November 01, 2012 Articles

Ethical Issues in the Digital Age: Navigating E-Discovery Challenges

Recent shifts in technology have fundamentally altered the practice of discovery.

By Elizabeth E. McGinn and Kristopher Knabe – November 1, 2012

Today’s technological changes have fueled an explosive growth of electronically stored information (ESI). For attorneys, these shifts in technology have fundamentally altered the practice of discovery, presenting new and complicated ethical challenges not encountered in the paper world. To manage the e-discovery process, attorneys increasingly require assistance from vendors, contract attorneys, and in-house counsel. Many attorneys struggle to monitor these complex relationships, and sanctions for e-discovery violations have become increasingly common. See Dan H. Willoughby Jr., Rose Hunter Jones, Gregory R. Antine, “Sanctions for E-Discovery Violations: By the Numbers,” 60 Duke L.J. 789 (2010). Attorneys need to be aware of their ethical obligations during e-discovery and focus on developing skills that foster the effective management of this process so that they may “secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 1.

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