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Latest Trial Lawyers Section civil discovery handbook now available

Senior Editor News in Photos

Discovery HandbookThe Trial Lawyers Section is marking another milestone in a long history of service to the profession with the release of the “2021 Florida Handbook on Civil Discovery Practice.”

The section is proud to publish a guide that has become a fixture in nearly every Florida courtroom, said Vero Beach attorney and TLS Chair Lewis W. “Wil” Murphy, Jr.

“This year’s handbook contains updated and informative guidance backed by case cites and legal authority on all areas of discovery practice, in addition to a special focus on emerging electronic discovery and ESI-related issues,” Murphy said. “We know that the courts and our members routinely rely upon the handbook as the ‘go to’ resource for all aspects of civil discovery.”

More than 1,200 copies were recently mailed to circuit, county, administrative, and magistrate judges across Florida. A downloadable PDF is available on the Trial Lawyers Section website.

Hard copies are available for sale on The Florida Bar member portal.

Naples attorney and Executive Council member Wayde P. Seidensticker, Jr., headed a committee that oversaw the revisions.

“I believe it’s a worthy effort because it gives both practitioners and the judiciary a working framework to address the various issues that come up during discovery, and discovery disputes that arise in the practice of law,” he said.

The Trial Lawyers Section produced the handbook in collaboration with the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges and the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida.

The project required a lot of teamwork, Seidensticker stressed.

“I can’t take full credit, it was a big, collective effort on behalf of the TLS and the Executive Council,” he said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nicholas P. Mizell of the Middle District of Florida, a section member who oversaw the 2019 update, circulated drafts to fellow jurists for review, Seidensticker said.

“Luckily, he was here to lighten the burden for me and reached out to other judges,” Seidensticker said.

Seidensticker said the COVID-19 pandemic should provide plenty of fodder for future revisions.

“We’ve had a lot of discovery and discovery motions that are taking place through Zoom,” he said. “So, I’m sure there’ll be some additional updates as we get some decisions interpreting some of the rules and adapting them to these changes that we’ve all been going through as members of the Bar.”

Formed in 1967, the Trial Lawyers Section has more than 5,500 members who share a mission to promote access to the courts, preserve the independence of the judiciary, and protect the constitutional right to a trial by jury.

TLS leaders say the handbook is just one example of how the section fulfills its mission.

“The Trial Lawyers Section is committed to professionalism, civility and cooperation among attorneys while promoting efficiencies in discovery and trail practice,” Murphy stated in his welcome message to members on the TLS website.

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