Thursday, February 12, 2009

E-Discovery for Government Agencies Increases in Size, Scope

IE Discovery released results yesterday of its 2008 Benchmarking Study of Electronic Discovery Practices for Government Agencies. The survey is designed to gather opinions and experiences from various government attorneys, records managers, paralegals, and information technology (IT) personnel regarding their perception of e-discovery preparedness within their government agency.

“This year’s survey results confirm the upward trend in the size, scope and effort required to deal with electronic discovery,” said Chris May, CEO of IE Discovery. The survey participants reported an increase of 8% in the time they spend dealing with electronic discovery issues, with 71% of respondents spending up to 25% of their time on these issues. More than 30% of agencies have either hired or designated an “e-discovery attorney.”

Participants also reported an increase in the percentage of the litigation budget that is now used for electronic discovery, although most participants did not list budgets as their biggest challenge. “Internal systems and processes” was listed most often (38%), followed by “Communication with the IT department” (20%); “Finding good e-discovery staff with the right mix of IT and legal knowledge” (18%); “Finding the budget to put systems and tools into place” (15%); and “Getting buy-in from upper management” (10%).

“Our participants reported increased comfort with many aspects of the electronic discovery planning process with significant increases in confidence in the areas of document retention, collection and chain of custody,” said Bill Detamore, IE Discovery’s Chief Legal Officer. Survey results overall show a recognition of the importance of planning, as participants indicated increased efforts in the standardization of litigation holds and 30(b)(6)-witness designation and preparation, as well as meet-and-confer protocols.

The survey was conducted in over a 9-day period from Wednesday, September 24, 2008 to Tuesday, October 7, 2008. A total of 77 government attorneys from 31 government agencies participated.

An executive summary of survey results can be found at

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