Mediating eDiscovery Disputes – Allison Skinner’s Brilliant Idea

From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes.

By Peter S. Vogel

Allison O. Skinner is an attorney and full-time mediator at Sirote & Permutt and has 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 the IT technical skills and eDiscovery experience to make eMediation a successful effort. Stay tuned for Allison’s plan to revolutionize eDiscovery!!!

Technorati Tags:  ADR, law, mediation, e-discovery


Peter S. Vogel is a trial partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP where he is Chair of the Electronic Discovery Group and Co-Chair of the Technology Industry Team. Before practicing law he worked as a computer programmer, received a Masters in Computer Science, and taught graduate courses in information systems. For 12 years he served as the founding Chair of the Texas Supreme Court on Judicial Information Technology which is responsible for helping automate the Texas court system and putting Internet on the desktops of all 3,200 judges. Peter has taught courses on the Law of eCommerce at the SMU Dedman School of Law since 2000. Many of Peter’s topics are discussed on his blog www.vogelitlawblog.com.

                        author

Victoria VanBuren

Victoria VanBuren holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Southern Methodist University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.  She focuses on intellectual property law and arbitration. Known as a "worker bee," she is an active legal blogger and is currently pursuing a degree in computer science.… MORE >

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