Would you like to do something about the skyrocketing costs of e-discovery?
Nothing can be more wasteful and counterproductive than lawyers arguing technical issues to a judge, none of whom fully understand the subject matter. In the long run, if a case looks like it is going to have a number of e-discovery issues to resolve, it is far more cost-effective to have a "neutral traffic cop," i.e. a Special Master or court-appointed expert, to sort out those issues.
As lawyer technologists, we are uniquely positioned to serve as Special Masters under FRCP 53 or its state equivalents, or as court-appointed experts, in order to help all the parties to a matter streamline the e-discovery process in a cost-effective way.
We can serve as an officer of the court to help court and counsel to identify and sample only the most likely relevant electronically stored information. Using best practices and in conformance with the amended federal rules regarding e-discovery, we also work with all counsel to devise a fair Discovery Plan as envisioned in Rules 16 and 27. We help them devise electronic discovery protocols; recommend search criteria and perform searches; provide advice on technology implementation choices (e.g., data sampling; native file format production; rolling productions; imaging protocols); establish criteria for a Web-hosted document repository for court and counsel; propose rulings or advise the court on electronic discovery motions and cost-sharing issues; and assist in the selection of qualified third-party vendors as needed.
As lawyers, we understand the litigation process, each of us having practiced law for over 20 years. We know what is expected of Special Masters and court-appointed experts. In a recent article entitled "E-Discovery Attorneys: Hot or Not?" that appeared in findlaw.com and published by Law Firm Inc., Seth Davis, an attorney and recruiter for Major, Lindsey & Africa, considered Tom Howe and Larry Johnson to be among "capable e-discovery attorneys" that number only "around 200 worldwide." Johnson has served as Judge Pro Tem in over 135 cases and as arbitrator in dozens of others.