In a recent discovery dispute in Washington, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola described himself as the new sheriff in town. “Not Gary Cooper, but me,” the judge declared in a ruling in June, referencing the 1952 film High Noon and its star.
Facciola urged the two sides to take up a cooperative discovery regimen, and he committed to working with them to resolve disagreements. The remarks picked up praise in electronic-discovery circles, where Facciola has long been a leading voice.
Facciola, who has served as a magistrate in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 1997, is a regular speaker on e-discovery and the law — having assessed, among other things, legal ethics and changes in search technology. He’s a member of the Sedona Conference Advisory Board and the Georgetown Advanced E-Discovery Institute Advisory Board.
“Judge Facciola has been creative, innovative and ahead of the curve, leading the way on new technologies,” White & Case partner Carolyn Lamm said. “Most importantly, he is a balanced and fair decision-maker.”
Surveying the litigation landscape, Facciola described an era of “big data” — more potential electronic information from more sources.
“The very good news is there’s an increased growth in the competence of lawyers and judges to handle this area,” Facciola said.
Central to effective e-discovery management, he said, is convincing the parties in any case to cooperate and be as transparent as possible. “Unless we do those things, we’ll create a system that nobody can afford,” Facciola said. “And nobody wants that.”
Facciola said that he particularly enjoys speaking to groups that comprise a blend of professions — from lawyers and executives to information-technology specialists. “I am talking with them, and they begin talking to each other,” Facciola said. Earlier this year, he told The National Law Journal affiliate Law Technology News that “we don’t have the liberty of subtle, incremental change” in e-discovery.
His advice to young lawyers: Electronic discovery is not an isolated part of the law. “This is really where it all is,” Facciola said.