Special Masters Have an Important Role in Litigation

15 July 2014 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Author(s): Peter Vogel

I am honored to be a member of the Academy of Court-Appointed Masters (ACAM) which provides the advantages that Special Masters “…can monitor discovery and resolve time-consuming disputes; they can help with the growing burden on courts caused by electronically stored information (ESI) discovery problems; they can be assigned trial duties…; they can administer settlement claims; and they can monitor compliance with a court order or settlement agreement.”

For more than 20 year I have served as a Special Master in state and federal courts for disputes about eDiscovery, IT, or Internet business, and it has been my experience that the cost of litigation generally decreases significantly.  As well, Judges find that the Special Master can assist parties when their dockets would not otherwise allow.

Law360 recently interviewed a number of members of ACAM including me and wrote an article entitled “5 Tips For Serving As A Successful Special Master” which included my comments not to “be afraid to ask for a modification to view certain documents or speak to additional parties if that will better serve the court’s goals.” The Law360 article’s 5 tips are as follows:

  1. Create a Culture of Respect
  2. Be Accessible to the Parties
  3. Talk to the Judge (as Much as You Can)
  4. Know Your Order
  5. Strike the Right Tone

Where there are complex eDiscovery, IT, or Internet business disputes parties can recommend to the Judge that a Special Master be appointed, or the Judge may recommend the parties offer Special Master candidates.

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