Preserving, collecting, culling, reviewing and producing electronically stored information (ESI) is costly and time-consuming. If not managed properly, discovery of ESI can break a litigation budget. One critical aspect of managing the e-discovery process and budget is the ESI protocol. Parties who manage to negotiate and execute a detailed ESI protocol are more likely to streamline the ESI discovery process and avoid costly disputes and unnecessary duplication of efforts.
Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires parties to meet and confer regarding discovery issues at the outset of a case and to prepare a “discovery plan” that addresses “any issues about disclosure or discovery of electronically stored information, including the form or forms in which it should be produced.” In order for a discovery plan to be effective, however, it must address and resolve a number of specific issues. These include: