Thursday, April 26, 2012

Neutrals may ease anxiety over Florida’s new E-discovery rules

This podcast featuring my commentary just in from an interview with the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) Editorial Director, Robert Hilson: On March 7, the Florida Supreme Court heard argument on proposed E-discovery rules for state cases, the first such rules for the fourth largest state. The court has put them on fast track, and could approve them by the end of the year. The rules will affect the state’s diverse legal and corporate community and its 63,000 active attorneys. They aim to streamline case management, but they will also impose unfamiliar burdens on practitioners who are new to e-discovery. Neutral third parties, such as special masters, mediators and referees, may be able to assist in these instances. These so-called “neutrals” can shape discovery plans, allocate costs and suggest and create efficiencies that did not exist. Their services are not limited to grappling with old or new rules, or to discovery disputes. Lawrence Kolin, an Orlando lawyer and full-time mediator, chaired the Florida Bar committee that helped craft the e-discovery rules the Supreme Court is considering. In this ACEDS podcast, he tells how neutrals can help litigants navigate e-discovery pitfalls and resolve expensive battles before they arise. “I try to focus parties on the merits and try to get them off using e-discovery as a sword or shield,” says Kolin. “Mediation is an avenue that can present parties with significant cost-savings if performed early enough in the litigation.” Podcast introduction: Listen to .mp3 here: