Introduction to Discovery Plans
Every paralegal whether he or she is an in house paralegal or a virtual paralegal should know certain things when assisting his or her attorney with discovery. Even though a paralegal’s involvement in the discovery process can and will vary from firm to firm and jurisdiction—there are basic things every paralegal should know.
First, paralegals should all know what is discovery? The short answer to this question is actually easier than it may appear to some new paralegals. Discovery is merely a process whereby the parties of a case exchange information.
The second thing paralegals should know is discovery rules will always vary and depending on the jurisdiction (the court with the authority to hear the case), and venue, (the physical location of the case i.e. county, city, or borough). Knowing what the jurisdiction and venue is for the case will be your magical paralegal key for looking up the rules for the discovery task.
The third thing paralegals should know about discovery is rules and opinions pertaining to ethics should be viewed and provided to the supervising attorney. In addition, paralegals should always look at the rules of evidence when working with discovery.
In conclusion, a paralegal’s involvement in the discovery process can vary by location and the guidelines that the supervising attorney set for him or her. The three things outlined here should be primarily in every paralegal’s mind when the case in his or her office reaches the discovery phase. Paralegals who assist attorneys with discovery should have all of these things on autopilot –meaning you do them without being asked and have this information readily available for your attorney.