At the start of the new year, many of us are spending time looking back at where we have come from and forward to where we want to go. As part of that process, many are making resolutions to make 2015 better than ever.  In that spirit, over the next several weeks, I am reposting a popular series of practice tips for the N.D. Illinois (with a focus upon IP litigation of course) that I ran a few years ago, with slight modifications for 2015. 

The tips are not in a particular order of import.  Why twenty-five?  I found that beyond twenty five, the tips became focused upon minutia. The tips are gleaned from my practice in the Northern District, my time as a law clerk for the Hon. Gordon J. Quist in the Western District of Michigan, and my reading of all of the Northern District of Illinois intellectual property opinions over the last eight years.  As you read them, let me know if you come up with others.  I will be glad to include them as I go along.  Here are sixteen through twenty:

  1. Meet and confer. Wherever you practice you are likely aware of some version of a Local Rule 37.1 requirement to meet and confer regarding at least discovery motions.  Generally, you do not need to meet and confer for dispositive motions, but you must for discovery motions as well as motions for extensions.  Most judges will not hear a motion without a meet and confer, and some will deny the motion with prejudice for failing to meet and confer.  If you are not sure whether your motion requires a meet and confer, err on the side of having one.
  2. Tell the Court about your meet and confer. Do not forget to tell the Court you met and conferred in your motion, and describe the outcome.  If you do not, you risk denial of your motion, and always identify agreed or stipulated motions in the title and the docket entry.
  3. Use the Online Transcript System. Take advantage of the Northern District’s first-in-the-nation online transcript ordering system.  Prior to this system, getting transcripts was difficult, but now getting a hearing transcript is as easy as buying a book on Amazon.com.  It is a great advantage for litigators preparing motions that relate to prior hearings.
  4. Calculate your hearing date.  Each judge has a different minimum notice period for motions.  Many judges allow notice three business days after filing, but a few only require two and others require four.  On a similar note, check the judge’s website for allowable motion call days and times, and any days when the judge will not be hearing motions.
  5. Deliver prompt, correct courtesy copies.  The Local Rules require delivery of courtesy copies of to the Court within one day of filing.  But some judges require same day courtesy copies if at all possible.  For those judges, if you cannot deliver same day you should at least deliver early the next morning.  Also, make sure you format the copies correctly.  For example, most judges require exhibits to be separated by tabs, and some judges require that papers be bound on the left-hand side.  And for many judges, you must include copies of any unreported cases cited in your papers.