Since 2009, the 7th Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program Committee has been conducting a multi-year, multi-phase process to develop, implement, evaluate and improve pretrial litigation procedures that would provide fairness and justice to all parties while reducing the cost and burden of e-discovery consistent with Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
The Committee developed and promulgated “Principles Relating to the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information” (Principles), which have been adopted in live cases by trial judges throughout the 7th Circuit. The Principles’ goals are to encourage and incentivize early and meaningful discussion about e-discovery issues before they have a chance to grow into worse problems, such as allegations of spoliation; to require competence on technical issues that come before the court; and to generally promote education on e-discovery among the bar.
- 78 percent reported improved cooperation (22 percent greatly)
- 75 percent reported that the Principles increased or greatly increased the fairness of the e-discovery process (19 percent greatly)
- 66 percent reported that the Principles increased ability to obtain relevant documents
The judges reported no negative impacts.
Under the principle, the liaison can be anyone who is available and competent to discuss the technology issues that are the subject of the dispute. The liaison can even be the lawyer in the case. But a lawyer who lacks the technical competence must either acquire such competence or involve a liaison who possesses the necessary technical expertise.