On November 9-10, 2017, IAALS hosted a convening at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a small group of judges, attorneys, and scholars from around the country focused on the current challenges of summary judgment and dispositive motions practice, and solutions designed to decrease cost and delay. 

At IAALS, we have centered much of our work in civil justice reform in the area of discovery, which, apart from trials (in the rare instances in which they occur), is the most costly aspect of litigation. Significant strides have been made to improve discovery, and we continue our efforts there. At the same time, we have heard the call for reform in the area of motions practice, which can similarly result in great cost and delay to the parties. These challenges exist at the state and federal level, although both the challenges and the solutions may be unique.

The goals of IAALS’ convening were to identify the challenges related to summary judgment and dispositive motions, as well as brainstorm practical solutions that can be employed by the parties and the court. The discussion was informed by early insights from a federal PACER docket study that IAALS is conducting, which will provide background on current summary judgment processes as well as insights regarding innovations already in place around the country.

The convening is part of our DIAALOGUES series of groundbreaking national conversations designed to bring together the best minds in the country to forge solutions to the most pressing issues facing the American legal system.