By David L. Duff of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in About the Law on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
In virtually every form of litigation, from divorce and other family law matters; to a personal injury action; to a contract dispute; or, to a claim for legal malpractice, you can always count on having to participate in the process known as “Discovery.” This will most often take the form of having to answer written questions, known as “Interrogatories;” and, having to produce documents sought through a “Request for Production of Documents.” These will no doubt be extremely time-consuming; invasive of your privacy; and, oftentimes, seemingly irrelevant to the true matter at issue in the litigation. The “Discovery” process can also be quite expensive in terms of attorneys fees; however, here are a few helpful hints designed to minimize the fees that you will incur in traversing the “discovery” minefield:
- Stop Complaining . . . The discovery procedures are expressly allowed by the Virginia Rules of Court, and are liberally construed and enforced by the court. Therefore, it truly does no good to complain about the process, and will only cost you unnecessary attorneys fees;
- Be Prompt . . . Although responding to discovery can be a daunting, and somewhat overwhelming process, you simply must find available time to answer the interrogatories, and produce the requested documents. You are only given 21 days to accomplish this, and delaying the process will inevitably cost you additional fees;
- Be Proactive . . . Even before formal discovery pleadings are submitted by the other side, you probably have a pretty good idea of what documents are likely to be important. Don’t wait until they are formally requested, begin to accumulate them NOW – and save on fees later;
- Be Thorough . . . Answering each interrogatory completely, including any sub-parts; and, producing all documents that are requested, will avoid having to later amend or supplement your discovery responses – which in turn avoids additional charges to you; and
- Work with a Paralegal/Legal Assistant . . . Many attorneys have a paralegal, or a legal assistant, who is tasked with dealing with discovery matters. Whenever possible, try to work directly with these individuals, and avoid involving your attorney, as their billing rates will be significantly lower than your lawyer’s rate.
These are a few suggestions to assist you in getting through the discovery process as efficiently, and inexpensively, as possible. If you find yourself in a legal situation, and require assistance, call one of the attorneys at Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt P.C. for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. (703) 591-7475.