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Live Blogging at Georgetown's Advanced E-Discovery Institute: Day 2 -- Preparing for a Meet & Confer

Created on December 7, 2012

Date/Time: 10:00 - 11:15am (EST), Friday, December 7, 2012
Participants: Moderator -- Laura M. Kibbe; Panelists -- Stephanie A. "Tess" Blair, Gerald G. Boccuti, Seth A. Katz, Mandi Ross

3 key objectives when meeting with client before the meet and confer

  • Are there any discovery issues? (spoliation, inaccessible data, etc.)
  • Outside counsel needs to know the technical pain points for the client (data infrastructure, data types, etc.)
  • How much is the client willing to compromise?

Primary factors to be aware before heading into a meet and confer

  • Be prepared and have a plan. This will enable you to maybe negotiate more favorable parameters for your side. One part of being prepared is discussing the case with the client and learning the ins and outs of their technical environment and what data sources will likely be needed to be collected.
  • Know your judge and how the court will resolve e-discovery issues
  • In most cases, its not a good idea to bring the client to the meet and confer because the client might be passionate/more unwilling to compromise during the conference.
  • Since meet and confers should be iterative, attorneys can benefit by initially not bringing an IT representative to the meet and confer. This leaves attorneys an out to tell the opposing side that they will look into the technical issue and see if its possible of not, thus enabling the party to assess the consequences to agreeing to such terms.
E-Discovery Beat's Key Takeaway

Like it or not, legal teams under the FRCP must meet and confer to negotiate a discovery plan without the court having to micro-manage e-discovery. Parties need to be educated to know what to look for and what to ask key custodians and IT before coming to the meet and confer conferences. As a result, parties will be more prepared to argue for preservation parameters that best fit their own needs.