Let’s get into the fascinating world of discovery.
I remember my initial experience of the term like it was yesterday. During my early years in private law practice I assisted the seasoned attorneys with discovery. It sounded beyond exciting, as if we’d be tackling fast-paced scientific exploration, investigating stem cell research, or doing something even more monumental. Of course, reality is far from that notion and most often it's not nearly so riveting.
Back in the day we toiled away in conference rooms, surrounded by countless boxes of hard copies. Today, much of this is handled digitally. Either way though, it’s an exhaustive exercise and a slow and steady haul.
Discovery in connection with commercial litigation begins with extracting any and all information from the opposing party, and sometimes from third parties too. It’s about blocking and tackling, requesting information, and asking plenty of questions. When information is not forthcoming, questions are not answered, or materials and answers lead to a need for more information, then we follow up.
We get more answers to more questions and step by step, the discovery process goes on.
We then switch to the essential task of document review, carefully looking over each and every answer to every question posed. Any and all information produced in response to our requests is evaluated with an eye toward finding the needle in the haystack––proof needed to establish important points in connection with the case.
Does that sound fascinating? Scintillating, perhaps? More often than not, it’s neither. But it is an essential step that’s critically important to the outcome of any case.
It’s only after reviewing vast amounts of information that the client's claim and case come into full focus. Only then can the proof of critical points be unearthed. Really, there are no shortcuts to an effective discovery in commercial litigation.