In one of my recent blog posts “Become a Discovery Ninja” I set out my workflow for responding to discovery requests. The most important rule of my workflow is to respond to the discovery requests within 48 hours of receiving them. I’ve had several attorneys ask me how I can do this so quickly in light of most attorneys’ hectic schedules, including being in trial, responding to ex parte motions (or regular motions for that matter), responding to motions for summary judgment, morning appearances, etc.
It is my belief that 95 percent of the time trial attorneys can meet (and likely exceed) the 48-hour response rule. Keep in mind I do not believe there are any shortcuts to learning the facts and law of a particular case. Of course as plaintiff attorneys we usually have plenty of time to research and evaluate a case before engaging with a client. The evaluation period is the perfect time to learn the facts, witnesses, and documents (or things) pertaining to your potential new case. Learning the facts, witnesses, and reviewing pertinent documents always takes time and effort—and then some more time and effort. But once you have the facts down, and understand the application of those facts to law, responding to discovery should be straightforward. Okay, now to an application that can help you quickly respond to discovery.
I use TextExpander for many things in my practice—including responding to discovery. (TextExpander can only be used with Macs, but there are other applications available for PC users such as Breevey or Snippet Bin that function similarly to TextExpander).
For discovery responses I have two groups of “snippets”, namely Discovery Objections and Discovery Responses. As you can see in screen shot above there is a file for "Discovery Responses" and a file for "Discovery Objections". I've selected "Discovery Objections" for the screen shot to show a few of my objection snippets.
I have over 60 objection “snippets”, including attorney-client privilege, work product doctrine, calls for expert’s opinion from a lay person, equally available to propounding party, etc. For each one of these objections I have a snippet that can be used to respond to Document Demands, Form and Special Interrogatories, and Requests for Admissions.
For example, if the defense attorney requests that my client provide an expert opinion in special interrogatories I simply type "ROG ExpOp" into my word procesor for that special interrogatory response. TextExpander immediately inserts the objection. You can see the text that is inserted below in the screen shot.
You can insert this objection each time you come to a question asking your client to provide an expert opinion. I simply re-type "ROG ExpOp" and my snippet is immediately inserted each time. As you can see from the screen shot above I also have objections for work product, right to privacy of financial records, collateral source (not sure how good this objection is after Howell), asked and answered, etc.
Before TextExpander I used to cut and paste from a template of objections. While this works, in my experience it takes much longer and it is easy to get lost in a large response file.
As you can imagine, using TextExpander speeds the process up for responding to written discovery. Give it a try in your next discovery response.