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Electronic Discovery Consulting

Electronic Discovery Consulting

What is Electronic Discovery

Electronic Discovery Consulting New YorkThe term Electronic Discovery (Wiki) can be used to cast a relatively wide net with regard to litigation situations in the legal field. However, in its simplest incarnation Electronic Discovery denotes the transfer of information in electronic form – Electronically Stored Information (ESI). At first glance this might not appear to be something all that complicated. However, this underestimation has gotten many firms into trouble trying to tackle projects that they can’t handle. Yes in some cases (say a single drive of scanned documents) Electronic Discovery may at worst be a minor inconvenience to a large firm, however often this is not the case. When dealing with Electronic Discovery in the range of Terabytes of random data – emails, scanned documents, office documents, databases, and the list goes on – this can become a seriously daunting task. Furthermore, when this process is not planned and implemented correctly it can be the difference between a profitable case with positive verdict and a losing case that costs both your firm and your client money. Being able to “cull” the meaningful data from large random datasets is literally analogous to finding a needle in a haystack.

Challenges Faced in Electronic Discovery

Electronic Discovery poses a myriad of issues and problems to the modern law firms – particularly to smaller firms.    Our techno-centric world  revolves around managing complexity.  Businesses spend untold sums of money on organizing their data and training their staff to have knowledge of  that organization.   During the Electronic Discovery  process the “context” of this organization is lost.  The complexity that so much time and money was spent to structure and manage has now been reintroduced and your firm has to deal with it in a much smaller time frame that was originally spent to organize it.   Planning, creativity, and experience are paramount to the successful completion of  an Electronic Discovery Project.

Electronic Discovery Process

electronic discovery

Electronic Discovery Source EDRM.NET

Collection, Analysis, and Forensics

This is the first step in the Electronic Discovery process. Here we gather and generally categorizing and prioritizing data. This data can be from various sources: hard drives, cell phones, backup tapes in a myriad of different formats. During this phase data should be backed up to maintain reference for chain of custody and general preservation.

Initial Assessment

This is the most important phase in my opinion. Here is where you do your planning and come up with a game plan on how to tackle the remainder of the project. It is also where you determine the resources, timeframe, volume of data, relevant topics, and costs that are entailed to successfully complete the project.

Culling & De-Duplication

Culling is the process of extracting the meaningful data from all the junk that comes along with an Electronic Discovery project. Utilizing intelligent management technology {link} here can make this process exponentially more manageable.

Processing

This is the process of taking the culled data categorizing, converting, and tagging with a specific ID for review and future reference by attorneys and paralegals.

Review and Analysis

Review of culled data by paralegals and lawyers to finalize the data that will be included in the ESI for the case.

Document Production, Management, and Distribution

Producing formatted output and management as needed for the case.

Electronic Discovery, What most firms are doing wrong

While some firms deal exclusively in the arena of Electronic Discovery Centric cases many do not even realize that they dealing with an Electronic Discovery project until they are in over their heads. Because of this lack of awareness firms often go about Electronic Discovery in a haphazard manner. Even firms that are cognizant of their Electronic Discovery project or deal with Electronic Discovery regularly tend hit allot of avoidable potholes.

In my travels the single largest mistake I see is firms trying to brute force an Electronic Discovery Project. Firms will throw as many people as they can on a Electronic Discovery project and try to review every single file. Whether it is because they don’t know of any alternatives or they’re worried about missing something, many firms make this mistake. Not only is this tactic a tremendous waste of time and resources it often leads to important data being overlooked. Furthermore, for larger Electronic Discovery projects brute force is simply not possible no matter how many staff members you have to put on the project.

Electronic Discovery Done Right

Stepping Back and Looking at the problem

Electronic Discovery presents a major hurdle from both a legal and technological standpoint. Because your firm has no control over the technology used by the entity from whom you have received it, a broad perspective is needed to digest and plan an Electronic Discovery project. Almost any electronic discovery project can be streamlined and automated. However, this requires the IT know how to properly plan and implement the project.

Leveraging Intelligent Data Management

Using software to intelligently scan and organize Electronic Discovery is a game changer.  Firms have saved millions of dollars by implementing automated electronic discovery into their practice.

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