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Final Pre-Hearing Conference - What are your thoughts?

What agenda items do you typically cover in a final pre-hearing conference before an evidentiary hearing? Do you send a checklist or agenda out in advance? Are there sources you would recommend for template agendas?

Please provide your thoughts/comments below.

Comments (8)


It depends on circumstances. I typically ask in the scheduling order for any pre-hearing matters to be raised in time to be addressed at the final pre-hearing conference. Thus, if one or both of the parties have filed pre-hearing motions, I address them at that conference. If not, sometimes all I do is to make sure there are no outstanding pre-hearing issues, that everything is moving toward the hearing smoothly, and that the case is still on track. I ask counsel to advise the case administrator and me as soon as possible if the case is settled prior to the hearing.

Here is an Agenda I have used:

Agenda items
• Pre Hearing
A. Delivery of Exhibits
B. Witness lists; issue identification of witness; approx. length of testimony of each witness .
C. Pre-Hearing expert information to Panel.
D. Briefs –length and what is included
E. Issue list for each side ( i.e. what the Panel needs to rule upon at the end of the Hearing)

• Hearing
A. Venue,
B. Daily schedule (i.e. starting and ending time)
C. Expected real length (i.e. number of Hearing days);
D. Issue Organized Hearing (e.g. all the evidence and witnesses are heard and then we move on to the next issue vs. sequential presentation vs.other suggestions--- discussion)
E. Expert presentation / hot-tubbing ( experts on a given issue testify simultaneously so that an expert consensus can be achieved or the Panel can see where the variances are; would this be advantageous for certain issues/ expert disputes?)
F. Post-Hearing submissions


I appreciate your thoughtful posting. I do not routinely schedule pre-hearing conferences, but think it might be a good practice. Your suggested agenda is very helpful.



Good morning. Before any final pre-hearing conference I will have addressed most issues with my scheduling order such as:

Discovery issues. - Motions

Witness lists - Experts, number of same and length of testimony.

Pre Hearing Briefs

Exchange of Exhibits

Venue location - Hearing days and length of hearing day.

Post Hearing submissions .

Award form.

I will use the final pre-hearing conference to address any outstanding issues related to the above or any new pertinent matter.


I think that a pre-hearing conference assists in ensuring that the procedure is cost-effective and efficient. It is also a reminder to the advocates that these are important factors to be considered in their preparation for the hearing.

Hazel M. Willacy

Michael S Wilk:

I tried to send an agenda before the last preliminary conference usually a week before the start of the hearing. I use an agenda similar to the above. I find it very helpful to review the hearing process and to identify and address any pending or anticipated issues.


If any pressing issues have arisen during the pre-hearing phase, the parties generally have raised them in one form or another before the FPC. So, the function of the FPC often boils down to reminding the parties of the requirements of the prior scheduling Orders. The prior Orders can act as the checklist. All the dates can be confirmed, including the close of discovery, if any, the deadlines for exchange of witness lists and hearing exhibits, and the due dates for pre-hearing briefs, if any. The conflict checklist can be revisited and updated, as necessary. Inquiry can be made into the progress of the parties in preparing stipulations and joint exhibits. The number of days required to complete the hearings, the dates and times of the hearings, and the arrangements for the hearing room can be confirmed. The attendance of fact and expert witnesses, and in particular, any special needs of a witness, can be addressed. Arrangements for a stenographer, if any, or other recording of testimony, can be confirmed. Finally, the form of the Award can be discussed. At this stage, if requested by the parties, I am generally inclined to allow a change in the form of the award. Of course, if the parties have raised an issue prior to the FPC that I have not previously addressed with them, the FPC can provide an appropriate opportunity to resolve it. Basically, the FPC provides an opportunity to touch base with the parties to be certain everything is on track for the efficient and expeditious disposition of the hearings. I generally do not address post-hearing issues, such as briefs, except to say that such issues will be discussed at the close of the hearings.

Michael Orfield:


For Claimant:______________________________________

For Respondent:___________________________________


1. Confirm Location and times________________________


2. Evidence Notebook Index/ Evidence Notebook_________

3. Witness List___________

4. Witness Schedule___________

5. Arbitration Briefs____________

6. Pre-Hearing Issues

7. Hearing Issues

8. Stipulations

9. Opening Statements

10. Depositions: Original vs. Condensed

11. Expert Designations

12. Special electronic equipment

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