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CHAPTER 22

Tools of the Trade

The Basic Methods of Discovery

INTRODUCTION

The last chapter considered broad conceptual issues raised by the right of discovery in civil litigation. This chapter addresses more practical, “how-to” issues that arise in using the rules of discovery to develop the facts of cases.

As the previous chapter indicates, modern procedure, unlike traditional practice, is premised on wide access to information possessed by adversaries and third parties before trial. Under the federal discovery rules, parties may obtain almost all information in the other side’s hands before the case is tried. Ideally, broad discovery makes trial a matter of clear, orderly presentation of evidence known to all litigants. It also encourages settlement by educating the parties about the strengths and weaknesses of their cases.

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