What is Discovery?

by Kaylee Logeston, Esq.

One of the first questions I was ever asked as a new attorney was from a plaintiff-client who was terribly upset and overwhelmed after receiving discovery requests from the other side. They did not understand why they had to answer questions and produce documents when they were the plaintiff who filed the suit in the first place. They were, after all, the person who was taking the other side to court. Despite the overwhelming monotony of some requests for production and interrogatories, discovery is the most essential part of the pre-trial process and both sides are entitled to conduct their own discovery.

Some of the most common forms of discovery include:


Taking a deposition is one of the most common forms of discovery. Depositions, or “depos,” are statements given under oath by participants involved in a case while outside of court. These can
be made by written transcript and/or video and are used both in preparation for trial and frequently during the trial itself. During oral depositions, both sides have the right to be present. Depositions allow both sides to know what a witness will say in court. It gives them the chance to build a defense or discredit the opposing side’s witness testimony should the witness waiver while testifying in court.


Interrogatories are lists of written questions submitted to the other party to be answered in writing and under oath. The answers provided are usually submitted to the party’s attorney first
and the original answers are carefully edited.

Request for Production (RFP)

A request for production is the most common way used to get documents for a lawsuit. A request for production is a written request from one party to the other requiring a person to produce
physical evidence. These documents may exist as physical papers but could also be electronic files.

Request for Admission (RFA)

A request for admission, also known as a request to admit, is a written statement used to establish basic facts and avoid having to establish them in trial. It is not used to seek an admission of guilt
but to have both parties acknowledge and agree to certain facts ahead of time.

Final Reminders

The legal discovery process is an incredibly important piece to the puzzle that starts well before the trial takes place. A few final reminders about discovery.

• It can be lengthy and expensive. Do not be afraid to answer “I don’t know.” Providing speculation or assumption is never a good thing.
• Do not be afraid to answer interrogatories truthfully. Your attorney will edit any answer they feel needs to be edited and will object to questions that seek information that is irrelevant or
is otherwise privileged.
• If you do not comply with discovery requests, a judge may compel you to answer or fine you for each day an answer is late.

As always if you have a legal concern, please reach out to the legal experts at Birmingham Men’s Law Firm, where your initial consultation is always free.