Case Management

Case management is part of every civil justice reform proposal afoot in the nation. It is mentioned at every conference and in every set of recommendations. Attorneys want a judge in charge of their case, from beginning to end: a judge who is knowledgeable, accessible, and engaged. 

But, here is the rub. The literature and experience on the ground all pointed to the importance of case management decades ago, yet it is still not the norm. How can we change the culture, pierce through the resistance, and put case management into practice everywhere? We need to recognize that case management is essential for judges, courts, attorneys, and—most importantly—the litigants. The idea of case management needs to be broadened, re-envisioned, and ultimately redefined for our rapidly evolving legal system. It needs to be refocused on the end user of our system.

Case management is and has for decades been recognized as an essential court function. But, it was practiced by some judges and not by others; and opposed by some attorneys, while others invited it. More recently, the concept has evolved and has achieved the prominent role it deserves in civil justice reform efforts. Yesterday’s management practices and principles are not sufficient for tomorrow’s courts and court users. These renewed conversations also highlight the degree to which there is considerable room for improvement, in terms of more broadly anchoring case management practices and perspectives in our courts and the practices of judges, court administrators and staff, and lawyers around the country.

It is clearly not enough to talk about case management. Everyone in the system has to be committed to doing it—and IAALS is contributing to this national conversation and making recommendations regarding successful case management practices.

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Civil rules reform and case management practices have come a long way since 2009 when IAALS published its original civil caseflow management...
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This report is the culmination of a joint project between IAALS and the American College of Trial Lawyers, which involved interviewing nearly 30...
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This Guide provides the tools for any interested federal judge to make a quick, initial assessment of the status of his or her civil case docket to...

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