March 01, 2015

From the Bench: Rulemaking

Changing the culture of discovery, early judicial case management, and other ways to improve litigation.

Hon. John G. Koetl

The more you know about rulemaking, the more appealing it is. I recently completed seven years serving as a member of the Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. It was a privilege and an exhilarating experience. Exhilaration is not the emotion you normally associate with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. But for those involved in the rulemaking process, the Rules are a means to implement the goals of Rule 1: “the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” Furthering those goals on a national scale enhances the fairness and accessibility of the system for all litigants. Participating in that process is very satisfying in the same way that public service is a gratifying experience.

A significant part of the joy came from my involvement with the Duke Conference on Civil Litigation in May 2010, which studied the issues of expense and delay in civil litigation. I also took part in formulating proposed amendments to the Federal Rules in response to the conference. Those amendments have now been transmitted to the Supreme Court. But before turning to them, some background on the committee is important.

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