Trial by Agreement is one of the most significant innovations in decades for the civil justice systems in state and federal courts. Information and education about Trial by Agreement is an important goal of the Institute.
While a series of recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure create unintended consequences of increasing cost and delay, Trial by Agreement—created and developed by Texas trial lawyers Steve Susman and Thomas Melsheimer—achieves the opposite result. It is such a crucial innovation, Judge Mark W. Bennett has incorporated it into his supplemental trial management order entered early in every civil case. Lawyers in all filed civil cases are required to read about Trial by Agreement, discuss it with their clients, and file an affidavit to that affect.
Judges are encouraged to follow Bennett’s lead, and trial lawyers and litigators are urged to suggest use of Trial by Agreement in their cases. Bennett’s experience teaches that Trial by Agreement substantially reduces cost and delay in federal civil litigation.