Mediating eDiscovery Disputes – Allison Skinner’s Brilliant Idea

02 November 2009 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Last week I posted as a guest blog at on Karl Bayer’s Blog about Dispute Resolution concerning Allison Skinner. Victoria VanBuren who works with Karl has posted a guest blog on this site about the Enron database.

Allison O. Skinner is an attorney and full-time mediator at Sirote & Permutt and written two outstanding articles about resolving eDiscovery disputes as a Mediator to develop a “Mediated Discovery Plan.” What a great way to help parties take advantage of the mediation process to reduce the out of control costs of eDiscovery and at the same time reach an amicable plan to deal with eDiscovery. Allison has setup a great model that will surely be widely adopted.

Allison’s Strategy

In a great article entitled “The Role of the Mediation for ESI (Electronically Stored Information) Disputes” Allison describes a straight-forward roadmap of how mediation can resolve eDiscovery disputes. She lists a number of benefits:

• self-direct workable solutions,
• define scope parameters,
• determine relevancy,
• create timelines for production or “e-depositions,”
• propose confidential compromises,
• create efficiencies with a mutual discovery plan,
• set guidelines for asserting violations of the plan,
• create boundaries for preservation,
• avoid spoliation pitfalls,
• manage protection of privileged information,
• maintain credibility with the court,
• avoid court-imposed sanctions, and
• allocate costs.

How to Prepare an E-Mediation Statement for Resolving E-Discovery Disputes” will help all lawyers who want to resolve eDiscovery disputes using the mediation process, and allowing Judges to not have to split the baby on ESI which they may not even understand.

eMediation Will Work if the Mediators Understand ESI Disputes

Allison’s great idea is destine to change ESI disputes, but only if the Mediators understand eDiscovery. To be successful with eMediation the Mediator must be able to communicate clearly and simply with the IT folks who manage the ESI, and at the same time Mediator can help educate the lawyers about what makes sense in their case. Before Judges appoint Mediators (and lawyers who volunteer names of Mediators) a determination should be made if the proposed Mediator has sufficient IT technical skills and eDiscovery experience to make eMediation a successful effort. Stay tuned for Allison’s plan to revolutionize eDiscovery!!!

 

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