Represent Yourself in Court FAQ

I've filed my lawsuit. What do I need to do next?

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I've filed my lawsuit. What do I need to do next?

Before a case gets scheduled for trial, a number of things need to happen. Information about most of these -- for example, whether and when a settlement conference must take place, when papers must be filed, and how to place a case on the court's trial calendar -- are available from the court clerk.

Unfortunately, how to accomplish other pre-trial tasks -- which often come under the broad title "discovery" -- is left largely up to you and the other parties to the lawsuit. For example, one type of discovery consists of your taking the deposition (oral statement) of the other party or one or more witnesses to find out what he or she is likely to say at trial. Other types of discovery consist of interrogatories (written questions to the other party), a request to produce documents, or a request that the other party admit certain facts (stipulations). You can get more details about the discovery process in Nolo's articles What to Do After You File Your Lawsuit: Making a Discovery Plan and Formal Discovery: Gathering Evidence for Your Lawsuit.

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