Thirteen years ago, an Assistant United States Attorney wrote an article for the Arizona Bar Association titled, “Electronic Discovery Here to Stay.” The open paragraph started with this:
How many of you have sought to discover and admit into court electronic information from an opposing party? In my informal polls few of you can answer this question in the affirmative.
That was 2002. According to this anecdotal evidence, in a year when we had Blackberries and camera phones and people were sending millions if not billions of emails every day, e-discovery was still in its infancy. It wasn’t until 2006 – the year before the introduction of the iPhone – that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to address the burgeoning issue of e-discovery.
Look how far we’ve come.
In 2015, individuals and businesses are generating unfathomable amounts of electronic information on a daily basis. Now, e-discovery is a hot button issue, and one that has many litigators struggling to keep pace with the times. But, clearly, e-discovery is here to stay, and senior partners and first-year associates alike need to make sure that they are taking adequate measures to protect their clients’ data.
Trends in E-Discovery Practice
Since the Assistant United States Attorney’s article in 2002, we have seen a number of trends emerge in e-discovery practice. Some of these trends include:
- Companies are continuing to create mountains of digital data with little regard for the potential ramifications for litigation.
- Likewise, individuals – through texting, tracking apps, and social media – are leaving extraordinarily-detailed electronic paper trails that are increasingly becoming evidence in personal injury and other lawsuits.
- While data can be deleted, only rarely in practice is it truly destroyed. From discovery of metadata to forensic recovery of deleted files, with the right technology, there are potential treasure troves of detail available through e-discovery.
- When it was first introduced, e-discovery was expensive. While the outlays associated with thorough e-discovery are still high, through experience and technological advancements, the costs are gradually coming down. Today, software solutions can cut out much of the searching, sorting, and organizing that in 2002 could only be done manually.
- As data volume grows and systems become more sophisticated, law firms are becoming increasingly reliant on third-party vendors who specialize in trial preparation and e-discovery.
Of course, the biggest trend has simply been the proliferation of e-discovery in all types of litigation. Today, we imagine that the Assistant United States Attorney would be hard pressed to find an experienced litigator who hasn’t engaged in at least some form of e-discovery.
What are your thoughts on e-discovery? Do you agree that it is here to stay? And, what other trends have you seen in your practice? Let us know what you think.
Do You Need Help Managing E-Discovery? Cadence Legal Technologies Can Help
From effectively managing large volumes of electronically-stored information (ESI) to cutting the time it takes to analyze discovered ESI, at Cadence Legal Technologies we do it all. To get the help you need to manage your e-discovery, call (804) 916-1545 or contact us online today.