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Law departments initiate more discovery as plaintiffs do

Based on a survey of attorneys in 369 federal civil cases, a recent article examines the time the litigants spend seeking discovery. Shepard, G. “An empirical study of the effects of pretrial discovery,” International Review of Law and Economics, Vol. 19, at 245-263 (1999). The author shows that defendants increase their discovery efforts “tit-for-tat” in response to heightened discovery requests by the plaintiff. Plaintiffs, however, did not follow this counterpunch strategy and did not increase their requests for discovery in response to increased requests from defendants. This material comes from Kathryne Spier, Chapter 4: Litigation, to appear in A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, editors, The Handbook Of Law & Economics, at 30.