Proclaiming the Benefits of Cooperation

Gabe’s Guide to the E-Discovery Universe calls it “activating the super powers.”

Bob Ambrogi says it “hopes to restore at least some degree of sanity to pretrial practice.”

The Sedona Conference calls it the “Cooperation Proclamation.”

As Ken Withers (Director of Judicial Education and Content for The Sedona Conference) explains in a paper entitled “E-Discovery and Combative Legal Culture: Finding A Way Out Of Purgatory,” the Cooperation Proclamation emerged from a panel where Richard Braman (Executive Director of The Sedona Conference) suggested a seemingly “utopian” concept where lawyers would actually collaborate with their adversaries. They could save the real “adversarialness” for the court room.

Ken continues in his paper:

“If the goal of discovery is to uncover facts to be used during settlement conferences or at trial, why not cooperate in the discovery process, and utilize advocacy and persuasion skills to argue the interpretation of the facts and the application of the facts to the law?”

We should find out more specifics about the Cooperation Proclamation on Tuesday, Oct. 7 when the Sedona Conference will host a “virtual press conference” at noon Eastern.

47E48049-56D8-4A82-9424-E3AC40AFDD0A.jpgIn the meantime, you can read the 7-page release (actually just 3 pages of substantive text) and view the slide deck.

The Cooperation Proclamation does describe idyllic scenarios that could happen in the e-discovery world and suggests helpful methods such as “utilizing internal ESI discovery ‘point persons’ to assist counsel in preparing requests and responses,” and “developing case-long discovery budgets based on proportionality principles.”

If the Cooperation Proclamation can succeed in bringing greater awareness to the often overwhelming responsibilities in e-discovery, then I am in full support.

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