How soon is too soon to raise a discovery dispute?

I recently received the dreaded “good faith” letter regarding discovery requests. Being a lawyer who is admittedly overly obsessed with deadlines and timeliness, I was completely caught off guard. I reviewed my file and noted that the discovery deadline was months away and that it had been less than 30 days since we received the requests. My surprise turned to frustration. First, we were not late. Second, even if we were, why would counsel send a good faith letter this early in the game? There is this unwritten rule of civil procedure among members of the bar that discovery can be and, in most cases, will be, “late.” I use the term “late” loosely because, as most lawyers will tell you, it is an entirely subjective term in the context of discovery. One lawyer has explained that, “It is a God-given right to be late in discovery responses.” Another explained that she does not even start to draft discovery responses until she receives her first letter requesting responses. For most lawyers, this is simply the consequence of a busy practice.

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