In both civil and criminal lawsuits, data management tools and processes frequently come into play as both sides of the court seek out the facts and present the relevant evidence to judges and juries. Due to the dependence of most industries on the internet in this day and age, electronic information is particularly important to govern well, and that's where eDiscovery comes into the picture.
- eDiscovery is the process of collecting, maintaining, and using electronic data for legal purposes.
- The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) is the most commonly used method for this process, and it has nine steps: Information Governance, Identification, Preservation, Collection, Processing, Review, Analysis, Production, and Presentation.
- IT plays a crucial role in eDiscovery, as IT professionals have the best set of software and know-how tools to collect and find data, as well as to organize and format the data for maximum ease of use.
- They also assist in the production and presentation of the data to be used in court.
Electronic discovery (eDiscovery) is the process of collecting, maintaining, and using electronic data for legal purposes. Because so much of modern society occurs online now, this process has become more important than ever before to achieve the best outcome in a legal case.
While this concept is simple and can be applied in many different ways, the official process of this data management has come to be most popularly expressed with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model. This model has nine steps that aren't necessarily all meant to be linear. These steps capture the wide scope of what the legal data retrieval process should cover and achieve for any given case.
The 9 Steps of the EDRM
Here are the nine steps involved in the EDRM.
1. Information Governance
Information governance refers to the ongoing process of keeping your important data well-organized and accessible to the right people and teams. By having standards in place regarding things like server use and network access, you can easily set your business up for good information governance.
In the eDiscovery reference model, identification is simply the task of considering the legal case at hand and finding as much data as is relevant to it. It's best for teams to lean on the side of collecting too much data at this point, because later steps will help them pare their pool of data down significantly.
Once data that is relevant to the situation has been found (in the form of various documents, pictures, or other resources), it needs to be preserved. This means copies need to be made, files may need to be locked or password-protected, and individuals need to be instructed on how to protect and handle the data to protect it.
The collection step is really about getting more specific with the data you've collected. For example, certain portions of documents may not be relevant, or whole folders may not be permissible whereas certain text documents within them might be enough to make the right case.
The processing of all the collected electronically stored information largely involves organization. There may be duplicated information, for example, or too wide a variety of file formats. In the processing step of eDiscovery, therefore, information is organized and formatted for maximum ease of use.
Now all of the lawyers and their teams need to review the data. This process may further narrow down the amount of data presented, or result in changes to the formatting.
In the analysis phase, software and IT aid in giving a final and thorough look at the body of material gathered. Then that material is narrowed down to the documents and data that are most relevant and helpful.
The production step takes all of the ESI that has found its way to the final stages and makes it physically accessible for use. This allows it to be easily used in court or in other meetings.
The presentation of the data is the part of the process where the relevant data is shown to the court or the opposing party. The quality of the presentation itself can make an impact on the effectiveness of the data.
IT's Crucial Role in eDiscovery
IT clearly has an important role to play in the discovery process. Here are a few of the ways that IT teams and contractors can step into the legal process and aid lawyers and their clients
IT professionals have the best set of software and know-how tools at their disposal for actually collecting the data, and even finding the most obscure data (or data that was thought to be lost). IT companies also can specialize in compliance migration, which means that they'll know what the right (and wrong) ways are to collect and use data.
In the eDiscovery process, preservation and protection of data is key, and that's exactly what IT is responsible for in the first place. Data protection is what IT teams do best, and lawyers and other relevant leaders in the legal process will do well to consult with IT professionals for how to best handle and govern their gathered information.
Finally, IT teams can be a great help in the analysis phase of the EDRM process. Lawyers and other members of a client's legal team should consult IT professionals to determine how to run the right tests on the material and narrow it down to the most effective pieces possible.
Maximize the eDiscovery Process for Your Business
If you're entering into the eDiscovery process or want to prepare your organization for it, contact us at Cloudficient for information about how our IT and data services can aid you in maximizing your results. Our team is well-versed in crafting plans of action and IT strategies that will work for any organization, and our cutting-edge migration technology makes us the ideal choice for any and all of your data management needs. Take these steps now to save your company a great deal of time and money down the road.
With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.
If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.