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Amendments to the Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure: Civil Rules 2015—Early and Active Case Management

December 1, 2015

Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that became effective on December 1, 2015, respond to findings that early intervention by judges helps to narrow issues and reduce discovery. Litigation results are more satisfactory when a judge actively manages a case from the beginning and stays involved. The amendments do not break new ground; they emphasize the importance of early, hands-on, and continuing case management. The times for service of a complaint and the time for holding an initial case-management conference are reduced. The rules now recognize that live conferences are almost always the most effective way to identify the needs of a case and issue orders tailored to efficient resolution. Discovery disputes should be addressed by discussion before motion. The amendments also concern preservation of electronically stored information (ESI) and Federal Rule of Evidence 502's protections against inadvertent waiver of the attorney–client privilege and work-product protections.