The Role of Special Master in E-Discovery


My good friend Victoria VanBuren recently posted a blog on Karl Bayer’s Blog about Dispute Resolution concerning my article in Atlantic Coast In-House Article about experience as a Special Master. You may find this excerpt of interest:

Before I got into law, I had a career as a computer programmer, received a master’s degree in computer science, and taught graduate courses in computer and information systems. When I started my law practice in 1978, I was already deeply involved in electronic discovery in its infancy.

Although fortunate enough to be armed with my own technical background, I have concluded that most lawyers do not really understand computer systems, the Internet, and e-mail, except to how to use them. As a result, many lawyers turn to discovery consultants to help them recognize what they should look for and where during discovery.

Likewise, judges confronted with arguments concerning electronic discovery and electronic evidence will turn to special masters with expertise in this area for help in assessing the dispute.

With more than 90 percent of the information presently created in electronic form, discovery of e-mail and electronic records has completely transformed litigation. The need for special masters has never been greater.
A special master in electronic discovery cases usually:

  • conducts interviews of IT employees;
  • reviews software;
  • examines data;
  • searches websites;
  • holds hearings on various disputes;
  • assists judges by reviewing motions for summary judgment; and
  • has private meetings with judges.

You are welcome to read the entire article.

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