Northern District of California: Guidelines for the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information

On November 27, 2012, the Northern District of California unveiled new guidelines for the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI), an ESI checklist for use during the Rule 26(f) meet and confer process, and a model stipulated order. The guidelines were developed by a bench-bar committee chaired by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. LaPorte in partnership with the Rules Committee. The guidelines set the expectation of cooperation "on issues relating to the preservation, collection, search, review, and production of ESI," recognizing "an attorney's zealous representation of a client is not compromised by conducting discovery in a cooperative manner." Parties are required to discuss preservation and informal discovery is encouraged. The guidelines set forth details for discussion during the meet and confer process and recognize that thid process will be aided in most cases by the inclusion of an e-discovery liaison. The ESI checklist provides further guidance for the Rule 26(f) meet and confer with a two-page list of discussion topics.

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