Federal Rules Changes Reflect Focus on Cooperation

The call for cooperation in legal disputes is on its way to being enshrined within the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in a more meaningful way. Several years ago, the Sedona Conference®'s Cooperation Proclamation called for greater cooperation between litigants in dealing with discovery matters; to date, it has received more than 150 endorsements from courts around the country. The idea calls for attorneys not to compromise their duty to be zealous advocates, but to strive for balance with their other duty as an officer of the court.

"It means fighting only those battles that really matter and doing so in a reasonable way. . . . Cooperation is valuable not only for resolving disputes, but avoiding them in the first place. It reduces risk, expense, and inefficiency in litigation." – Bloomberg BNA

The proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure reflect this trend toward cooperation. The proposed amendments to Rule 1  would make litigants, in addition to the court, responsibly for the “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” The Committee Notes recognize the importance of a “cooperative and proportional use of procedure,” a theme that is reflected throughout the proposed amendments related to discovery as well.

Riley Combelic is a third-year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and contributes to IAALS Online. Please direct inquiries about this post to iaals@du.edu.