Skip to Main Content

Trial Preparation: A Beginner’s Guide


First, we would like to focus on one area of court procedure—the discovery process. In short, the discovery process is a method by which opposing parties in a court proceeding learn more about certain witnesses and evidence that will be presented at an upcoming trial. While information learned during the discovery process can be extremely helpful for litigants while they prepare their cases, it can be difficult for those unfamiliar with the discovery process to not only prepare discovery motions, but also to respond to opposing counsel’s discovery motions appropriately. Thus, we have prepared this portion of the Beginner’s Guide in order to help litigants from all walks of life become more comfortable with the discovery process.


Secondary resources are a great way to begin your research on the discovery process. Treatises synthesize court rules, statutes, and case law into a helpful overview that is supported by citations to primary authority. Below, please see the lists of treatises we have compiled on a variety of topics related to discovery to assist you with your research. Each title links to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

Online Resources

In addition to the print treatises listed above, there are several online resources that provide information about discovery in civil and criminal actions, including general overviews of the discovery process, explanations of the different discovery methods, and guidance regarding discovery strategies, among many others. We have listed a selection of these resources below for your review:

Definitions of Legal Terminology

The following definitions are provided by the Wex, a free legal dictionary and encyclopedia sponsored and hosted by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at the Cornell Law School. Wex entries are collaboratively created and edited by legal experts.

Additional Legal Resources

If you are interested in the discovery process in your state’s court system, we suggest reviewing your state court’s website External to see if it has any discovery forms or additional guidance for state court litigants.