Discovery is an essential aspect of civil litigation. It is the primary way a party may gather evidence for the case. In discovery, a party determines the merit of their—and equally important, their opponent’s—case. Each decision made during discovery will determine what evidence you will have available to you, what evidence you will be forced to provide, and how much this exploration will cost your client.
This simulation course, taught around a hypothetical but realistic civil litigation, is designed to be a hands-on introduction to civil discovery in federal courts. Students will become familiar with topics important to modern civil discovery in large complex cases, such as negotiating the scope of discovery and electronic search terms. They will also learn to use the traditional methods of civil discovery, such as depositions, interrogatories, requests for admissions, and requests for document productions in a coordinated way to build their case. Students will follow the litigation from just after the denial of a motion to dismiss through the end of fact discovery.
The class will be divided into two groups. One group will be assigned to represent the plaintiff in the hypothetical litigation; the other group will be assigned to represent the defendant. Student plaintiffs and student defendants will be paired against each other. Assignments to each group will remain the same throughout the semester. Every week, students will be asked to produce written work (e.g., a discovery plan, requests for document production, interrogatories, deposition outlines) and several students will be chosen to present their work product for class discussion. Students will not only discuss relevant legal decisions in motion practice but also argue discovery motions on behalf of their hypothetical clients.
Through the hypothetical litigation, students will explore the practical application of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and acquire realistic insight into modern civil practice and the life-cycle of a case.