“Covering the Bases of Electronic Discovery”

A truly excellent article outlining the interplay between inside and outside counsel regarding e-discovery. Michael Gold (partner) and Ryan Mauck (associate) at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro author a superb overview of how an e-discovery project should flow and who has what responsibilities on both sides of a litigation matter.

I especialy appreciate the first paragraph which does a fine job of listing the responsibilities of today’s lawyers regarding e-discovery:

“Effective compliance with the new rules requires:

  1. a fundamental understanding of how digital technology works,
  2. sufficient skill to manage the identification, harvesting and production of electronic information,
  3. an ability to communicate with:
    a) the court,
    b) opposing counsel,
    c) outside litigation counsel,
    d) and the client”

Other key quotes from the article include:

One of the most critical skills is the ability to understand every dimension of the e-discovery process, from the creation of discoverable information to the business use of such information and — this is where many lawyers will falter — to the effective addressing of e-discovery issues with the client and the coordination of e-discovery between in-house and outside litigation counsel.

One of the most important steps in e-discovery takes place when outside counsel develops an effective working relationship with the client’s IT staff. In “traditional” litigation, you have the usual roster of players. With e-discovery, there are several more — the client’s IT staff, your outside e-discovery expert (who may be retained by in-house counsel or outside counsel), and, of course, the opposing party’s IT staff and outside e-discovery expert.