Why does your attorney want a peek at your diary? At Bethune Enright, we think it’s important for clients to keep diaries. Here’s why…
When you hear that word do you get the same picture in your head? A young girl, probably about ten years old, lying on her bed with her feet up in the air, scribbling away in this little book with a giant feathery pom-pom topped, glittery gel pen? Yup, there she is pouring her heart out onto those little pages. Spilling secrets about how in the cafeteria little Johnny smiled at her and now she is convinced that it means true love!
This is and isn’t the same diary that I am talking about here. If you’re the type of person that keeps a daily journal or diary then yeah, your attorney would love to see it. Only, the attorney is going to be much less interested in your recent run in with that hot barista yesterday and more interested in what kind of entries you have been keeping since your legal matters began.
Diaries and journals can be a great tool when trying to pinpoint dates or keep a timeline.
Diaries and journals can be a great tool when trying to pinpoint dates or keep a timeline. For hypothetical purposes, let’s say that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. That night you would write an entry (or maybe even start a new journal/diary for these purposes alone) about what happened during the accident. What you remember, who was at fault, if the police handed anyone a citation (if you witnessed it) and how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally. It is not uncommon to go to bed after a motor vehicle accident feeling one way and then waking up feeling worse. Our bodies get pumped full of adrenaline during times of stress and you may not realize that you have experienced some physical trauma until you have had some time to relax. Or perhaps you may be feeling physically okay but when you go to get into another car you notice that you’re experiencing some anxiety or fear about getting back on the road. All of these scenarios are common after a motor vehicle accident but it is important to document them.
When you visit a doctor, take notes! Write down what the doctor tells you and keep it. Put it into your journal/diary along with your daily entry. Take note of any medications or recommendations or referrals. Sometimes after we experience trauma it can be hard to pay attention or remember exactly what was said. Also be sure to take notes if you are talking with any party about your case, even your own attorney! Any communications you have with anyone about your case should be noted.
Any communications you have with anyone about your case should be noted.
Let’s say that you’re going through a divorce or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (custody modification), a journal/diary can be beneficial in keeping track of the day to day event with you and your children. You can use the entries to keep track of drop off/pick up events. Was everyone on time? Was it at the agreed upon location? Did the other parent cancel their opportunity to visit with the child(ren) altogether? Rather than calling your attorney every time there is a small event or change, keep track of it and make a list. That way when you review it with your attorney it is a more organized train of thought and will make it easier to communicate the specific issues with your attorney.
When you review [your notes] with your attorney it is a more organized train of thought and will make it easier to communicate the specific issues with your attorney.
If you have a real estate matter, perhaps a landlord/tenant issue a journal/diary can be a great way to keep track of the issues that you may be having as a landlord or as a tenant. As a landlord; If there is damage to the property or late rent payments. As a tenant; if you have made maintenance requests that have been neglected or your landlord is making false claims against you. Keep record of each event, conversation, emails and follow through in keeping track of what the end result is.
No matter the case type or issue, keeping a journal/diary during the case is always highly recommended. Even for extremely busy individuals, taking five minutes at the end of every day to keep track of things can be highly beneficial. Even in the event that the diary/journal isn’t submitted into evidence, the entries can still be used to support your case. It will give your attorney an opportunity to review all of the information and happenings during your case and allow them to make sure that they are representing you to the fullest extent. Your case is always in the right hands when you are helping your attorney help you.
Paralegal, San Antonio Office
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