Motion practice is an integral part of the litigation process, and your knowledge of when and how to present effective motions, or respond to ones filed by other parties, will be critical your practice. Motions will, without exception, occur in every single one of your litigated matters, and they will address a wide variety of issues in your case.
A motion is nothing more than a party’s formal, written way of requesting the court to issue an order on a particular matter in the case. Motions can be used to address issues that arise during discovery (such as a party’s failure to comply with certain procedural rules), to set certain deadlines (such as when the trial will take place), or to dispose of certain issues—even the entire case—before or after the trial (such as motions for summary judgment or directed verdict).
Each state govern how motions are to be made and set forth simple formatting, substantive, and service requirements that must be met by the parties. Keep in mind, however, that local jurisdictions may issue local procedural rules that supplement the state rules. These local rules can cover anything from the size of margins and font to use on your motions to the service and filing of motions on specific days of the week. It is the attorney’s duty to always check local procedural rules before filing a motion, and depending on the judge reviewing the motion, the ability to follow local guidelines can have a significant effect on legal success before the court.
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