The explosion of electronically stored information (ESI) has dramatically affected our Corps’ practice, creating a myriad of challenges on how we preserve, collect, and process information for litigation. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have expanded to address ESI, and our attorneys must keep pace with technological developments, or face sanctions by the courts. Additionally, most state bars have adopted rules regarding technology, such that the ethical obligation of competence now requires each of us to be cognizant how ESI and electronic discovery affects our practice.
To address these issues, The Judge Advocate General has approved the creation of the United States Army Electronic Discovery Program (eDiscovery Program). Led by Ms. Allison Polchek, the eDiscovery Program will provide the technical supervision and training for eDiscovery issues throughout our Corps, and will assist the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency (USALSA) litigating divisions as they conduct day-to-day litigation matters. The Program is located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, in the USALSA, and is incorporated within USALSA as the eDiscovery Division.
The program has already launched a number of initiatives, including Training with Industry, which will prepare selected mid-grade noncommissioned officers to serve as eDiscovery specialists. This two-year program, which begins this summer, includes a comprehensive industry training program, followed by an assignment at USALSA. Details on how to apply will be announced in the coming weeks.
Other notable efforts of the program include preparing policies and standard operating procedures to address eDiscovery issues, developing training packages and materials to train practitioners and installation staffs in the field, and acquiring technology tools to enhance our litigation practice.