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Government LawyersThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers

June 2011, vol. 12, no. 4


Electronic Discovery

For some time now, the discovery landscape has moved away from paper and into the electronic world. Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is the subject of discovery in almost every case, from e-mails to databases and beyond.

While government lawyers may still use the hard copy method, more and more attorneys and would-be plaintiffs are requesting ESI in its many forms. Also, there are cases where the government attorney should be requesting ESI.

In response to this growing area of the law, Judge Holderman and Magistrate Judge Nolan, both in the Federal Court in the Northern District of Illinois, convened a committee of lawyers, specialists and clients to study the issues of electronic discovery. The Committee drafted “Principles” for lawyers to employ in the discovery process. For the first year of the program, the Principles were used by select judges in the Northern District of Illinois. Following surveys and edits to the Principles, the Principles were updated. The Committee sponsored both webinars and live seminars to educate the legal community on the topic of ESI and the Principles.

The Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program just launched their Web site. contains a wealth of information. First, the Committee’s Principles are provided. Many judges in the Seventh Circuit are using the Principles, in whole or in part. The participating judges are also listed. Second, the webinars hosted by the Committee are available for viewing. They range from an introduction of the Principles to an introduction of the mechanics of ESI. The site’s resources are outstanding, including news articles on the topic and an expansive listing of cases in the Seventh Circuit and seminal national cases by topic.

Other resources for those interested in e-discovery include:

• <> (Working groups of lawyers, experts, academics, and judges)

• <> (Electronic discovery reference model)

• <$file/eldscpkt.pdf> (Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges)

If you haven’t gotten familiar with ESI, you should and these free resources are a good place to start. ■

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