Even before the pandemic hit, the reality of litigation is that it is not a fast process. We lawyers have many one liners to neatly explain this and my personal favorite is that “the wheels of justice turn slowly.” 


Litigation moves at a much more methodical pace than other economic activity that people are used to. The practical reasons for this can include uncooperative opponents, constraints of the judicial calendar, scheduling coordination, and the sometimes lengthy process of obtaining records and other important information from disinterested third parties. The overarching reason things are not as fast as people might be used to is because, more so than other realms of society, litigation is the process of getting it right, however long getting it right might take. If a party needs to obtain thousands of pages of records before they are ready to take a deposition, they will typically be afforded the time to do so. If 20 witnesses need to be deposed to ensure that litigants know everything there is to know about an incident, then 20 witnesses will be deposed. If a doctor’s calendar is booked for the next three months, the deposition will be scheduled four months later and little progress might be made on the case in the interim.


As a lawyer involved in litigation, it becomes easy to acclimate to the methodic pace, so we need to continually remind ourselves how unexpected the pace might be to a client who works in a different industry. Imagine working in logistics and being told that it is going to take a month to get a full set of records – and that when those records come, they will likely be sent in the mail, or worse yet, by fax!


Above all, the most important thing to remember regarding the pace of a case is that the speed and which it progresses is not typically relevant to the substantive value of the case. In other words, delays, unwelcome as they may be, do not mean there will be a lower financial outcome when all is said and done. After all though the wheels of justice do grind exceedingly fine.