Jason R. Baron is a member of Drinker Biddle’s Information Governance and eDiscovery practice.
An internationally recognized speaker and author on the preservation of electronic documents, Jason previously served as Director of Litigation for the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and as trial lawyer and senior counsel at the Department of Justice. In those roles, Jason helped drive the government’s adoption of electronic recordkeeping practices and defended the government’s interests in complex federal court litigation.
As NARA’s Director of Litigation, Jason led NARA’s efforts to provide responsive White House email and other records in the massive U.S. v. Philip Morris RICO lawsuit, and assisted in the defense of lawsuits filed against the Archivist of the United States under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Records Act, and the Presidential Records Act in a wide variety of high-profile cases. As a trial lawyer and senior counsel for the DOJ, he appeared as counsel of record in landmark cases involving the preservation of White House email, statistical adjustment of the U.S. census, and early attempts to regulate the Internet.
Thought Leadership. Jason was a founding co-coordinator of the National Institute of Standards and Technology TREC Legal Track, a multi-year international information retrieval project devoted to evaluating search issues in a legal context, and served as track coordinator for the first four years of the track (2006-2009). He also founded the international DESI (Discovery of Electronically Stored Information) workshop series, bringing together lawyers and academics to discuss cutting-edge issues in eDiscovery. Since 2007, past DESI workshops have been held in Palo Alto, London, Barcelona, Pittsburgh and Rome, with a related workshop held in Beijing.
Jason is currently the Chair of the E-Discovery and Information Governance Committee of the D.C. Bar Litigation Section. He is an active member of The Sedona Conference, having served as a Co-Chair of the WG1 Steering Committee and as a member of the Steering Committee from 2008 to 2012. He has also served as an Editor-in-Chief of three Sedona publications: The Sedona Conference Best Practices Commentary on the Use of Search and Information Retrieval Methods in E-Discovery (2007 & 2013 editions), The Sedona Conference Commentary on Achieving Quality in the E-Discovery Process (2009 & 2013 editions), and The Sedona Conference Commentary on Finding the Hidden ROI in Information Assets (2011); and also as Drafting Team editor on The Sedona Conference Commentary on Information Governance (2013). Additionally, Jason serves on the advisory board of the Georgetown Advanced Institute on E-Discovery, and on the board of advisors for the Cardozo Data Law Initiative.
Over the past decade, Jason has given presentations on preservation and access issues involving electronic records in over 400 forums, including both throughout the U.S. and Canada, and as an international keynote or invited speaker at conferences held in Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In March 2007, Jason served as a co-panelist with Associate Justice Stephen Breyer at an eDiscovery forum held at Georgetown Law School. In 2010, he was an invited speaker at the Duke Law School Conference on Civil Litigation Reform.
He has chaired eDiscovery conferences, workshops, and all-day CLE forums; facilitated information governance “bootcamps”; moderated “mini-Sedona” sessions at annual meetings of ARMA International (where he has served as an Outside Director on the Board of Directors) and the Society of American Archivists; moderated panel sessions at the Georgetown Advanced eDiscovery Institute conferences and co-chaired Georgetown’s inaugural eDiscovery conference for government practitioners; and has guest lectured at a number of law schools. He has given dozens of targeted briefings to federal audiences, including government lawyers, IT staff and records managers, on the subject of electronic recordkeeping under U.S. records laws.
Awards and Recognition. Jason is ranked in the 2015 edition of Chambers USA as a leader in “Litigation: E-discovery (Nationwide).” In 2011, Jason received the prestigious Emmett Leahy Award, bestowed by an international committee for outstanding contributions to the records and information management profession. He was recognized by The American Lawyer as one of eDiscovery’s “trailblazers” in the August 2013 issue, “The Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years.” He was also a recipient of the 2008 Fed 100 Award, sponsored by Federal Computer Week, for his eDiscovery related advocacy.
Jason was named the 2013 recipient of the Justice Tom C. Clark Outstanding Government Lawyer award, given by the D.C. Chapter of the Federal Bar Association for his career contributions as a lawyer in the public service. During the course of his career, Jason has received numerous additional awards and commendations for excellence, including from the Justice Department, the Archivist of the United States, the National Security Council, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration. He was honored as the 2012 recipient of the DC Alumni Public Service Award by his law school alma mater. His achievements as a government lawyer in the area of e-discovery are highlighted in The Decade of Discovery, a documentary film by Joe Looby, which premiered in 2014 and has been shown in numerous venues across the U.S. and in Europe.
Most recently, in connection with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account, Jason has been invited to appear on NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” CNN’s “Smerconish,” NPR’s All Things Considered, Huff Post Live, and WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show; he also has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal Washington Wire, Politico, Factcheck.org, and numerous other media outlets. Jason is a featured columnist on information governance issues in Legal Tech News, and has appeared on the covers of Law Technology News and Law Firm Marketing Magazine.
In General. Jason earned his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law, where he was a member of the law school’s National Moot Court Team, and his B.A., magna cum laude, with honors, from Wesleyan University. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, where he has co-taught the first eDiscovery course in the United States for graduate students in information studies.
Previously, he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of British Columbia, where he taught a course on cyberspace law, and has also taught a summer course at the University of Albany. He participated in the drafting of reports for InterPARES, an international research project in archival science on the subject of the long-term preservation of electronic records.