University of Denver

Reinvigorating Pleadings

Denver University Law Review, Vol. 87, No. 2, p. 245
Founding Executive Director
Professor of Law, New England Law | Boston
Director of Special Projects

Pleadings are the gateway to the American civil justice system. When properly drafted, they frame the issues to be resolved and open the door to the procedures that make complete and effective dispute resolution possible. To fulfill their potential, however, pleadings must provide litigants with two types of access: the ability to get into court in the first place, and the ability to participate meaningfully in the process until a complete judicial resolution is reached.

Getting in the courthouse door is a necessary step, but it is not sufficient; parties must be able to afford to stay in the system long enough to narrow their disputed issues and collect relevant evidence for presentation to a judge or jury.