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The Judicial Conference and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts asked the RAND Institute for Civil Justice to evaluate the implementation of the Civil Justice Reform Act in ten pilot districts. The study found that (1) the CJRA pilot program as implemented, had little effect on time to disposition, litigation costs, and attorney satisfaction and views of the fairness of case management; (2) judges' actions matter: early judicial case management sharply reduced time to disposition but is associated with significantly increased costs to litigants, but shortened time to discovery cutoff is associated with significantly decreased attorney work hours; (3) if early case management and early setting of the trial schedule are combined with shortened discovery, the increase in costs associated with the former can be offset by the decrease associated with the latter. The study also notes that since adoption of the CJRA, the total number of cases pending more than three years has dropped by about 25 percent from its pre-CJRA level.

Originally published in: Dispute Resolution, Systems in Transition, The 1997 Isaac Publado Lectures, 1997, pp. 117-148.

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