Along with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure’s 2015 amendments came a reemphasis of an attorney’s duty of cooperation under Rule 1. This practice point provides practical tips as to how you can improve cooperation between counsel in your cases.
To encourage cooperation, many courts incorporate all or some of prominent Susman Godfrey litigator Stephen D. Susman’s “Susman Agreements” into their case-management orders. Susman Godfrey posts “Susman Agreements” for both pretrial and trial on its website, trialbyagreement.com and offers Word versions for attorneys to conveniently download to use in their own cases.
The Susman Agreements for pretrial comprise a dozen commonsense agreements that encourage cooperation, reduce costs, and head off common issues. Each of the Susman Agreements below links to Susman Godfrey’s full description as to why such an agreement should be reached, which is incredibly helpful knowledge for a young attorney attempting to negotiate with opposing counsel:
It is important to reach agreement on these types of issues early in the case before either party perceives a tactical advantage from refusing such a request. However, by incorporating all or even a few of these agreements into your Rule 26(f) conference with opposing counsel, you likely can reduce the amount of avoidable discord in your case, reduce discovery costs, and improve your standing with the court and opposing counsel.
Kathryn Honecker is with Rose Law Group pc in Phoenix, Arizona, and is a cochair of the Consumer Litigation Committee.