As many have recognized, electronic discovery has arrived in the state courts, with challenges that are as big and complicated as in federal court. State courts are faced with a wide variety of dockets, a large number of cases, and a growing number of unrepresented litigants. On top of that, judges are pressed for time and faced with more and more limited resources. And while some judges have already gained a lot of expertise in the area of electronic discovery, others are just beginning to see it in their cases. While there are abundant resources available on the topic of electronic discovery, for many judges the question is, “Where to begin?”
IAALS and the NJC recently cohosted the 2nd Annual Educational Summit for State Court Judges—a Summit exclusively for state court judges on electronic discovery. We spent two days at the Summit with experts in the area of electronic discovery and state court judges from 33 different states around the country—from Vermont to Hawaii—addressing this basic question, as well as many more complex ones. Both for the judges who were able to attend the Summit and those who were not, we offer a new toolkit, Unlocking E-Discovery: A Toolkit for Judges in State Courts Across the Nation, as an additional resource and companion to our primer on e-discovery, Navigating the Hazards of E-Discovery, A Manual for Judges in State Courts Across the Nation. Rather than reinvent the wheel, this toolkit pulls together some of the best resources available. Whether you are an expert on electronically stored information (ESI), or a novice learning about these issues for the first time, we think you will find this collection of resources a useful tool in determining how best to address the discovery and use of ESI in your cases.