IT and legal teams aren’t collaborating on buying decisions, according to a Reccomind-sponsored survey of IT managers at enterprises averaging 13,000 employees.

The vendor-sponsored research revealed that IT and legal teams question each other’s commitment and grasp of e-discovery and regulatory compliance, according to a company statement.

Communication between the disparate departments is worsening, according to the release. Only 54% of respondents described the relationship as "good" or "very good" this year, an 18% decrease from 2009. And, the number of respondents reporting that IT and legal departments were working closer together dropped to 54% in 2010, from 67% last year.

In fact, companies’ priorities concerning e-discovery have shifted over the last year, according to Recommind, an e-discovery software provider. This year, 26% of respondents stated that their IT department placed e-discovery as a high or very high priority—a 14% drop from 2009.

In an interview with Information Management Editorial Director Jim Ericson, Anne Kershaw, attorney, senior consultant and founder of A.Kershaw, P.C. and co-founder of the nonprofit eDiscovery Institute, described the problem of discovery of electronic data in litigation as a problem of perception. "Yes, there is much more volume now because it’s easy to create mountains of data electronically. But added to that is the problem of lawyers not learning how the technology works and defaulting to old-fashioned discovery strategies that aggravate rather than resolve the problem."

Technology is not the barrier, said Kershaw. "Technology is our friend here, but the legal profession is slow to change and lawyers are risk averse. Lawyers are trained to follow precedent, stare decisis … But if we wake up and consider that technology can help by culling and sorting and sifting and searching, we can be very efficient."

This story was reprinted with permission from Information Management.

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