July 01, 2014

The Judge, the Special Master, and You

With the court system stretched thin, more judges are appointing special masters. We explain how to work with them and how they may help you.

David R. Cohen

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You did not see this curveball coming.

Until now, the court’s case management conference was fairly routine. You and opposing counsel agreed on some points and argued over others. You were prepared to address the issues that arose, including some highly contentious ones. The judge was fair, meaning each side won and lost its share.

But then, the curveball.

“Given how things stand,” the judge says, “I’m thinking of appointing a special master. It seems appropriate, in the circumstances of this case.”

The judge pauses and turns to face you. “I’d prefer to have your consent, although I’m not sure I need it. Counsel, what is your position?”

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