On December 1, amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will take effect which are intended to change the culture of litigation.
According to a post on the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) blog, the new rules affect “judicial case management, disclosure, use of experts, and education for judges.”
From a culture perspective, the Federal Rules are intended to help lawyers and judges rethink their approach to litigation by taking into account the clients’ unique issues and needs, the need for cooperation between parties, and the objective of fairness for everyone.
Change is happening, [IAALS Executive Director Rebecca Love] Kourlis said, adding that rule reform, judicial case management, and culture change are necessary in tandem. “Rules set the expectations and can change the legal culture, but a good judge also plays a critical role in early case management and enforcement of those expectations.”
In particular, Rule 26(b)(1) governing discovery will require “proportionality.” Discovery is permitted if, inter alia, it is
proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.