University of Denver

New Report Establishes Principles for Improving the U.S. Civil Justice System

Judicature, Vol. 93, No. 3, p. 121
Founding Executive Director
Professor of Law, New England Law | Boston
Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Last year, we reported on the results of a survey of Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), conducted by IAALS and the ACTL Task Force on Discovery. The survey collected the opinions of nearly 1500 experienced litigators, representing both plaintiffs and defendants, on a wide range of issues concerning the civil justice system and the pretrial process. The survey found that large-often overwhelming-majorities of those responding were concerned about the cost of litigation, discovery abuse on both sides of a case, and the costs of electronic discovery. Survey respondents also indicated that active judicial management helps to shape and narrow the issues in a case, but that notice pleading does not. Comments to a series of open-ended questions in the survey underscored the respondents' general frustration with inefficiencies in the system.

The survey results provided a starting point for a broader discussion about the need for reform of the civil justice process. In March 2009, IAALS and the Task Force released a final report that proposed a set of principles for future civil justice reform.