The Most Cost Effective Way to Conduct Discovery

Mark Warner
February 14, 2011 — 1,824 views  
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A careful analysis of your discovery needs and available discovery tools can protect your client against undue expense. First decide what you hope to achieve through discovery: Do you want to push the case to trial, or are you simply trying to force a settlement? How you answer that question will determine the scope and thrust of your discovery. Also carefully analyze your information requirements. What type of information do you need from the other side? Are there sources of that information other than your opposition? How much will it cost to get the information?

The most obvious way to minimize the cost of collecting information is to draw upon sources that offer no resistance, such as your client, readily accessible files of government agencies, or publications from business groups and trade associations. When these sources of information have been exhausted, you can still protect your client against excessive costs by selecting your discovery tools carefully.

When properly used, carefully honed interrogatories can be a relatively inexpensive method of significantly advancing your information development. For instance, interrogatories are usually the ideal discovery tool in cases involving accounting data, complicated damages, technical information, or statistical data. By contrast, many hours can be wasted in a deposition attempting to obtain such material. As well, interrogatories are important for discovering the identity of experts the other party intends to call at trial, the subject of the expert's testimony, and the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert will testify.

Effective interrogatories must be carefully drafted. You can achieve clarity and precision by preceding the interrogatories with a carefully drafted set of definitions and instructions. You may also wish to issue several sets of interrogatories, with each set limited to specified areas of inquiry. Be careful though, because interrogatories can be counterproductive and sometimes even harmful to your position. For example, if you have substantial knowledge of the facts of the case, you must consider whether interrogatories that go to the merits might be of more benefit to your opponent than to you.

The request for production of documents is a second low-cost discovery tool that can yield high dividends. In complex cases, requests for document production are often the starting point for discovery. These requests can be used in conjunction with interrogatories to obtain all the important documents for your case.

Finally, requests for admissions can be used to obtain valuable information from the other side. This discovery tool allows an attorney to garner admissions of fact and identity from the opposing party without having to take depositions or draft long interrogatories. Again, carefully draft Requests for Admission to achieve the quick result you are looking for.

In sum, it is best to obtain legal documents through informal exchange between lawyers. This, in the long run, will save your clients the most time and money. When it is not possible to obtain documents through informal exchange, carefully drafted interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests for admissions are useful tools to obtain necessary information in a relatively cost effective way.
Author Resource:- Mark Warner is a Legal Research Analyst for RealDealDocs gives you insider access to millions of legal documents online drafted by the top law firms in the US that you can download, edit and print. Search For Free at
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