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Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had a long background as a criminal defense attorney before becoming a judge. She says that her background left her unprepared for the battles over discovery of electronic evidence she has encountered in the world of civil litigation. “I was not able to get my arms around all of the fighting over discovery,” she says. “I know that some people have snickered about this idea that you can get lawyers to make nice and cooperate on discovery. But I believe it is possible.”

Under the leadership of Chief Judge James F. Holderman, Nolan has helped launch a pilot program to address electronic discovery issues: 7th Circuit E-Discovery Pilot Program. Taking their cues from, among other sources, the Sedona Conference Cooperation Proclamation, the 7th Circuit E-Discovery Committee is attempting to fix some of the most intractable discovery problems in litigation.

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