Rule 26(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that parties meet early in a litigation to negotiate an eDiscovery plan that will reduce costs and burdens for each side. In 2009, the Sedona Conference issued its own proclamation encouraging such cooperation.
Still, many lawyers enter eDiscovery without a detailed understanding of their client’s ESI or a specific execution plan in mind. That’s a mistake that often proves to be costly.
Taking the time to create a detailed plan in preparation for a 26(f) meet-and-confer is one of the most impactful things you can do to save your clients time and money. Not only does it make eDiscovery more efficient, it can also help reduce discovery disputes and—most importantly—get parties to the litigation’s most relevant information faster.
There are plenty of measures you can take to prepare for these conferences, but most of them fall under three basic goal buckets:
- Understand—and plan to be open and honest about—client data and data-systems.
- Create frameworks for handling disagreements.
- Understand and evaluate opportunities for cost savings.
Here is a brief excerpt from our 26(f) conference checklist that we compiled as a resource for lawyers beginning the 26(f) process:
1. Define relevant custodians (i.e. who has access to discoverable information)
2. Determine what types of discoverable information are available in:
- Local computers/hard drives
- Cloud storage and remote servers
- Billing, purchasing, and/or invoicing software
- Social media, websites, and/or mobile devices
3. Investigate and understand your client’s IT structure:
- Email set-up (Outlook, Gmail, Office 365, etc)
- Be aware of any data retention policy that is in place
To get the complete checklist, along with everything you need to set comprehensive ground rules for eDiscovery, download our “Winning the Meet-and-Confer” prep kit. It will help you reduce costs and risk during the eDiscovery meet and confer process.
The kit is a bundled PDF with the following documents:
✔ Meet-and-Confer Checklist
Use this step-by-step guide to track your preparedness for negotiating a smooth eDiscovery process.
✔ Common Production Specifications
Get familiar with the file formats and data fields you may request or be asked to produce.
✔ How Many Pages in a GB?
If you know the file size totals for your collection, this reference card will help you estimate how many pages you’d have to review. Useful for cost estimates and proportionality arguments.