Chapter 6: Pretrial and Trial Practice

Updated 2010

Without intending to be comprehensive, this chapter discusses a variety of procedural issues related to litigation and trial practice, roughly in the chronology of litigation. First,  the chapter deals with conferences and scheduling, with particular attention to the role of magistrate judges.  Second, the chapter reviews informal and formal methods of discovery, including mandatory initial disclosures and conferences involving discovery issues. Mechanics, strategy, and practice pointers are included.

Third, the chapter delves into motions practice, including motions for emergency relief and for summary judgment, which should be of particular interest to legal aid attorneys. Fourth, the rise and use of mandatory or encouraged alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures are covered and practical advice on the use of ADR and crafting litigation to make subsequent use of ADR more successful is included. Finally, the chapter discusses both trial and appellate practice.

Updated 2010