The Economist recently published Electronic discovery: Of bytes and briefs. To summarize:
As technology changes the way people communicate, the legal system is stumbling to keep up. The “discovery” process, whereby both parties to a lawsuit share relevant documents with each other, used to involve physically handing over a few boxes of papers. But now that most documents are created and stored electronically, it is mostly about retrieving files from computers. This has two important consequences...
First, e-discovery is more intrusive than the traditional sort...
Second, e-discovery is more burdensome than the old sort.
I think I first mentioned ediscovery last year in Forensics Warnings from CIO Magazine. I am acquainting myself with the intrusiveness and burden of this process in preparation for some new work. The article mentioned the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), which published Navigating the Hazards of E-Discovery: A Manual for Judges in State Courts Across the Nation. This is a free .pdf. I am exceptionally interested in their next report:
Later this summer, we will release a publication on the implications of these changes for America’s businesses.
The IAALS article also mentions Suggested Protocol for
Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”) (.pdf), a Maryland document that elaborates on ediscovery.