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Trial By Agreement

At Susman Godfrey, we are trial lawyers. Quite naturally, this means we want to bring our matters to trial, and not simply litigate for its own sake. This means we try to avoid disputes with our adversaries wherever possible.

At the start of a case, we send a memo to opposing counsel seeking agreement to a number of protocols that we have found facilitate cooperation and reduce costs. We do our best to conduct all discovery by agreement. It is expensive to do otherwise. We rarely take discovery disputes to court. Judges hate them and usually give both sides less than they could get by agreement. Our rule is to take a discovery dispute to court only when the issue is outcome-determinative (recognizing that few are), and only when we have confidence that we can win.

We have developed a list of pretrial agreements and trial agreements that we propose to opposing counsel in every matter at the start of litigation, regardless whether we are representing the plaintiff or the defendant. These agreements streamline litigation and reduce costs for both sides. We share these agreements with everyone-even other lawyers who compete against us for business-because we believe a streamlined litigation process and jury trial benefits lawyers, clients, the courts and the public at large.

Trial by Agreement website