Ever since becoming chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois four years ago, James Holderman has listened to the same lament from business executives and attorneys about the state of electronic discovery: It's expensive, burdensome and time consuming for everyone involved. Over and over, he heard about the need to minimize that burden.
In 2009, Holderman, along with Federal Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan, created the 7th Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program. The pilot program is not the first effort to address the problems with e-discovery. But Holderman and the large committee of legal professionals involved in the project have attracted nationwide attention for their novel approach to solving the problem.
Phase Two began in July. It will continue for at least a year and uses a larger sample size. The extended length will accommodate slow-moving cases and allow the committee to better analyze the benefits of their principles as well as adjustments that still need to be made.
The continually growing committee has lofty goals. Although it's still quite new, Holderman believes people are drawn to the program because they see the possibility of a solution.
The cooperation and proportionality principles underscore the need to keep requests and costs "reasonably targeted, clear, and as specific as practicable." The education principles briefly explain the duty to become and remain knowledgeable about e-discovery.
Making a Difference