May 20, 2015 Articles

A Young Lawyer's Perspective on Upcoming Changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Upcoming changes narrow the scope of discovery and allow sanctions for certain failures to preserve electronically stored information

by Amber Davis-Tanner

Most young lawyers put a great deal of effort into drafting requests, responses, objections, meet-and-confer letters, and motions to compel. Discovery often is the most time-consuming and contentious aspect of litigation. In 2010, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure met at the Duke University School of Law to develop strategies to "improv[e] the disposition of civil cases by reducing the costs and delays in civil litigation . . . and furthering the goals of Rule 1 'to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.'" Summary of the Report of the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure 13 (Sept. 2014) [hereinafter Committee Report].

The committee decided to do this by promoting "cooperation, proportionality, and active judicial case management." Committee Report, supra, at B-2. To further those goals, the committee proposed some major changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The proposed changes to Rules 26 and 37 are especially significant to young lawyers practicing commercial and business litigation.

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