We recently prepared a summary of the top developments and trends in electronic discovery that came out of 2011.  Given the evolving nature of this area of the law, understanding the key events from last year can help with this year’s e-discovery challenges.  To see what made our list, click here.

Among the highlights:

  • "Computer-assisted review" gained traction as a potential way to reduce costs and increase accuracy during document review, resulting this year in the first-known judicial opinion recognizing computer-assisted review as an acceptable method to search for relevant electronically stored information (ESI) during discovery – a development we see playing a key role in how new technology will be leveraged to address budget and timeline concerns going forward. 
  • Information governance and the need for strong records management policies saw increased discussion last year – a development we see leading to more businesses considering what steps they can take before litigation arises to reduce the volume of potentially discoverable ESI, particularly as new sources of ESI emerge as discovery targets.
  • Discovery obligations meet data protection obligations on a global scale –  The Sedona Conference® issued a timely and important resource, which we reported on, with an eye toward multinational companies facing a conflict between the requirements of U.S. discovery rules and foreign privacy laws, particularly as the European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules.
  • National civil rule reform is still a ways off from happening, but many federal and state courts are developing their own local e-discovery orders, protocols, and pilot programs to attempt to make e-discovery more efficient and less costly – a development we see continuing this year