Control Soaring E-Discovery Costs - Support LCJ

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 11:07

Your company is undoubtedly experiencing skyrocketing e-discovery costs, both those related to active litigation and those attributable to overpreservation. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are outdated. The situation in most state courts is also unsatisfactory. Until a broad-based package of rule reforms is enacted to comprehensively address the flaws in the federal and state systems, the costs and burdens of the litigation faced by your company will remain unreasonably high.

Given this situation, your company has a real need for a strong advocate. Lawyers for Civil Justice fills this role through its vigorous advocacy of comprehensive reform of the e-discovery rules. And, LCJ has demonstrated its effectiveness.

Until LCJ was founded in 1987, the defense bar did not play an active role in civil justice reform.  LCJ filled that need by bringing together in a single organization the nation’s defense counsel and corporate America.

LCJ’s major accomplishments this year include raising the public’s awareness of the overall cost of the American civil justice system and its effect on the American economy at a landmark congressional hearing on the costs and burdens of e-discovery.

It also submitted to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Federal Judicial Conference an analysis of the current system of discovery demonstrating its shortcomings and offered specific recommendations to address them.

Additionally, LCJ worked closely with various committees of the Federal Judicial Conference to advance necessary changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure covering a range of issues on discovery and e-discovery. It played an important role in advocating revisions to Rule 45, regarding the issuance of subpoenas, which should become effective December 1, 2013.

The most crucial task of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Federal Judicial Conference is to avoid a mere tweaking of the existing rules. LCJ plans to continue to encourage it to focus on developing an interrelated package of broad-based and bold amendments that accomplish the following:

  • Reevaluation of the premise and focus of discovery, especially e-discovery;
  • Development of clear preservation standards without creating new pre-litigation preservation duties inconsistent with federal authority and state common law; and,
  • Deterring runaway litigation costs by reasonable cost allocation rules premised on economic incentives.

LCJ’s FRCP advocacy program has already resulted in a beneficial and fundamental shift in the strategy pursued by the Rules Committee as was confirmed at its March 22-23 meeting. The Rules Committee determined that both its Discovery Subcommittee and the Duke Conference Subcommittee will carefully review some of the specific proposals put forth by LCJ and other organizations. LCJ’s proposals will be of direct benefit to your company by minimizing the cost and burden of e-discovery in the federal courts.

As part of LCJ’s state e-discovery initiative, LCJ conducted a nationwide survey on e-discovery that provides LCJ with information that will enable it to determine which states should be the focus of its discovery efforts for the remaining year. LCJ action teams are already working in priority states to pass rules and support legislation that improves the e-discovery laws in each targeted state. In the coming months, LCJ plans to continue this advocacy program.

As you can see, your company’s concerns about the soaring costs of e-discovery are being actively and successfully addressed by LCJ. It is in your company's interest to support LCJ so that it can continue and expand its work. Since the beginning of the year, LCJ has announced that three new companies have joined – BP America Inc., Altria Client Services Inc. and Honeywell Inc. Please call Barry Bauman, its executive director, at (202) 429-0045 if your company or law firm would like to explore membership.