Technologies and the Trial Process: The 2013 Allerton Conference

101 Illinois Bar Journal, 638 (Dec. 2013)

3 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2013 Last revised: 12 Dec 2013

See all articles by Jeffrey A. Parness

Jeffrey A. Parness

Northern Illinois University - College of Law

Date Written: September 10, 2013


The recent biennial Allerton Conference, sponsored by the Civil Practice and Procedure Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association, focused on the adaptations of new technologies to civil case processes. The author was Conference Reporter. This is the final report.

The Conference consisted of four panels and three breakout sessions. Each Conference participant was also asked to complete a questionnaire regarding current Illinois practices, both formal and informal, as well as possible law reforms. Among the issues most significantly discussed were limits on pre-suit fact investigations by lawyers and their agents after Lawlor v. North American Corp., 2012 IL 112530; lawyers’ uses of social media to advertise and solicit witnesses; Internet uses by civil case jurors; authentication of electronically stored information (ESI) evidence; evidence preservation duties; ESI discovery; and, employment of new technologies during civil case hearings and trials.

Conference participants supported certain technology-related reforms, including new written guidelines on lawyer uses of technology to advertise/self-promote; authentication of ESI containing business records and personal information; pre-lawsuit judicial orders regarding information preservation; and, ESI discovery (while Conference participants agreed that not all new guidelines need follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, they also agreed on the need for a cost-benefit certification requirement for lawyers seeking ESI discovery in higher dollar cases).

Keywords: civil procedure, civil trials, civil discovery, technology, e-discovery, civil juries, fact investigation

Suggested Citation

Parness, Jeffrey A., Technologies and the Trial Process: The 2013 Allerton Conference (September 10, 2013). 101 Illinois Bar Journal, 638 (Dec. 2013), Available at SSRN:

Jeffrey A. Parness (Contact Author)

Northern Illinois University - College of Law ( email )

Swen Parson Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
United States

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