Duke University School of Law was the setting last week for a major two-day conference on civil litigation that brought together judges, lawyers and academics from throughout the United States. Sponsored by the federal judiciary’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, the purpose of the conference was to explore the current costs of civil litigation, particularly with regard to discovery, and to discuss possible solutions.
In a remarkable first for the federal judiciary, the entire conference was webcast live. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an archive of the webcast. I did find coverage of the conference from Leigh Jones, a reporter for The National Law Journal. Leigh filed these reports:
- Conference Attendees Seek Adjustments, Not Sweeping Change to Litigation Rules.
- Show Us the Love to Avoid Discovery Fights, Attorneys Urge.
Another NLJ reporter, Tony Mauro, wrote a piece in advance of the conference, Civil Litigation is Focus of Duke Conference.
At her blog Sound Evidence, Mary Mack, corporate technology counsel for Fios Inc., posted summaries of day one and day two of the conference, based on watching the live stream. Gabe Acevedo, author of the e-discovery blog, GabesGuide.com, also posted a comment on the conference at the blog Above the Law.
Mack writes that much of the second-day discussion focused on e-discovery (even when the topic was something else):
There was a consensus that preservation needs to be called out, triggers to preserve identified and a more clear safe harbor constructed (FRCP 37(e)). Other consensus items include the need for judicial management, quick rulings and education of the bench and bar. The Seventh Circuit pilot project was very well received, as were state innovations (including Oregon).
There is less consensus on fact pleading, early mandatory disclosures, separate sets of rules for complex cases and what kind of judicial management is desired (trier of fact or magistrate/ADR).
The conference Web site houses a wealth of supporting materials. In addition to containing the empirical research that formed the basis of many of the conference’s discussion topics, it also has the full text of the papers submitted by conference panelists.
If you attended the conference and wrote about it on a blog or elsewhere, let us know by adding a comment below.