E-discovery (EDD) press coverage suggests problems galore. Have we lost sight of the real purpose of discovery in litigation? 

E-discovery means more than producing relevant, non-privileged documents. It means winning by telling the best story possible. So much of recent EDD discussion revolves around doing it right and avoiding disaster. Reported judicial opinions self-select for problems because absent a problem, no opinion issues. There’s no equivalent judicial mechanism to learn about winning discovery strategies. Nor is there any other apparent mechanism: clients and vendors seldom share details of their victories.

I would like more press and conference coverage on how to use the available tools to achieve outstanding results. Stories along the lines of “I used the text of the ideal incriminating e-mail as my search and that led me to a treasure trove of documents that helped win my case. Or “Mapping documents, e-mail, and calendar entries on a date line proved a perfectly innocent explanation for events that plaintiffs alleged constituted intent to defraud.” EDD defeats are well-documented; it’s time to start telling victory stories.