Justice Scalia on Using Public Records to Prepare for a Court Case

In their recent book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and attorney Bryan A. Garner advise that in preparing for a trial, conducting public records research on its participants can be invaluable to winning the case. As Justice Scalia says "a good lawyer tries to learn as much as possible about the judge who will decide the case." To learn more about what affects a judge's opinion, one can review a judge's previous court rulings, articles they have authored and speeches they have given. Reviewing old newspaper articles would provide insight into statements the judges have made and cases they have worked on. Justice Scalia also suggests learning more about a judge's background, such as career history, education, hobbies and personal quirks. Much of this information can be located with some basic online background searches.

Justice Scalia further emphasizes the importance of knowing your case and your opponents. While this may seem obvious, potentially missing something in your case or being unprepared for the opposing argument could lead to failure. Public records can provide a new level of understanding to a case, so basic background, property and litigation search should be completed for all parties involved.