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Survey: Companies Unprepared for EDD Rules

Almost half of corporate counsel say their companies were not prepared for new federal e-discovery rules that took effect in December 2006 under revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A fifth could not even say whether their companies were prepared. And in the year since the revised rules took effect, many in-house legal departments still misunderstand the requirements.

These are some of the findings of the LexisNexis Corporate Counsel Survey, which it conducted in October at the annual meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel. The results -- released to coincide with the one year anniversary of the revised rules -- "bring to light how unprepared corporate counsel attorneys felt they were when new amendments to the federal rules went into effect a year ago, and that challenges still exist," said lawyer and LexisNexis Applied Discovery VP Courtney Barton in releasing the survey. Among its other findings:

  • In-house counsel say their biggest challenges in complying with the rules are internal, with 27 percent citing poor communications with their IT departments, 25 percent citing budgetary restraints, 21 percent citing lack of buy-in from upper management and 9 percent citing difficulty in finding skilled e-discovery staff.
  • Confusion persists about the rules and may even be escalating. Seventy percent of corporate counsel erroneously say the rules require production of documents in their native file formats -- 27 percent more than said that in the prior year's survey.
  • The new rules have upped the discovery workload for in-house lawyers. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that their company has seen an increase of up to 20 percent in discovery workload.

Despite these negative findings, the survey concludes that many corporations are taking steps in the right direction to ensure that they are compliant with the rules. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they had a document-retention policy, two-thirds said they had implemented a formal legal holds policy, more than 40 percent said they had conducted employee training on compliance this year and a quarter said they had hired an EDD counsel or ESI coordinator. "Many corporate counsel have begun to take the fundamental steps necessary to ensure their companies are better prepared for discovery and litigation," said Barton.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 19, 2007 at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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