Can Paralegals Handle Meet and Confers?

Yes, that would be a lot cheaper and probably quicker than attorneys meeting and conferring, but is it permissible?

A paralegal to paralegal meet and confer is what happened in Cook v. Taser Int’l, Inc.[1]  The court noted it was arguable that “efforts to obtain compliance with discovery requests can be delegated to paralegal staff.”

[H]owever, it is better practice, if not a requirement of the rule, that the attorney for the party seeking discovery personally attempt to confer with opposing counsel in an effort to resolve the dispute or obtain compliance. Delegating this responsibility to paralegal staff is likely to result in the type of uncertainty or confusion evident in this case.

But the rule remains ambiguous even after the 2016 amendments to the District of Nevada’s local rules.  LR 26-7 still requires a meet and confer prior to filing the motion.  LR IA 1-3(f) defines what constitutes a “meet and confer.”

Whenever used in these rules, to “meet and confer” means to communicate directly and discuss in good faith the issues required under the particular rule or court order. This requirement is reciprocal and applies to all participants. Unless these rules or a court order provide otherwise, this requirement may only be satisfied through direct dialogue and discussion in a face-to-face meeting, telephone conference, or video conference. The exchange of written, electronic, or voice-mail communications does not satisfy this requirement.

The rule does not state who must attend the conference.  “A party who files a motion to which the meet-and-confer requirement applies must submit a declaration stating all meet-and-confer efforts, including the time, place, manner, and participants.”[2]  But again, who must attend the conference is not stated.  Could you arguably have a paralegal handle meet and confers?  Yes,[3] but my guess is the Magistrate Judge would be unhappy.

The local state court rules expressly reject the idea, noting the supporting affidavit must be from “moving counsel.”[4]  It also defines the meet and confer as either a personal or telephone conference between or among counsel.”

[1] No. 2:04-cv-01325, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38770, 2006 WL 1520243 (D. Nev. May 26, 2006).
[2] LR IA 1-3(f)(2).
[3] Just have the paralegal read this blog.  I need the page views.
[4] EDCR 2.34(d).