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December 05, 2006

Slick Answers to Lazy Interrogatories.

Color me silly, but I love and respect written discovery during the pretrial process in American federal courts. Years ago, a fed-up U.S. district court judge, throwing up his hands during arguments by lawyers on a motion to compel discovery responses, referred to answers to interrogatories as "slick lawyer answers to lazy lawyer questions".

I feel his pain. Once a new second year associate who worked briefly for our firm (after one year at another firm) complained that we were putting too much thought into a set of interrogatories under Rule 33, Fed. R. Civ. P. Our new hire patiently explained to me that interrogatories and other written discovery were in fact "simply a way for lawyers to bill time so they could make money, and nothing more." He was adamant about it, too.

Nice guy, and I liked him--I always try to take his cab when I'm in Pittsburgh.

But complex and hard-fought civil cases really do turn about 90 per cent on the quality of the discovery questions and requests, including deposition questions, and the responses to them. And well-thought out and strategically-timed written discovery is the best way there is to prepare great depositions--and get ready for trial.

Posted by JD Hull at December 5, 2006 05:07 PM


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