Initial conference

An initial conference is one of the first steps of the discovery process in a civil case. In the U.S. federal court system, initial conferences are governed by Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rule 26 conference

According to the FRCP, the plaintiff must initiate a conference between the parties to plan for the discovery process after the complaint was served to the defendants.[1] The parties must confer as soon as practicable after the complaint was served to the defendants — and in any event at least 21 days before a scheduling conference is to be held or a scheduling order is due under Rule 16(b). The parties should attempt to agree on the proposed discovery plan, and submit it to the court within 14 days after the conference.[1]

Conference discussion topics

Discovery plan

The discovery plan must state the parties' proposals on subject of discovery, limitations on discovery, case management schedule and timing deadlines for each stage of discovery processes, including:[1][2]

Initial disclosures

Unless all parties agree otherwise, the parties should submit to each other the Initial Disclosures under Rule 26(a) within 14 days after the conference.[1] At minimum, the Initial Disclosures should list:[1]

Only after the initial disclosures have been sent, the main discovery process begins, which includes: depositions, interrogatories, request for admissions (RFA) and request for production of documents(RFP). Parties must supplement their Initial Disclosures each time when they discover new witnesses or documents that they want to use in court to support their claims or defenses.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "FRCP Rule 26".
  2. "NH DISCOVERY PLAN Guidelines".
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