The new rules went into effect today, December 1st, 2006, yet everything seems pretty much the same. Two schools of thought on this: one says its just like the big Y2K scare, much ado about nothing. The practice of law will go on pretty much as it always has before. It was all just hype.
The other, I think more realistic view, is that the new rules are the start of something big, a kind of point of no return. Of course, nothing special happens today. This is not a Y2K doomsday scenario. It is more like a landmark, a time when the process of change begins to accelerate as the legal profession struggles to keep up with the massive changes in society.
The law must inevitably follow the digitization of society. There is no turning back. In today’s world, the smoking gun every litigant searches for in discovery lies in a computer, not a filing cabinet. We must follow the evidence, just like the truth, wherever it takes us. That is why e-discovery is here to stay, and why today is an important day.
In a few years I think that we will look back on the rule change, and see that it had a significant impact on civil litigation in America. It helped our dispute resolution process to keep up with the massive explosion of information, and helped our profession to adapt to the age of technology.