Although well over 90% of information is created electronically, discovery of electronic data during civil litigation is still a bewildering process for many general, solo and small law firm practitioners.
In our visits with solo and small firm attorneys at state and local bar associations across the country, we often ask what experience they may have with e-discovery. On many occasions we hear "None! I've managed to avoid it so far.....", or "We've just done smaller cases, so we print out the emails and produce them on paper."
Those comments are almost always followed by a sheepish "...but I know I need to learn this stuff." On the heels of the 2006 Federal rules changes, 30 states have adopted the federal FRCP rules in whole or in part. Florida is now on the 'fast track' to rules adoption, and other states will follow, increasing the likelihood for all firms that an opposing party will propose an ESI agreement and a request for document production in digital form.
Craig Ball's article "E-Discovery for Everybody" - known as the EDna Challenge - brought the challenges of e-discovery in smaller matters to light back in 2009. Craig challenged the industry to deliver affordable, user-friendly tools designed for desktop ediscovery--tools that preserve metadata, offer efficient workflow and ably handle the common file formats that account for nearly all of the ESI seen in day-to-day litigation. The challenge laid out in his article became the inspiration behind Digital WarRoom Pro.
The American Bar Association just released a new publication to address the growing interest in affordable, easy-to-use e-discovery tools. The new book "Electronic Discovery for Small Cases" by Bruce A. Olson and Tom O'Connor, is a goldmine of information. The book squarely addresses the Small Case Dilemma, in the context of an industry that caters to high-volume, large budget litigation cases. The early chapters of the book provide a brief background on how approaches to e-discovery have evolved, and promotes a cooperative approach via communication with opposing counsel, and how to make best use of the meet and confer process.
The remainder of the book provides detailed information on a wide variety of affordable tools for collection, processing, search, review and production of documents for litigation or other legal matters. "Electronic Discovery for Small Cases" will quickly become a go-to book on the shelves of large firms that handle smaller scope matters, as well as the expected small firm and solo provider audience.
The book is available for purchase on the ABA website (follow the title link above). Or, purchase DWR Pro from Digital WarRoom in the next 60 days, and you'll get the book with our compliments!