What are the best discovery practices in a high-stakes case like bet-the-company litigation?

Minneapolis attorney Scott Benson of Briol & Associates reflects on how to utilize discovery during an important legal case.

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So the best discovery practices are going to vary depending on the type of case and depending on what your opponent is doing in that case as well. It’s always important to be able to gather your own documents and be prepared on your side. And by documents, I mean all types of information that you have in the company. It could be held electronically. It could be held in voicemail messages. It could be held in the standard type of pages of documents that we normally refer. But knowing your own documents and your own side of the case is really crucial in order to develop a discovery plan. If you don’t know what you’ve got, it’s hard to know what you’re going to go out and ask for.

Beyond that, it’s important to know what each piece of discovery that you may think of using in the case is going to get you. So having a strategy and knowing what you intend to achieve in the end I think is extremely important in virtually any case, but particularly in bet-the-company litigation or in shareholder litigation. It’s important to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and that there is an end and you’re not just going through the motions.

Again, a scattershot approach generally is going to spend a lot of time and money in areas where you could have probably saved your money and probably saved time on behalf of your lawyers, so having that strategy in place from the beginning – which can change depending on what happens in the case. But at least knowing where you need to go and what you need to learn is extremely important in those cases.