The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania established its E-Discovery Special Master Program in 2010, and to date, 52 lawyers have been qualified and trained to serve as EDSMs. It may surprise some people that a program where parties cover the costs of the special master usually results in substantial cost savings to those parties. Indeed, in other jurisdictions we have heard judges use the threat of appointing a special master as a tool to force parties to cooperate. But the reaction to the program has been very positive: Observed U.S. District Court Judge Nora Barry Fischer, who has been instrumental in managing the Western District program, “the parties and counsel who have used special masters are always happy they did.”


Among the advantages of appointing an EDSM is having someone knowledgeable about electronic data discovery issues available to quickly and efficiently resolve issues and disputes. This avoids delays and higher costs to both sides of having to resort to formal motions practice. Other advantages include:

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