The Bolch Judicial Institute held a conference in Washington, D.C., on June 20-21, 2019, to evaluate the 2015 Rule 26 Discovery-Proportionality amendments and progress toward implementing changes laid out in the amendments. Over 130 participants, including lawyers, academics, and 11 federal judges, attended and participated in discussions about how the amendments have affected litigation.
In late 2015, the Duke Judicial Studies Center (now Bolch Judicial Institute) published Guidelines and Best Practices for Implementing the 2015 Discovery Amendments to Achieve Proportionality to provide guidance on adapting to the changes in rules governing discovery practices and to track related case law. The June 20-21 conference was designed to evaluate the impact of the Rule 26 amendments over the past three years and to recommend any revisions or additions to the Guidelines and Best Practices document.
The conference also examined extensive data from surveys of hundreds of lawyers and judges; comments from people who participated in a series of bench-bar meetings focused on the amendments; and discovery-cost analyses specially developed and compiled for this conference. The data built on work conducted by the Bolch Judicial Institute and the ABA Section of Litigation, initiated in 2015 when the two organizations jointly sponsored seminars on the amendments in courthouses in 17 different cities within seven months. That collaboration grew to involve members of other national bar organizations, including the American Association of Justice, Defense Research Institute, Lawyers for Civil Justice, American Antitrust Institute, National Employment Lawyers Association, and American College of Trial Lawyers, who responded to surveys.
The conference materials, including survey results, discovery cost data, and federal caseload statistics, are now publicly available and can be accessed on our website.