The Wall Street Journal today reports on an upcoming survey on the growing cost of e-discovery costs. 

Digital Data Drive Up Legal Costs (WSJ, 6 Sep 08) reports on a survey by American College of Trial Lawyers and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System that will be released on Tuesday. That survey of “1,400 lawyers who are members of the American College of Trial Lawyers” finds that 87% “said electronic discovery is too costly and is driving up litigation costs.” If so many trial lawyers, for whom, arguably, discovery is a profit center, express concern over e-discovery cost, then society better take notice.

On that note, I was not previously familiar with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, which is a “a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the process and culture of the civil justice system” and a part of the University of Denver. IAALS this year (probably in July) published two e-discovery studies: The Emerging Challenge of Electronic Discovery: Strategies for American Businesses and Electronic Discovery: A View from the Front Lines (link to download both). These are long and thorough reports. I was surprised I had not come across these previously. Together, they paint a bleak picture: skyrocketing costs, unprepared companies, ignorant lawyers, and unscrupulous e-discovery vendors.