As litigation becomes more expensive and time-consuming, the reality is that only 1 to 2 percent of cases are disposed of with a jury verdict. In these circumstances, the overwhelming financial cost of litigation is in the discovery and pretrial stages; the major, indirect, non-financial cost is the loss of employee time spent assisting counsel in trial preparation.
One way to minimize costs and maximize efficiency is through use of a Special Master. While Special Masters can serve in many roles, including as settlement masters, the most frequent use (and the one considered here) is the adjudicative function of overseeing discovery and resolving discovery and privilege disputes. The ultimate goal of the Special Master is to save time for judicial officers and reduce the litigation costs for the parties. The following are checklists that may aid in determining whether and when to use a Special Master.
- Pre-litigation checklist
- Is this a “big” case measured by anticipated cost and amount of resources to prepare and try, or by the potential impact of a bad litigation outcome?
- Is it anticipated that there will be discovery disputes?
- Will there be e-discovery issues and disputes?
- Are there likely to be disputes over claims of privilege or work product protection?
- Is there a need to have immediate or easy access to a decision-maker?
- Is this a time-sensitive case where there is a need to move discovery along on a short, efficient timeline?
- Is there a benefit to working with a neutral third party who has the trust and confidence of the parties and/or the presiding judicial officer?
To see the rest of Richard Levie’s checklists to save clients time and money, please read the full article from Law.com by clicking here.