Meribeth Banaschik, author of “Hitting the Bullseye with Precision, Recall and Proportionality: A Lawyer’s Perspective,” brought great insight to the Chronicle’s editorial team from the recent Managing Risk and Mitigating Litigation Conference in London. Meribeth shared that the primary pain points for the ensuing discussions were the 2015 changes to the Federal Rules for Civil Procedure (FRCP).
Comparing the FRCP changes to dueling practices in the late 19th century, the “2015 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary,” caught Meribeth’s eye as a helpful summary of those changes and an explanation of how best to employ them.
While in some cases the changes to the FRCP seem minimal, the report explains their necessity for redressing the ills of civil litigation, which in “many cases . . . has become too expensive, time consuming, and contentious, inhibiting effective access to the courts.” To that end, the report cites four needed reforms unearthed by a 2010 symposium on civil litigation held by the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, the body charged with drafting and amending the FRCP: to “(1) encourage greater cooperation among counsel; (2) focus discovery—the process of obtaining information within the control of the opposing party—on what is truly necessary to resolve the case; (3) engage judges in early and active case management; and (4) address serious new problems associated with vast amounts of electronically stored information.”
The report uses the changes made to Rule 1 to demonstrate the necessity of the amendments. Highlighting that a “mere eight words” were changed in Rule 1, the report asserts that the potential impact of that seemingly minor change is significant.
Rule 1 now states that the FRCP “should be construed, administered, and employed by the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”
By obligating lawyers and judges to cooperate, the 2015 FRCP changes encourage the swift and just settlement of legal matters, mitigating the overall cost of legal matters and of eDiscovery as well.
Have we piqued your interest in the 2015 FRCP changes? Click here to read the full report.