Litigators today must be prepared to collect, review and share an influx of electronically stored information (ESI) at the start of a case. Often, this data originates from many different places; emails, social media posts and online accounts are just a few of the ESI sources that provide relevant case data. The ubiquity of ESI makes e-discovery a central factor in cases of all sizes and types, not just class action and complex litigation.

Litigators who don’t properly handle e-discovery face a protracted and cumbersome process that’s prone to costly errors and may lead to federally imposed sanctions. Yet despite the mounting consequences of e-discovery failures, attorneys aren’t doing enough to evolve their e-discovery practices. Today’s law departments need to adopt a proactive approach to e-discovery. Having strong e-discovery strategies doesn’t just enable litigators to fulfill information requests – it also provides them with a window into information that can be extremely useful to the outcome of a case.

Attorneys not up to speed with e-discovery

The legal industry’s ESI problem largely stems from a lack of attorney engagement with e-discovery procedures. In a recent Exterro study of judges and attorneys, nearly two-thirds of respondents agreed that attorneys aren’t equipped with the knowledge to meet client e-discovery needs. When it came to explaining this knowledge gap, however, judges and attorneys differ on the root cause. While most judges trace the problem to a lack of cooperation between parties, the majority of attorneys point to a different issue: Lawyers not only lack experience with e-discovery – they’re also reluctant to learn about it.