In a recent article, Law Technology News covers the amendments to the New York State Court’s e-discovery and electronic filing policies since the February 2010 Court Report (covered in this previous posting). These changes are being implemented in an attempt to “ensure that e-discovery is handled as expertly, expeditiously, and inexpensively as possible.” A deputy counsel in New York’s Unified Court System, Feinberg, states, “…lawyers appear to be turning away from New York State Courts for the greater sense of certainty…that Federal courts, and…other state courts with more developed e-discovery practices, can provide.” If lawyers do not have faith in the current State Court system, changes are a necessity.
On August 18th, changes to §202.10(b) and §202.70(g) of the Uniform Rules of Trial Courts were put in place. The amendments state that all lawyers ‘must be sufficiently versed in matters relating to their clients’ technological systems to discuss competently all issues relating to electronic discovery.’ Disclosure will need to be completed within 12 months of filing in standard cases and within 15 months in complex cases, according to the new rules. The new rules also mandate the creation of a working group, comprised of judges and attorneys, to counsel the governor, Legislature and courts on e-discovery practices.
Now that changes to e-discovery policies have begun, the courts are initiating the process of amending electronic filing requirements. According to the article, “All federal district courts in New York required electronic filing for cases litigated by lawyers by the end of 2004.” However, “there is a long way to go” before electronic filing is mandatory in all courts, according to Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau. Pfau will have to compile an annual report before April 1, 2011 in addition to consulting with a county clerk before the change can go into effect.