The lament that law schools do not adequately prepare new lawyers for the actual practice of law is not a new one.  The refrain, however, seems more pronounced as the day-to-day practice of law becomes increasingly intertwined with technological concepts that have little place in most law school curricula.  This problem is particularly paramount in the field of e-discovery.  Although saddled with its own (dubious) moniker, e-discovery is really nothing more than discovery for the modern age.  When the world worked through paper, it made sense that discovery involved the exchange of hard copies.  Today, in a world governed through bits and bytes, it stands to reason that the information necessary to resolve disputes resides electronically.   Indeed, every lawsuit, big or small, is likely to involve electronically stored information (“ESI”) in one way or another.  Whether it is an antitrust matter involving data collections from hundreds of custodians or a divorce matter involving the social media accounts of two individuals, e-discovery has become the rule, not the exception.  Despite this, the vast majority of law schools do not teach e-discovery.  And those that do tend to offer it as a one off elective, rather than a component of their civil procedure or evidence courses. E-discovery is here to stay and new lawyers should be armed with the basic tools to issue spot, lest they run afoul of developing ethics opinions and state rules of professional conduct regarding technological competence.

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Photo of Andrea Donovan Napp Andrea Donovan Napp

Andrea Donovan Napp is chair of the firm’s Electronic Discovery and Information Management Team. In addition to e-discovery, Andrea focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, business torts, and market conduct cases, representing businesses, municipalities, and individuals in various jurisdictions. As chair of…

Andrea Donovan Napp is chair of the firm’s Electronic Discovery and Information Management Team. In addition to e-discovery, Andrea focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, business torts, and market conduct cases, representing businesses, municipalities, and individuals in various jurisdictions. As chair of the Electronic Discovery and Information Management Team, Andrea coordinates Robinson+Cole’s use of the latest technology, such as Concordance, CaseMap, LAW, LiveNote, and various Web-based platforms, to achieve maximum efficiency and compliance for our clients. Andrea has significant experience in all aspects of e-discovery, including document retention and data management planning, development of defensible collection policies, and management of large scale reviews and production. She has managed several large, sophisticated e-discovery projects in government investigations and private litigation. Notably, she led United Technologies Corporation’s privilege review in the Department of Justice’s antitrust review of the largest-ever aerospace merger. She routinely counsels clients on the development of data retention policies, legal hold practices, and e-discovery response plans. Read her rc.com bio here.