Jason R. Baron is an internationally recognized speaker and author on the preservation of electronic documents. His legal practice consists of creative problem-solving for clients with issues involving the management of records and information, including meeting their e-discovery and compliance obligations.
Jason previously served as the first appointed Director of Litigation for the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 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 the administration’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.
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 e-discovery. Since 2007, past DESI workshops have been held in Palo Alto, London, Barcelona, Pittsburgh and Rome, with a related workshop held in Beijing. In 2018, he co-chaired the first e-discovery conference held in India, at the National Law School of India University (Bangalore).
Jason has 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).
Over the past two decades, Jason has given presentations on preservation and access issues involving electronic records in over 500 forums, throughout the U.S. and Canada and as an international keynote or invited speaker at conferences held in Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Nepal, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In March 2007, Jason served as a co-panelist with Associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer at an e-discovery forum held at Georgetown Law School. In 2010, he was an invited speaker at the Duke Law School Conference on Civil Litigation Reform.
Jason has chaired e-discovery conferences, workshops and all-day CLE forums; facilitated information governance “boot camps”; moderated “mini-Sedona” sessions at annual meetings of ARMA International and the Society of American Archivists; moderated panel sessions at the Georgetown Advanced eDiscovery Institute conferences, and served as a guest lecturer 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.
Jason has taught e-discovery at American University’s Washington College of Law, and for 10 years was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, where he co-taught the first e-discovery course in the United States for graduate students in information studies. He also has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of British Columbia. Jason has 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.
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 has also 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 on general issues of government recordkeeping. Jason has been a featured columnist on information governance issues in Legal Tech News, and has appeared in feature articles including in Information Governance World and Law Technology News.
- Chambers Global, Litigation: E-Discovery, USA (2017-2018)
- Chambers USA, Nationwide, Litigation: E-Discovery (2015-2018)
- Emerald Literati Network Award for Excellence recipient (2017)
- Justice Tom C. Clark Outstanding Government Lawyer Award recipient (2013), Federal Bar Association
- Named one of eDiscovery's “trailblazers” in The American Lawyer, August 2013 issue devoted to the "Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years"
- Boston University School of Law D.C. Alumni Public Service Award (2012)
- Emmett Leahy Award (2011) – For outstanding contributions to the records and information management profession
- Fed 100 Award, Federal Computer Week (2008)
- Additional awards from the Department of Justice, Archivist of the United States, National Security Council, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration
Awards Methodology (www.drinkerbiddle.com/content/awards)
Mr. Baron has received recognition in the 2015 through 2018 editions of Chambers USA for the category “Litigation: E-Discovery (Nationwide),” where he is described as “a leader in the area for years,” and as “an absolute asset to the practice.”
Jason’s achievements as a government lawyer “on a quest to find a better way to search White House e-mail” were showcased in “The Decade of Discovery” (2014), a documentary by Joe Looby.
- District of Columbia
- Boston University School of Law, J.D., 1980
- Wesleyan University, B.A., 1977, magna cum laude
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- D.C. Bar Litigation Section, E-Discovery and Information Governance Committee Chair (2015-2016)
- The Sedona Conference, WG1 Steering Committee, Member (2008-2012); Co-Chair (2009-2011)
- Georgetown Advanced Institute on E-Discovery, Advisory Board
- Cardozo Data Law Initiative, Board of Advisors
- Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (DESI) Workshop Series, Founder (2007-2017)
- National Institute of Standards and Technology TREC Legal Track, Founding Co-Coordinator (2006-2009)
- ARMA International, Board of Directors (Past Outside Director)
- Georgetown’s Inaugural eDiscovery Conference for Government Practitioners (Past Co-Chair)