“Special Masters Can Do the Heavy Lifting for E-Discovery”

Good! Paralegals & lawyers need help with the hard work of e-discovery:

"The impact of electronic data on modern litigation can hardly be overstated. More than 90 percent of information now is created and stored electronically.

"With most day-to-day business records created in electronic form, courts and litigants alike struggle to define e-discovery production requirements. Parties also must contend with production of vast and varied forms of electronic information. Because parties often make these initial decisions without judicial intervention, or even consultation among themselves, the production of electronic data serves as a particularly hot spot in litigation, and a source for much pretrial wrangling and motion practice. These disputes often result in avoidable waste of resources, including expenditures for duplicative document productions.

"Courts have been reluctant to impose detailed standards governing e-discovery. Courts are not in the business of sweating the details on discovery issues — even if the parties want them to do so. Resolution of contentious discovery issues is initially the obligation of counsel, who attempt to reach agreements through the meet-and-confer process, without involving the courts.

"The complexities associated with e-discovery, however — such as identifying electronic data sources, harvesting electronic data and reviewing and producing data — may require some form of judicial intervention. Courts may become bogged down in the details of voluminous electronic data collections, expending large amounts of time to become familiar with the minute details of the technology and document-management issues. Or courts may address e-data issues in broadbrush terms that prove unfair in their individual applications."