After the complaint is filed and the pleadings close, the parties will usually begin conducting discovery. The scope of discovery is broad. Discovery can extend to former employees, consultants, customers and others outside of the company.

The parties usually divulge highly sensitive financial, technical or marketing information to one another or to opposing counsel. However, the disclosure to third parties may be prevented through the use of a protective order.

The parties have several discovery devices at their disposal. These devices include depositions, interrogatories, document requests, requests for admission and requests for entry of premises.

Depositions, interrogatories and requests for admission are discovery devices that can be used to get parties to answer questions. Depositions are usually among the most effective because a party’s attorney can directly examine the opposing party’s witnesses. Witnesses often reveal damaging information in such a setting.

Interrogatories and requests for admission are less effective because a party has an opportunity to carefully craft its answers. Document requests and requests for entry of premises provide parties with the opportunity to directly examine a party’s facilities, documents or other tangible objects.