Note to in-house legal teams: The federal judiciary wants to see attorneys work together earlier during e-discovery disputes—and they aren’t afraid to take action for intentional misconduct, either—according to the 6th Annual Federal Judges Survey.
The latest opinions from U.S. District and Magistrate Judges indicate that in-house legal teams have been shirking their duties regarding meet-and-confer negotiations, and more cooperation is necessary to reduce the time-suck and costs associated with discovery.
“The necessity of meaningful conferences with opposing counsel and an interactive discussion with the judge in a Rule 16 conference about the scope of discovery and privacy implications is the key takeaway from this report,” Said Hon. Xavier Rodriguez, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Texas.
In the survey, the judges were in unanimous agreement that “with more effective e-discovery processes and a greater willingness to cooperate, parties would reduce costs and not sacrifice defensibility.” And regarding how parties should cooperate, judges made the following suggestions:
- Candidly represent e-discovery demands
- Work together to identify reasonable and proportional e-discovery parameters
- Proactively communicate between parties before a meet-and-confer
“[The survey] demonstrates that judges expect heightened cooperation among counsel in the discovery process, including more involvement with in-house legal counsel,” said Hon. Elizabeth Preston Deavers, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Ohio.
To read the full report, including all of the survey answers, download the 6th Annual Federal Judges Survey now.