** This blog series is intended to introduce new eDiscovery professionals to the litigation process and litigation terminology. Click here, here, here, here and here to go to the first five posts in the series.**
There are a couple of mechanisms employed early in a case that are aimed at efficiency – that is, moving the case along quickly, avoiding unnecessary costs, and minimizing time and effort spent on certain aspects of the case. Those mechanisms are:
o Meet and Confer: This is a meeting between the parties early in the case that is required by several courts (including the Federal Court). The purpose of the meeting is for opposing parties to agree on several issues so that there is a clear understanding of expectations and so that burden and costs to both parties are minimized.
In 2006 the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended and now provide guidelines for specific electronic discovery issues to be addressed in the Meet and Confer. Among other things, the amended rules direct that opposing counsel should try to come to agreement on the scope and form(s) of production and on procedures for handling inadvertent production of privileged documents.
Note: Attorneys need to be prepared for the meet and confer! They need to understand their client’s technology infrastructure and they need to have a handle on the potential universe of relevant materials. This information helps them to determine what is reasonable to ask for and what is reasonable to agree to in the meet and confer. This is an opportunity for litigation technology professionals: they can participate in collecting information from clients and in educating attorneys with regard to technology issues and choices.
o Case Management Conference: This is a meeting between the parties and the judge to whom the case is assigned. It is aimed primarily at identifying essential issues in the case and taking steps to avoid unnecessary, burdensome or duplicative discovery / pre-trial activities. It usually takes place after the Meet and Confer, and it is hoped, therefore, that the parties have already come to agreement on some of the issues to be decided in the conference. After the conference, the judge issues a case management order that includes directives for management of the case.
These case events are aimed at making case preparation activities as efficient as possible, and they have become more significant in recent years as organizations have seen litigation costs skyrocket with the growth of electronic discovery. It is to the advantage of all parties when rules and guidelines are established that limit burden and costs.
In next week’s post, we’ll start discussing discovery – the part of a lawsuit that is most relevant to most litigation technology professionals. Please let us know if there are specific topics you’d like to see covered in this blog series.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.
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