We estimate 60% of all cases settle in the First Stage of litigation.
When your case is at a standstill – negotiations have stalled, for whatever reason, and your 1st stage of litigation is complete, the next step is usually to engage in the formal discovery process.
Formal Written Discovery
Formal Written Discovery is written questions and requests for documents. It’s a time-consuming process, but necessary to gather the evidence we need for a final trial.
This is where we ask questions and request documents from the other party, who must answer them under oath and with detail. Then we use those answers and allegations to prepare our case.
We send our discovery to them, and they send their discovery to us. Our fee of $2500 covers one Round of formal discovery up to 100 questions/demands.
One round is defined as a comprehensive set of questions (any combination of questions or sub questions 100 or less) send to our client to answer; and one set of comprehensive questions or sub questions of 100 or less sent to the opposing party. This fee covers our work, time, communication with you, with the other attorney, advice, counsel, preparing our set to go to them and then synthesizing and organizing the information we receive back from them and helping our clients answer their questions and presenting them in an organized fashion to return. We also continue negotiations through this process and cases will often settle after we’ve completed this process.
The options for Formal Written discovery are called Interrogatories – Questions – and Requests for Production of Documents and subpoenas for information or documents.
There’s also something called Requests for Admissions. These are more common in civil cases than domestic; but, can be used in any type of case.
Our fee of $2500 for formal written discovery is up to 100 questions/demands of any format sent to – called “propounded” on our client AND up to 100 questions/demands of any format propounded on the opposing party This fee also includes a “good faith” letter if the other side doesn’t respond to our questions timely.
Discovery can be very complicated – so the need for detail is determined on a case-by-case basis and fees beyond the first round of written discovery is custom-priced for the circumstances.
Discovery can also lead to Discovery Disputes. This can be when the other side ignores our questions or objects to some or all questions for a variety of reasons. If these Disputes cannot be resolved, then additional fees apply for filing motions and bringing these disputes to the court for the court to resolve.
Formal non-written Discovery
There are other types of Discovery – specifically depositions. This is testimony under oath in a conference room with a court reporter and attorneys for all parties present.
Depositions are not common and the need for them is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Depositions are essentially a “sneak peak” of the testimony of any witness at trial. It makes sense if you remember that there are not supposed to be any surprises at trial – all parties should know what the evidence is, who is testifying and what their testimony will be.
Depositions allow us to find out what someone is going to say and informs our legal strategy as we move toward preparing for the final trial.
Depositions can take an hour or a full day. We price our fee for depositions depending on how long we schedule them for. They take significant time to prepare for and our fees for depositions are inclusive of all preparation work, preparing you to be deposed, and conducting the deposition and follow up.
Depositions also incur out of pocket costs to the court reporter and process server if we have to subpoena the witness. Sometimes we have to pay witness fees too. We will estimate these out of pocket costs on top of the attorney fee for deposition work so we can decide together if spending the money to take depositions is worth it.
If other parties want to take depositions, we cannot stop them and we have to cooperate in the scheduling of them.
What happens after Formal Discovery?
If we don’t settle the case after discovery, then a final hearing will be necessary.
Our flat fees for hearings are dependent on length, as outlined on our website. All fees quoted include all communication with you, with opposing counsel, with court, to schedule the hearing, prepare for the hearing – prepare ourselves, prepare our evidence and exhibits, and prepare your testimony and the testimony of any witnesses we intend to call and to prepare to cross examine any witnesses the other side intends to call, and the fee includes attending and conducting the hearing.
A final hearing is usually at least 1/2 a day; but can be longer or shorter and our flat fees range from $1750-$6000.