James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center

The center conducts studies and issues guidelines and best practices, which improve the administration of justice in complex litigation. These projects support or follow up on the bench-bar conferences.

Diversity and Excellence: Guidelines and Best Practices for Judges Appointing Lawyers to Leadership Positions in MDL and Class Action Litigation: (Full Report) (3-Page Summary Report and Signatories List)  The center issued the Inclusivity and Diversity Guidelines and Best Practices on March 15, 2021. They offer concrete suggestions for giving lawyers across the profession an equal opportunity to be appointed to MDL and class action leadership positions. 

More than 100 law firms, five major bar organizations, and five companies support the Inclusivity and Diversity Guidelines and Best Practices as "Founding Signatories." The center is accepting new signatories for the next 12 months. Please send your request to be included as a "Signatory" to John Rabiej at [email protected].

Discovery Proportionality Model: A New Framework: The New Framework is a groundbreaking tool that provides key information to help lawyers and judges begin assessing Rule 26(b)(1) proportionality discovery based on objective data applied under a systematic process.  

Under the New Framework:

  1. The producing party completes a heat map that categorizes custodians by priority along with the degree of burden in accessing information from their data sources, e.g., email, social media, and mobile devices;
  2. A general cost table is provided that estimates discovery cost for custodians and their data sources based on projected typical volumes of gigabytes from each data source as well as estimated per gigabyte costs projected for each data source; and
  3. A line-by-line cost calculator shows how the general cost estimates were computed, which allows users to adjust the estimates of volume and hourly rates by line item, if appropriate, to address individual circumstances.

The New Framework model will be issued for public comment for a period of eight weeks in the summer or early fall of 2021. Please check back frequently for updated information. Here are links to a list of the drafting-team members and a working draft of the model (Unit Cost Chart) (Cost Projection Unit Cost) (Cost Projection Data Source), which contains an illustrated table of costs and heat map.

Class-Action Best Practices: Following its inaugural November 2020 class-action annual-review conference, the center formed three teams of 35 volunteer lawyers to draft best practices addressing six issues identified at the conference.  The best practices will be the first installment in a new compendium of class-action best practices, prepared under the center’s auspices.  Additional compendium installments will be added following every annual class action conference.

Mass-Tort MDL Best Practices:  Following its inaugural March 2021 Mass-Torts MDL annual-review conference, the center identified issues that may be suitable for best practices.  The center is consulting with individuals who attended the conference for their feedback and interest in serving on drafting teams.