time with the child(ren). Thus a sizable subset of custody cases settle with both parties getting at least 180 overnights a year. There are numerous ways one could theoretically create such a custody schedule but many of them are, frankly, stupid. […]


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