Cynics poke fun at our consumption of ‘legal-tainment’ (situation
drama based on some aspect of the legal process). Who hasn’t heard
at least one person in the office or at a social gathering demonstrate
their command of legalese with a jumble of words like discovery, subpoena,
For instance, the term “discovery” is tossed around so often
that some people may believe that’s all that attorneys do. The fact
is, discovery is a pre-trial process that prepares your case and equips
you with information that you need to present to the court. Discovery
allows all parties to examine any information deemed relevant to the case. In
divorce, for instance, discovery could bring out bank statements, pay stubs, mortgage
applications, bonus reports, life insurance disclosures, property deeds
– even letters, text messages, and voice mail recordings. Anything
relevant to the case is fair game in discovery.
Discovery can be informal or formal. In an amicable divorce, there is a
free flow of information between the parties and everybody voluntarily
exchanges information. That’s where you can save a lot of money.
Costs begin to mount when a contentious situation forces one party to
In later installments, I’ll delve into five common tools you may
see in formal discovery. In this blog, you’ll see terminology like
releases, subpoenas, requests, interrogatories, and depositions. Other
attorneys may use different terminology for the same issues. As far as
basic tools are concerned, each discovery process has a specific role
but with one goal in mind: achieving the truth and the winning argument
for your case.