E-Discovery Guidelines: Collaboration, Counsel-Client Knowledge, and Identified Requests

Preservation, including the wording of legal holds, is an important electronic discovery factor to consider when implementing e-discovery guidelines and best practices.  Courts expect litigants to begin the process of preserving relevant data as soon as litigation is foreseeable – often before litigation begins.  Clearly worded legal hold notices help to ensure the integrity of the preservation effort.  In addition, courts are expecting greater collaboration between parties when it comes to e-discovery, along with clearly defined electronic discovery expectations.  Parties to litigation often find it useful to engage the services of an e-discovery company to assist in the implementation of guidelines and best practices, and also to further collaboration with other parties.

e-discovery-guidelines-collaborationCollaboration

Courts have consistently indicated that they expect more cooperation and collaboration between litigants regarding e-discovery.  Recent recommendations for changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure clearly indicate that e-discovery guidelines should include a thorough discussion to outline electronic discovery expectations when the parties to litigation “meet and confer.”

Counsel-Client Knowledge

One important e-discovery guideline is that counsel should become familiar with client information technology and retention policies as soon as litigation is anticipated.  Knowledge of the client’s information technology and ESI sources is important for initiating the preservation process.  Understanding the scope and expected format of production is also important.  Courts are expecting counsel to have this information available and ready to discuss at the preliminary conference between parties.

Clearly Identified Requests

Requests for production of electronic information should identify the types of information sought and the date range that applies to the discovery.  Another e-discovery guideline to follow is to clearly state the underlying subject matter of the request.  Counsel should avoid boilerplate language, which may make the request unclear.  In objections to any e-discovery request, counsel should identify the scope and limitations of responding to the request in clear, concise language.

Judges are increasingly demanding that litigants make better use of the “meet and confer” conference in an effort to promote cooperation and collaboration in e-discovery.  Many litigants find it beneficial to have their e-discovery vendor attend the “meet and confer” in order to further the discussion.  Advanced Discovery, in this series of e-discovery guidelines, offers suggestions for avoiding sanctions during litigation.  Comments regarding these guidelines are welcome and encouraged.  For more information about e-discovery guidelines, visit www.advancediscovery.com.

 

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