Judge Allison D. Burroughs

Federal Judicial Service

Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.

Nominated by Barack Obama on July 31, 2014, to a seat vacated by Rya Zobel; Confirmed by the Senate on December 16, 2014, and received commission on December 19, 2014.


Middlebury College BA 1983
University of Pennsylvania Law School, JD 1988


Boston Courthouse

John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2300
Boston, Massachusetts 02210


17, 5th floor

John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse - Boston, MA
John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse - Boston, MA

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Judicial Assistant Terry Manning    
Courtroom Clerk Karen Folan 617-748-4232 karen_folan@mad.uscourts.gov
Docket Clerk Caetlin McManus 617-748-9041 caetlin_mcmanus@mad.uscourts.gov
Court Reporter Kelly Mortellite   mortellite@gmail.com
Chambers Procedures/Standing Orders/Sample Orders
USDC Judicial Forum Survey

Civil - Case Management

Q4: What, if any, inquiries do you make about settlement prospects and/or interest in mediation at the initial scheduling conference?

A4: I inform the parties about the opportunity for court based mediation, but generally do no more than that.

Q6: What schedule do you set at the initial scheduling conference?

A6: I always set a schedule through fact discovery. I also set a schedule for summary judgment and/or expert discovery if it is clear that either or both of things is likely to happen.

Q8: If so, when do you hold status conferences?

A8: At the end of fact discovery unless it is clear that things are on track and there is already a schedule in place for summary judgment and/or expert discovery.

Q9: If so, what issues do you address at status conferences?

A9: I check that fact discovery is complete, set schedules for summary judgment and expert discovery as appropriate, ask again about mediation and set a trial date if dispositive motions are not going to be filed.

Civil - Discovery

Q10: Other than the requirements under Local Rule 16.1(D) for addressing certain discovery topics in the parties' joint statement, what, if any, discovery issues do you like counsel to be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?

A10: None, but I generally, absent special circumstances, expect a case to be trial ready in a year. Thus, I ask the parties to think about deadlines and time frames with this in mind.

Q11: What, if any, issues related to electronically stored information should counsel be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?

A11: If there is any issue foreseeable to the parties, I expect them to raise it at the scheduling conference.

Q12: If the parties intend to file a proposed protective order, do you require any particular format and/or a specific time for doing so?

A12: No. A proposed protective order must, however, include the following language: "The Court may allow, after notice to the parties, the disclosure of any document or information covered by this Protective Order, and may modify this Protective Order at any time in the interests of justice, and to ensure that any proceeding before this Court is fair, efficient, and consistent with the public interest."

Q13: Under what circumstances would you consider a bifurcation of discovery ?

A13: This is not my preference as I think it leads to inefficiencies. That being said, I would consider it if the bifurcation concerned two largely unrelated areas/topics that were unlikely to overlap.

Q14: Given the new requirement under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) regarding the proportionality of the scope of discovery, what, if any inquiry do you make about this issue at the initial scheduling conference?

A14: None generally, but I expect the parties to raise it if such an issue is foreseeable. I also might raise it if the parties resist my practice of trying to have cases trial ready in a year.

Q15: Other than the requirement that the parties confer in good faith to narrow the issues before filing any discovery motion under Local Rule 37.1(A), what, if any, additional requirements do you make of counsel before considering discovery motions?

A15: I sometimes, depending on the case, ask the parties to begin by filing letters rather than immediately jumping to motion practice. This way I can quickly resolve motions/issues that don't actually require full briefing which can be a big time saver. If the issue cannot be addressed in a 2 page or less letter, however, a motion should be filed.

Q16: Typically, do you resolve discovery motions or do you refer them to the magistrate judge?

A16: I typically resolve them, but frequent fliers may be referred to a magistrate judge.

Q18: Please describe your general practice regarding the resolution of discovery motions.

A18: I try to resolve them quickly. I don't like the idea of discovery motions holding up the forward progress of a case. If I can't get to them, I might refer a motion to a magistrate judge.

Q19: Under what circumstances will you consider emergency motions regarding discovery matters?

A19: I will do this unless the parties in a particular case start to abuse it.

Q21: What, if any, expert discovery deadlines do you set at the initial scheduling conference? When do you typically set a schedule for the filing of Daubert motions?

A21: I set expert discovery deadlines at the initial conference if it is obvious that the case will require them. I instruct the parties to notify me if this changes so that I can do a new scheduling order that doesn't include time for expert discovery. I set a Daubert hearing once I have the motions if it appears necessary. If the parties tell me at the status conference at the end of fact discovery that they need expert discovery, I'll set a schedule then.

Q22: If the case involves a pro se litigant, do you typically have any different practices in regard to scheduling conferences, status conferences or discovery matters?

A22: With a pro se litigant, I try to limit the number of times I require them to appear in court - mostly for their convenience. I'll also entertain requests to waive the next meet and confer process.

Civil - Dispositive Motions

Q23: Other than the presumptive pages limits for memoranda under Rule 7.1(b), do you have any other requirements or preferences about the filing of dispositive motions?

A23: I encourage the parties to adhere to the state court practice of filing a joint statement of disputed (or undisputed) facts such that I can see everyone's view of each proposed fact in one document.

Q25: Do you typically allow reply briefs and/or surreply briefs?

A25: Yes, when the parties request it and the request seems reasonable, although I do encourage the parties to keep them as brief as possible.

Q26: If you allow reply and/or surreply briefs, do you impose a page limit?

A26: Yes. 10 pages, absent leave to file a longer reply or sur reply.

Q27: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions to dismiss?

A27: Only if I think that argument would be helpful.

Q28: Do you typically hold a hearing on summary judgment motions?

A28: Only if I think that argument would be helpful.

Q29: If you typically hold hearings on dispositive motions, what, if any, time limits do you impose on counsel for their arguments?

A29: It's a rule of reasonableness depending on the case. I don't impose time limits, but appreciate efficiency.

Q30: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you allow the filing of post-argument briefs?

A30: If the parties requested to do so and I thought that it would be helpful.

Civil - Patent Cases

Criminal Matters

Q37: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions for review of a detention order?

A37: I will do it if the parties request it, it could be helpful, and the outcome is at all in question.

General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

Q39: Do you require the filing of a trial brief?

A39: Yes, in civil cases. I don't always require them in criminal cases, but I do prefer to get them.

Q41: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in criminal cases? If so, what issues do you want counsel to be able to address at each conference in addition to those addressed under Local Rule 117.1(a)?

A41: I typically hold them just to get me and everyone else focused on the case and to get a schedule in place unless it is going to be a plea. I often do these by phone.

Q42: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in civil cases?

A42: Since COVID, I ask the parties to submit a proposed schedule and to let me know if they object to me setting a schedule based on the written submission. I will schedule a call or conference if there is no joint proposed schedule, the proposed schedule seems long or raises any other issue that I feel warrants a conversation.

Q51: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, what particular form is required?

A51: Courtesy copies are not required, but I do like to have a hard copy of exhibits at trial.

Q52: Do you require trial exhibits to be pre-marked? If so, please describe your practice?

A52: Yes. No set practice, but I find that it moves the trial along more efficiently. I generally tell the parties to pre-mark exhibits whether they are agreed to or not.

Criminal - Scheduling Trials

Q53: Typically, when do you set a trial date in criminal cases?

A53: As soon as practicable - which depends on whether people anticipate a motion to suppress or other sort of dispositive motion.

Q54: Typically, when do you set a trial date in civil cases?

A54: At the end of fact discovery or when dispositive motions are resolved. If the parties ask for an earlier date or it is easy to estimate when the case will be trial ready, I'll do it sooner.

Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?

A55: I prefer to try 10-4 with a lunch break and an afternoon break.

Criminal - Jury Selection

Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.

A57: I question for cause, ask about topics I think are important or that are requested by counsel. Once I have cleared as many jurors and alternatives as I need, the parties alternate peremptory challenges. I don't put the jurors in the box and I allow the lawyers to strike anyone they want, in any order.

Q58: Under what circumstances, if any, have you or would you consider using a juror questionnaire?

A58:I prefer not to use them, although I have used them and will consider it in appropriate cases.

Q60: Have you or would you consider allowing attorney voir dire?

A60: Yes, I generally allow very limited follow up by attorneys

General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

Q64: How many rounds of examination do you typically allow?

A64: Direct, cross, re-direct, re-cross.

Q66: Do you have any preferences about the use of chalks during openings and closings?

A66: I don't like them during openings, but will allow if they are not objected to. I'm more amenable to them during closings.

Q67: Do you have any particular practice in regard to jury charge conferences? If so, please describe it.

A67: No particular practice, but I try to do them as early as possible. I really dislike making last minute changes to a charge.

Q69: Will you consider counsel's proposals of a special verdict form? If so, should it be in any particular format?

A69: Yes. I will consider them. They should provide them in the form they are proposing go to the jury.

Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

Q74: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you consider an expedited sentencing?

A74: A case where a defendant is potentially looking at a sentence shorter than the 12 weeks and where there is no objection by either party.

Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

Q79: Order #2

A79: Respondent skipped this question.

Q80: Order #3

A80: Respondent skipped this question.

Q81: If there is any other guidance about your court practices and preferences that you would like to share with counsel that has not been solicited by any of the prior questions, please provide it here.

A81: Ask for fact discovery extensions before deadline passes, file unredacted copies as exhibits to redacted, no speaking objections, objections limited to 3 words, shorter is better for so many things, get your associates or more junior attorneys participating as often as possible.

Post-Pandemic Practices

Q82: As of Fall 2022, are there any case events that you routinely conduct via Zoom in civil cases? If so, what are they?

A82: No. But I don't require Rule 16 conferences to be in person (which I formerly did).

Q83: As of Fall 2022, are there any case events that you routinely conduct via Zoom in criminal cases? If so, what are they?

A83: No. But I will do the initial status (after the case comes up from the Magistrate Judge) over the telephone.

Q84: As of Fall 2022, if there are case events that you routinely conduct in person that you would consider conducting via Zoom, what are those case events and under what circumstances would you consider conducting them via Zoom?

A84: There are things that I typically do over the phone that I would use Zoom for in certain cases. For example, when I am trying to set a trial date in a large civil case, it's much easier to do over Zoom when I can see who is speaking.