January 18, 2011 Articles

Knowing Your Way Around the Rule 26(f) Conference

With proper strategy and planning, the Rule 26(f) conference may be the most advantageous method of shaping the e-discovery process

By Alan Stevens

Rule 26(f) requires parties to "discuss any issues relating to preserving discoverable information, and to develop a proposed discovery plan that indicates the parties' views and proposals concerning any issues relating to disclosure or discovery of electronically stored information." With proper strategy and planning, the Rule 26(f) conference may be the most advantageous method of shaping the e-discovery process.

A litigant should use the Rule 26(f) conference to reduce the risk of spoliation claims through agreements on preservation, as well as reduce costs by limiting the scope of e-discovery through agreements as to the appropriate date ranges, custodians, systems, file types, and search terms. But achieving these results is almost entirely dependent on the attorney's preparation in three ways: know your client, know your opposition, and know your goals.

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