Evaluating 2015 Rule 26 Discovery-Proportionality Amendments and Bolch-Duke Guidelines and Best Practices

Hosted By: Duke Law Bolch Judicial Institute

Join Fenwick's Laurence Pulgram and the Duke Law Bolch Judicial Institute for a Distinguished Lawyers conference on Evaluating the 2015 Rule 26 Discovery-Proportionality Amendments and Bolch-Duke Guidelines and Best Practices in Washington, DC, on June 20-21, 2019.

In his 2015 end-of-the-year report, Chief Justice Roberts asserted that: “The [2015] amendments may not look like a big deal at first glance, but they are.” In late 2015, the Duke Judicial Studies Center (now Bolch Judicial Institute) developed Guidelines and Best Practices Implementing the Rule 26 Amendments. The purpose of the June 20-21 conference is to: (1) evaluate the effect of the Rule 26 amendments; and (2) recommend any revisions or additions to the Guidelines and Best Practices.

The conference will examine extensive data from three separate surveys of hundreds of lawyers and judges, three special-focus, bench-bar meetings, and specific discovery-cost analyses specially developed and compiled for this conference. The data builds on work between the Bolch Judicial Institute and the ABA Section of Litigation, initiated in 2015 when the two jointly held seminars on the amendments in courthouses in 17 different cities within seven months. That collaboration grew to include other national bar organizations, including the American Association of Justice, Defense Research Institute, Lawyers for Civil Justice, American Antitrust Institute, National Employment Lawyers Association, and American College of Trial Lawyers, who responded to surveys.

Discovery continues to play a major role in civil litigation. Keeping costs reasonable while at the same time ensuring fairness requires constant attention and recalibration. No firm conclusions about the 2015 amendments can be reached after three and one-half years. Nonetheless, this conference will examine trends, identify emerging problems, promote good practices, and assess whether any real progress has been made in response to the Chief Justice’s challenge that we “not miss the opportunity to help ensure that federal court litigation does not degenerate into wasteful clashes over matters that have little to do with achieving a just result.”

Fenwick's Laurence Pulgram will speak on June 20, 2019 on the panel "Evaluating Specific Amendment Provisions: Lawyer Cooperation, Pre-Motion Conferences, Live Rule 16 Conferences, Early Rule 34 Production Requests, and Narrowing Initial Discovery Requests."


  • Judge Paul Grimm
  • Judge George Hanks
  • Joshua Friedman
  • Laurence Pulgram

If you are interested in attending, please send a brief description of your litigation discovery experience (a minimum of seven years’ discovery experience is required) and reasons for attending the conference to judicialstudies@law.duke.edu.​​​​​​​​


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