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Three litigation cost controls: motions, depositions, and attendees at court conferences and depositions

Two partners in a small litigation firm assert three steps law departments should take to control motion practice by their litigation firms. As published in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, July 2008 at 39, the steps are (1) permit no motions to be made without your approval; (2) permit a motion only if the court advises your counsel that a motion is necessary; and (3) require litigation counsel to justify “why the motion is important to be made, the merits of their position, the chances for prevailing and the anticipated cost.”

Among the several other cost-control measures they advocate is to try to get signed witness statements. Those statements are “easier, better, more effective and often achieved at a fraction of the cost” of a deposition. According to them, “Only truly material witnesses should be deposed.”

As a third method to pare litigation costs, “Rarely is there a need for more than one attorney to be present at court conferences or depositions.” If that claim is true, many law departments who enforce it could slice their litigation budgets deeply.

Each of these three techniques appear meritorious, at least to this non-litigator, but I suspect experienced hands will disagree. Certainly they all intrude on the professional decisions of law firm partners.