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Archive for October 8th, 2007

Article details how changes to FRCP affects IT practices

Posted by rjbiii on October 8, 2007

Computerworld has a nice primer on the new rules and their effects on IT departments:

If you’re an IT professional who’s also interested in legal affairs, there has never been a better time to blend the two worlds. With the amendments in December 2006 to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), IT has become inextricable from the discovery process of corporate litigation.

“IT has to be a part of most of these matters because, regardless of whether it’s sexual harassment or slip-and-fall, it all involves some level of electronic information,” says Brian Babineau, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc.

In fact, in an ESG survey in August, 44% of 568 IT and records management professionals polled said they had a dedicated or specialized IT staff to help with the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI), whereas only 4% said they had specialized e-discovery attorneys. “IT has to dedicate people to the lawyers,” Babineau says.

The article does a nice job explaining the basics. One thing I’d like to point out is the the last paragraph from the excerpt above. Although I’ve sometimes been quite unimpressed with the progress made by IT staff inside major corporations, I’ve always thought that the legal industry itself had been paying even less attention. On the surface the statistics (44% v. 4% specialization of e-discovery between the professions) reinforces that perception. I cannot say, however, whether the 4% is an accurate indication of the attention the issue has received, as I’m not sure what criteria was used for labeling an “e-discovery attorney,” and whether the comparison could truly be called “apples to apples.” But I think it still speaks to the relatively little attention the matter has received, especially considering its importance and to irresistible trends that wil make it ever more a part of litigation and dispute resolution.

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