When I was a young lawyer learning how to try cases, s senior partner would always tell me: start every case by developing a chronology. What he meant was you can always better understand the case and see things you might otherwise miss if you look at the timing of the underlying facts.
My mentor’s advice was sound, at least in simple cases. The problem was that, especially in complicated cases, the chronology or timeline–which in those days was always done on paper—quickly became so long and complicated. As the case progressed, it tended to collapse of its own weight. To make it usable, you had to either put everything on the timeline or risk putting too little on it. Either way, you risked making it incomprehensible or irrelevant. Trying to use it in the courtroom (or anyplace else for that matter) was difficult. As a result, I gradually moved away from and forgot about the value of timelines.