Philosopher of Science Karl Popper once wrote: “Truth is not manifest; and it is not easy to come by.” Popper recognized that in the search for truth, there are many ways to get it wrong. He proposed a scientific approach of hypothesis and falsification, wherein with every error you gained a closer and closer approximation to the truth.
Truth in the law can be equally elusive. A legal theory is argued on facts, many based on witness observations that are subject to error. The problem is our senses sometimes fool us. That point is well-illustrated in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where Scrooge famously challenges the reality of Marley’s ghost: “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” It is often not easy to come by what really exists or occurred. The task is even more difficult when people are willing to lie to achieve some agenda. Or, even worse, when individuals are not even aware of their lack of fidelity for truth – believing something is true for no other reason than they are the ones saying it.
I often tell clients: “It’s not about what you know to be true. It’s about what you can prove.” At times your own testimony and credibility are enough, but supporting your case through additional evidence is always preferred. Any given fact of your case may seem obvious to you. But the law is not a place for the seemingly obvious. It is the place for evidence and proof. For corroboration of facts. It may also seem obvious the earth is not flat, but we benefit from accumulated knowledge. The shape of the earth is not obvious to the naked eye at ground level, which is why it took humanity so long to appreciate what now seems simple.
I like Popper because he believed Truth was a noble pursuit; but also because he understood finding it is not as easy as one may think. In our context, that means building a case, fact by fact, proof by proof, until you can convince the trier of fact your version of the truth is more likely correct. You must always be looking for ways to support your version of the facts if you want to achieve your desired result.