Managing Electronic Discovery in Small Cases

Managing Electronic Discovery in Small Cases, from The Sedona Conference: eDiscovery Best Practices

The Sedona Conference® (TSC) and its Working Group 1 on Electronic Document Retention and Production (WG1) has announced that The Sedona Conference Primer on Managing Electronic Discovery in Small Cases has been published for public comment.

As stated in the Preface: “The intent of this Primer is to offer best practices and practical guidance tailored to cases involving smaller quantities or less complex varieties of electronically stored information (ESI) or in which the smaller stakes involved significantly limit the time and money that can and should be spent on electronic discovery. In the interest of the underlying concept of proportionality—tailoring eDiscovery efforts to fit the particular circumstances of the case and resources at hand—some of the guidance provided may diverge from what The Sedona Conference recommends for large, complex cases. But just as in larger cases, cooperation between parties remains central in efficiently managing discovery in small cases and meeting the mandate of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1: The just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”

The 44-page PDF Primer on Managing Electronic Discovery in Small Cases, available here for free download, discusses what constitutes a “small case”, proportionality considerations for a small case, small-case tailored electronic discovery tips, managing small-case discovery from the bench and cost-effective use of discovery technology in small cases. It also includes an appendix with links to selected collection, end-to-end discovery and general software applications.


Of course, the answer on what constitutes a “small case” is the lawyerly answer of “it depends”. The Primer provides a couple of examples of a tiered structure for discovery (in Utah and Arizona), as well as a “nonexhaustive” list of six factors for initial discussion among counsel before the scheduling conference that should be considered throughout the litigation.

The Primer on Managing Electronic Discovery in Small Cases is open for public comment through February 12, 2023. Questions and comments may be sent to The drafting team will carefully consider all comments received, and determine what edits are appropriate for the final version.

And there will be an announcement forthcoming of an upcoming Sedona Conference webinar on the Primer, to be held in January.

So, what do you think? Do you consider your cases to be small cases? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.


Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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