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What Every In-House Counsel Needs to Know to Avoid Discovery-Related Sanctions

(979 reviews)

Produced on November 16, 2017

$ 99 Ethics and Business, Corporate, & Securities In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Ethics Business, Corporate, & Securities

Course Description

Practitioners across the country highly anticipated the 2015 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) which were touted as a way to curtail rising discovery costs in United States litigation. The 2015 Amendment to Rule 26(b)(1) underscored the importance of proportionality and outlined factors for parties and courts to consider when deciding whether a discovery request is proportional to the needs of a case. However, almost two years later, few courts have issued significant decisions limiting discovery pursuant to Rule 26(b)(1)’s proportionality requirement and discovery orders entered pursuant to state law still sanction companies and their counsel for failure to conduct thorough document searches that include employee emails and other electronically stored information (ESI).

This course, presented by Elizabeth A. Livingston, Esq., a Senior Associate at Griesing Law, LLC, reviews the risk of sanctions associated with proportionality-age discovery decisions, addresses counsel’s related ethical responsibilities, and offers practical guidance to consider when crafting and implementing discovery-related case strategies.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Review 2015 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  2. Analyze court opinions and orders concerning scope of discovery and party responsibilities
  3. Assess ethical implications for in-house and outside counsel relating to discovery tactics with reference to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
  4. Provide practical guidance to reduce legal risk concerning discovery strategy, including e-discovery best practices

Credit Information

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Elizabeth is a litigator with extensive experience representing a wide range of clients from public and privately-held corporations to government entities to small businesses and nonprofit organizations with particular expertise in handling all aspects of e-discovery in complex litigation cases. Elizabeth brings her litigation and conflict-management experience to bear on business advisement and transactional matters in addition to partnering with clients on how to navigate legal processes, develop case strategies, settle when appropriate, and craft pragmatic policies and practices for effective business and risk management.

Elizabeth has represented clients across a wide spectrum of industries including transportation, food distribution, franchise, medical device design and manufacturing, pharmaceutical, education, counseling and coaching, real estate, insurance and financial services industries. She regularly advocates for her clients in pleadings and motions, at depositions, at arbitration, and in administrative hearings and trials. Elizabeth works with clients to understand and protect their businesses, and to provide assistance with risk management and operational matters. She has drafted commercial leases, licensing agreements, website terms of use and privacy policies, conflict of interest policies, and corporate governance documents, among other transactional agreements.

Elizabeth also assists business owners and management personnel with employment issues. She has represented multiple clients in employment discrimination litigation, including successfully defending employers against claims of race discrimination, disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. This experience has helped inform the employment-related advice that she provides to clients, including recommending hiring and firing procedures, drafting and revising employee handbooks, drafting independent contractor/consulting/work- for-hire agreements, navigating wage payment and collection matters, crafting severance agreements, and considering potential liability relating to employment practices.

In the real estate industry, Elizabeth has experience managing the Keystone Opportunity Zone application and tax exemption approval pro- cess for hundreds of business entities operating in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Through this work, she negotiates with representatives from the City and State Departments of Revenue and the State Department of Community and Economic Development.

Outside of the Firm, Elizabeth is involved in many civic organizations including serving on the Planning Committee for Preakness at the Piazza, an event that benefits the National MS Society, and as a Group Leader with Philadelphia Diner en Blanc, an organization that celebrates Philadelphia’s historic spaces and embraces spontaneity with a pop-up picnic. She has also held a Board Member position for the Walnut Club as their Vice President of Finance and remains an active member of the organization. Elizabeth graduated from Young Involved Philadelphia’s 2015 Board Prep Program and was chosen to participate in the Forum of Executive Women’s 2016 Mentoring Circle Program. She was also accepted into the Legal Council on Legal Diversity’s 2016 Fellow Class. Lastly, Elizabeth has been recognized as an emerging leader in the profession, having been chosen as a 2016 Lawyer on the Fast Track by The Legal Intelligencer and a 2017 Rising Star in Business Litigation by Super Lawyers. 


Barry G.


Lauren B.

great seminar, interesting material and good value for new in house counsel

Ann-Kathryn S.

Presentation was great!

Dominick L.

Pleasant personality and very informative

Maureen F.

This was one of the best CLEs I've attended in the past 10 years. While it would be hard to memorize all this info in one session, it did a great job to remind practitioners of the evolving nature of ESI, of the emphasis on early discovery, on being diligent to request a scheduling order if one is not being timely sent by the courts, of the duties to preserve immediately, etc. Very strong reminder in general that discovery is the foundation of the case, and that failing to do it properly can expose an attorney to serious consequences. Great CLE.

Richard G.

The presenter does a good job covering important material.

Robin N.

Really enjoyed this lesson, instructor was very engaging!

Maureen W.

This moderator spoke well and was engaging.

Christine C.


Christopher O.

This course was topical and timely for my practice, as I'm engaged in several litigation matters in federal court at the discovery phase -- Thank you!

Savery G.

Excellent presentation -- clear and measured -- easy to follow slides

William H.

Solid presentation. Well done.

Russell B.

A well conducted presentation.

Lawrence A.

Very good review of the status of the Rules. Thank you

Nancy B.


Jeffrey D.


Elizabeth J.

Great job

Mara H.

It can be difficult to stay current with changes to the FRCP. This presentation was very helpful, particularly in understanding key changes to the rules governing discovery and potential sanctions for failing to abide by them.

Edward C.

Very well presented.

John A. M.

Well-organized, highly substantive presentation. Thanks.

Antoine M.

A very thorough and detailed presentation

Willard M.

Valuable information

Elliot F.

Good treatment of an important topic.

T. O.

Solid presentation, Ms. Livingston! Thank you.

Eugene S.

Thanks very much. This program was very informative and helpful.

John M.

Interesting perspective on discovery

Thomas K.

Great presenter. Very effective, informative, and interesting.

Kevin K.

Great presentation.

christopher r.

Timely review of ethics issues in a discovery context.

Marcella B.

excellent high quality presentation

Earl B.

good synopsis

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