Paul Luvera offers on his blog a good checklist (sorry, link now broken) for preparing a case for trial.
Paul points out that checklists – seemly obvious things that have probably been around since man was carving into stone – have received renewed interest in other fields, most notably in medicine where some studies have shown that being a slave to the checklist is in some cases better than the doctor using their own judgment.
If this is even occasionally true, it is pretty humbling for a professional, particularly a doctor. Accepting that you need reminders of the obvious does not stimulate the ego. But I think most errors that result in medical malpractice or legal malpractice are not because the doctor or lawyer did not have the skill to avoid the mistake but because they didn’t make proper use of what they already knew. Proper use of checklists can help fill that gap.
Besides the humility required to implement them, checklists get a bad rap because of how often people mindlessly check off items without consideration as to whether the item has been properly completed or they work just to check off the list without consideration of the big picture. But there is no system that is going to be able to withstand user neglect.