Project Starting up Now
Executive Sponsor: TBD
The concept of a "meet and confer" process is designed to avoid poor outcomes, such as avoidable expense, litigation about non-merits issues, or adjudication based on incomplete facts. The rules do not state a minimum standard of what issues need to be addressed in the 26(f) conference. Too often, there is an imbalance in technical sophistication of the parties and/or tribunal, or no meeting of the minds in terms of how adversarial the discovery negotiation process should be. As a result, the mandatory meet and confer can hinder, rather than expedite, the just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution of a matter.
In cases where the parties and tribunal lack necessary technical sophistication, the meet and confer can be a perfunctory check list item where the participants' failure to anticipate foreseeable issues and how to resolve them leads to expensive judicial intervention. In other cases where one party has much greater relative sophistication, inequitable outcomes can result that have no connection to a case's merits simply because one party has shrewdly exploited technicalities. In either scenario, agreements can be reached that are either unworkable or that miss the real discovery issues the conference is expected to address, to the detriment of the litigants and general perceptions of justice.
Every case is different, and even sophisticated counsel cannot continue to assume that their standard production formats or protocols will work effectively in every case or over the entire time span of a complex matter. Issues, law, facts, and even technological capabilities may change over the life of the case. Problems and solutions may be very technical or high-level and legal.
A template that addresses baseline issues can set the stage for a robust, easy to navigate set of protocols for virtually every case. Our challenge is to spot foreseeable issues sounding in technical, legal, procedural, and logistical areas, and recommend objective protocols and solutions for handling them; or discussing which best practices to utilize to handle these issue with a minimum of expense and burden to any party.
Some areas of focus for setting deliverables practice standards may include:
Templates with clear guidelines for use which allow legal professionals of varying technical knowledge to actively and more effectively participate in the meet & confer process when negotiating deliverables standards.
This project will develop the initial framework and templates, and a reasonable set of generally accepted deliverables standards rather than an exhaustive set. We will also develop a process for developing and vetting additional standards as they may become needed in the future. The initial framework and standards will be limited to those applicable in the US legal system and will not address standards that may be applicable in other international jurisdictions.
If you would like to work on this project, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your interest and expertise. We look forward to hearing from you.