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.

Rocket DocketIn 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.

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Increases in CJA Hourly Rates, effective January 1, 2020. Read more about it here.

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Order of Closure – All divisions of the EDVA will be closed on Tuesday, December 24, 2019. See the order here

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: An amendment to Local Criminal Rule 12(A) takes effect today. Local Rule 12(A) was amended by adding a sentence to require counsel to confer before arraignment. Local Rules in PDF format can be found here

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: The new Criminal Justice Act Plan for the Eastern District of Virginia has been approved by the Judicial Council of the Fourth Circuit Court and is in effect. For a pdf of the plan, click here

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: The Alexandria Division will not have Friday Dockets on 11/29/2019 and 12/27/2019.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Proposed Local Rule Amendments; Call for Public Comments. Read more >

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Dorian. We are fortunate here in Alexandria, to have been spared. THE NORFOLK AND NEWPORT NEWS COURTHOUSES WILL BE CLOSED FRI, 9/6 DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER ASSOCIATED W/HURRICANE DORIAN. Stay safe.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Effective Friday, June 28, the courthouse cafeteria is closing. There are talks underway about options for replacements, but until further notice, there will be no food or beverage service in the courthouse.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: The Alexandria Division docket set for Friday, August 30th will be advanced to Thursday, August, 29th. Please make note on your calendars.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Reaching the Courthouse by metro will be altered by major station improvements set to begin May 25.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: There are evidence presentation systems available at each courthouse enabling attorneys to present evidence simultaneously with their laptops to everyone in the courtroom through a system of interconnected LCD displays. Check here for availability and directions to follow to schedule use of the system
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Effective 3/21/19 new procedures in regard to attorneys docketing civil returns of service take effect. Please follow the link for procedures.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Hourly Rates and Maximum Case Compensation Increases for CJA Attorneys Effective 2/15/19
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Check out the EDVA manual on E-Filing Policies and Procedures. It provides procedures and instructions for using the ECF system to file documents with the Court and to view and retrieve docket sheets and documents for all civil, criminal and misc. cases in the system.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: The Eastern District of Virginia’s website will be unavailable from 6 pm Fri, 2/15 – 6 pm Sun, 2/17 for scheduled maintenance. In addition, the Court will be closed on Mon, 2/18 for President’s Day.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Operation of EDVA during the “lapse in appropriations.”
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: “So be good for goodness sake!” Peruse the EDVA Code of Pretrial and Trial Conduct developed by The American College of Trial Lawyers for those of us just starting out or are new to this district.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: All federal courts in the Eastern District of Virginia will be closed on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, for a National Day of Mourning to honor the memory of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: History: At the request of the Eastern District Court for the State of VA, the Historical Society of the US District Court for the EDVA was established to help preserve its rich history. The Society published a book, From Marshall to Moussaoui: Federal Justice in the Easter District of Virginia. You may order a copy online from the publisher here.

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Alert for CM/ECF— Access to Case Information and Documents by Third Party Services.
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ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: All EDVA courthouses will be closed on Monday, 12/24/18 and Monday, 12/31/18.The Alexandria Division will not have Friday dockets on 12/28/18.

ROCKET DOCKET UPDATE FROM DG: Proposed Local Rule Amendments/call for public comments: The Local Rules were last amended on April 17, 2018. At that time, Local Criminal Rule 12 was amended to reflect 11 to 14 days in the time allowed to file and respond to the listed pretrial motions. This made the time periods consistent with those in the Local Criminal Rule 47 (F) (1).
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DG Rocket Docket Update (the 1st in a series of updates from DiMuroGinsberg on happenings in the EDVA Rocket Docket): Effective 11/1/18 at Noon, new procedures in regard to the electronic filing of civil cases take effect.
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The Rocket Docket

Want to learn more about The Rocket Docket? We can provide the knowledge and experience you need to be prepared for Rocket Docket litigation.

Get your copy of “The Protocols of the Rocket Docket.”


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