It takes a steady, knowledgeable hand to navigate the Rocket Docket.
According to Wikipedia, a rocket docket “refers to a court or other tribunal that is noted for its speedy disposition of cases and controversies that come before it, often by maintaining strict adherence to the law as (it) pertains to filing deadlines etc.” The term was coined right here in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), located down the street from our offices in Alexandria, Virginia.
In 1954, Judge Walter E. Hoffman began a 12-year regiment of putting in long hours, cutting the traditional 2-hour lunch, and holding court on Saturdays and holidays. He also initiated the practice of fining lawyers who were late and establishing “firm trial dates.” Hoffman was quoted as saying that “the lawyers for both sides know there will be no continuances,” and that in this district “continuance” is an obscene word.
Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. continued the practice into the seventies when he decided that cases were dragging and justice was being dispensed too slowly for his liking. He was known to often rule on the spot as motions were argued. He would leave attorneys breathless as he tried entire cases in an afternoon, that otherwise would take much longer.
To this day, those that are unsure of the system are stricken with fear when they are told how much time they have from filing a Complaint to disposition for civil cases. The Rocket Docket has the shortest average time in the country at 12.1 months. Most years, Law 360 determines which court is the fastest and to date, the EDVA comes in first most often with the Eastern District of Texas coming in second.
In addition to the speedy resolution of civil cases, the Rocket Docket also tends to Intellectual Property cases in the same manner. This attracts many cases to our courts in search of quick decisions. But this also means attorneys that may not have the knowledge of the intricate and unique system of rules and regulations set forth by the court often wander into peril.
DiMuroGinsberg is well-versed in all aspects of dealing with the Rocket Docket. Many of our attorneys have over 40 years of experience working within the system and the firm wrote the book on the subject. Please feel free to download a copy of our Rocket Docket booklet, focusing on the EDVA procedures as applied in the Alexandria Division as well as an overview of procedures in all Divisions in patent infringement/invalidity cases. Additionally, we publish “DG Rocket Docket Updates” on a regular basis to help keep our fellow attorneys aware of breaking news, new rules, changes and announcements by the Court. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter DGRead to receive these regular Updates. These Updates are also published below.
Because of our in-depth knowledge of the court system, our incredible experience and our ability to provide cost-effective legal representation, we are the ideal choice to act as local counsel for law firms unfamiliar with the unique rules and practices of the EDVA. Please feel free to call us at 703-684-4333 for help with the Rocket Docket. It’s our specialty.