Trivia: E-Discovery has been around as long as there have been computers (think mainframes). However, most of us did not become aware of e-discovery until the late 1990s when corporations began having more data stored on their networks than paper in file cabinets (think Windows 3.1/ Windows 95). The “rules” were updated in 2006 after several years of litigation support professionals trying to “figure things out.”
Now, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) are about to be updated again. According to this recent article at Forbes.com, the comment period is now open for the proposed changes. The article conveniently links to the proposed ammendments and other resources essential to understanding this topic.
Where to Comment and the Road to a Finish. The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee has posted the formal proposal here, which is also where the public can submit comments by February 15, 2014. After the comment period has ended, the Advisory Committee will reconvene, consider the public comments, and revise (or not revise) accordingly. That package will then be passed on to the Standing Committee, which, if it approves the changes, then sends it on to the full Judicial Conference. From there, the changes go to the Supreme Court, which can accept or reject them. If accepted, Congress then has six months to reject, modify, or take no action on the amendments. If Congress takes no action, the proposal becomes part of the FRCP in December 2015.
A simplified flowchart of the long and winding road of rules reform:
Public Comment → Advisory Committee → Standing Committee → Judicial Conference → Supreme Court → Congress → Final Rules
Another good resource that discusses the continuing importance of electronic discovery and the rules that govern our processes is this podcast from the ESI Report.