Dan Willoughby joined the firm in 1986 and was elected partner in 1994. Mr. Willoughby is a member of the firm’s E-Discovery Group, and he heads up the firm’s Discovery Center. The Discovery Center is an off-site facility located nearby the firm’s offices in Midtown Atlanta that houses 250 staff and project attorneys, paralegals, project assistants and technical staff. Under Mr. Willoughby’s leadership, the firm’s Discovery Center has provided high quality, cost-effective and centralized discovery services to more than 165 clients.
In addition to his work as a commercial and products liability litigator, Mr. Willoughby has devoted his career to the management of major discovery matters from preservation to production. Mr. Willoughby began his discovery work in 1986 assisting Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation in collecting and coding millions of pages of documents in preparation for discovery demands in the second wave of the tobacco litigation in the late 1980’s. This effort began with the collection of paper documents and resulted in the creation in one of the first on-line document depositories.
Over the ensuing 20 years, Mr. Willoughby has been at the leading edge of developments in discovery technology, adapting the firm’s processes and client offerings as each new technology emerged, and translating his knowledge and experience into written protocols that memorialize the best practices that he has developed over his career. Mr. Willoughby’s unique career and 26+ years of work on major discovery matters has made him one of the most knowledgeable lawyers in the country on the challenges of e-discovery and the vendor resources available to assist in meeting client needs. Mr. Willoughby has acted as discovery counsel for large corporations, including, Brown & Williamson, American Tobacco Company, Purdue Pharma, Toyota, GlaxoSmithKline, Chevron, and Bank of America. He advises clients on all issues relating to e-discovery, from guidance on preparing litigation readiness protocols, infrastructure inventory and system descriptions, and preparing for 30(b)(6) depositions regarding clients’ computer systems, to managing the document collection, review, production, and logging for large dockets of cases. Mr. Willoughby also has experience defending and arguing discovery motions and defending and preparing witnesses for depositions.
In 2010, the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure selected Mr. Willoughby to be the “practitioner” representative on a panel, which included U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin and U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola, to advise the Committee as to whether the Federal Rules should be revised to address litigants’ document preservation duties. Mr. Willoughby made a presentation to the Committee at the 2010 Litigation Conference at Duke University Law on the issue of e-discovery sanctions, which was selected for publication in the Duke Law Journal. The resulting article, “Sanctions for E-Discovery Violations: By the Numbers,” co-authored with Discovery Center attorneys Rose Hunter Jones and Gregory R. Antine, Duke Law Journal, Volume 60, Number 3 (December 2010), surveys 400+ federal court opinions involving motions for sanctions relating to the discovery of electronically stored information. Mr. Willoughby also authored an article in the November 2010 edition of Managing Partner magazine entitled, “In the Family,” with King & Spalding’s Chief Information Officer, Thomas Gaines which explained King & Spalding’s solution to providing cost-effective and centralized discovery services to corporate clients.
Mr. Willoughby’s experience includes:
- Managed a large staff of lawyers, paralegals and project assistants commencing in 1995 which undertook to review 40 million pages of documents in the tobacco litigation, ultimately producing more than seven million indexed and coded pages for two clients.
- Worked with emerging e-discovery providers and created one of the first web-based depositories that enabled secure access to produced documents for clients, defense counsel and opposing counsel under the terms of carefully drafted protective orders.
- Served as National Discovery Counsel to Brown & Williamson, advising the client on all written discovery responses and document production in all tobacco product liability cases across the country. Mr. Willoughby devised processes to provide written discovery databases and centralized services, as well as processes for responding quickly to the defensive needs of trial counsel for pre-trial motions, depositions and trial work.
- Served as National Discovery Counsel to Purdue Pharma in all civil OxyContin litigation, a docket of over 1,000 cases, and headed up all document collection and production as well as preparing all written responses.
- Over the last decade, Mr. Willoughby and the Discovery Center have provided centralized discovery services to a diverse array of clients on a diverse array of projects, including Toyota, UPS, Chevron and numerous others.
- Supervises privilege log teams, crafting defensible logs and then defending them. Mr. Willoughby has drafted responses to numerous motions to compel and has successfully argued those motions as discovery counsel in various cases.
- Develops litigation readiness protocols, using a checklist and template approach, to provide repeatable, defensible best practice to guide numerous clients regarding their document obligations from the earliest anticipation of litigation to the post-production stage.
- Regularly lectures in the field of e-discovery to clients and practitioners, including instructing on the steps involved in the e-discovery process and best practices.