Managing Summary Judgment

44 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2012

See all articles by Steven Gensler

Steven Gensler

University of Oklahoma College of Law

Lee Rosenthal

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Date Written: 2012


Modern summary-judgment practice has been criticized as being too complex, too costly, and too slow. This paper examines why a process that was intended to help courts achieve just, speedy, and inexpensive determinations is now seen by many as an impediment to those goals. We conclude that much of the problem lies in that fact that summary judgment has largely become a stand-alone, post-discovery, paper-only event characterized by increasingly routinized processes. We believe courts would be better served by tailoring the summary-judgment process to the needs and circumstances of individual cases. We offer three suggestions for how judges can manage the summary-judgment process to achieve a better fit: (1) by incorporating summary judgment into the initial case-management conversation; (2) by holding pre-motion conferences to help the parties refine, focus, and sometimes avoid the summary-judgment motions they intend to make; and (3) by holding oral argument on the motions that are made.

Keywords: civil procedure, summary judgment, case management

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Gensler, Steven and Rosenthal, Lee, Managing Summary Judgment (2012). Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 517, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Steven Gensler (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma College of Law ( email )

300 Timberdell Road
Norman, OK 73019
United States
405.325.7889 (Phone)

Lee Rosenthal

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

United States

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