Law Schools Lag In Teaching E-Discovery
June 24, 2015
Why are law schools paying minimal attention to e-discovery when e-discovery expenses often approach half or more of the total cost of litigation? According to the authors, one answer is the reliance on adjunct professors. Most law professors began their academic careers after private practice or a judicial clerkship that pre-dated the e-discovery revolution, and most law schools lack tenured (or even non-tenured) faculty who are comfortable and skilled in the constantly evolving field of e-discovery.
Law schools thus typically rely on adjuncts to teach e-discovery – litigators who have e-discovery experience or judicial officers who have seen e-discovery in their courtrooms. An adjunct’s time is limited, but teaching classes that offer practical lawyering skills requires a substantial commitment.
Law schools need to stress the importance of e-discovery. Courses in e-discovery should be mandatory for litigation-track lawyers, and law schools should provide a robust e-discovery module in their basic civil procedure course. Law schools and e-discovery professionals should partner to foster teaching of the subject.
Law students themselves need to embrace the value of e-discovery education. Ironically, rather than seeing it as a pathway to a variety of career options, too many law students shy away from it, viewing it as “too techie” or as mere “litigation support,” and not real lawyering. However, clients want litigators who are competent to rapidly assess risk and exposure, and who have the skills to manage cases, control costs and get to the important documents quickly.
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