How to Train Your Attorney – Tip 1: The Informal Discovery Conference
Litigation is expensive. Discovery and discovery battles, i.e., motions to compel and the meet and confer process, can exponentially increase the overall cost to the client. Smart clients stay closely connected to the entire process and proactively manage their own attorneys. When developing litigation management guidelines and budgets with your attorney, ask whether your jurisdiction has an informal discovery dispute resolution process (e.g., Los Angeles Superior Court’s program). Even if your jurisdiction doesn’t, many judges may be open to providing their own informal process. You can also gain significant advantages if the other side refuses to stipulate to the process, because a judge will be much more likely to grant sanctions to a party that refused to partake in the informal process. This is clearly a win-win strategy from a client’s perspective, and can result in significant cost savings. And while you are at it, don’t forget to discuss an early settlement strategy, which can avoid the discovery abyss altogether.