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What Lawyers Need to Know About Right-Sized eDiscovery
There are many types of lawyers both in internal company departments and external organizations that may be employed by ...
There are many types of lawyers both in internal company departments and external organizations that may be employed by large businesses to help with legal matters. With so much data being stored electronically, eDiscovery in law is a complex topic, but in this blog, we boil it down to the essential things lawyers need to know about eDiscovery.
What is eDiscovery?
Electronic Discovery, or eDiscovery, for legal services, is the process of identifying, preserving, collecting, processing, analyzing, and reviewing potentially relevant information or data stored electronically, which is then used in legal proceedings.
What are the important concepts of eDiscovery?
eDiscovery is important in legal proceedings as data found during the eDiscovery process can affect the entire outcome of a case. eDiscovery is conducted throughout the nine stages as referenced in the EDRM framework.
We will discuss the importance of each stage below.
All organizations need to have an Information Governance process in place. This will ensure that all data or information stored electronically has some form of value and is, therefore, worth keeping.
This early stage in the process is to get a scope of the project and identify all the data and data sources that will be relevant to the legal proceedings.
Once you have identified all the data, it is important to preserve it by putting a legal hold on the data. This means that it cannot be altered or deleted before the legal proceedings begin.
During the collection stage, forensic examiners will go through all the data sources and pull out all the relevant data. This is an extensive process and includes collecting data from familiar sources such as email and Microsoft Office but also data from social media and chat applications such as WhatsApp.
During the processing stage, the data found will be cleaned up, deduplicated and filtered, so it doesn’t include irrelevant data. This means that only the relevant data will be given to the legal team to be used during the legal proceedings.
When preparing for a trial, lawyers will need to analyze vast amounts of data from various sources. The review can cover things like organizing different types of data or identifying relevant data, making it easier for you only to review the data that you need.
The data found will be analyzed by professionals and organized to make it easier for lawyers to use. It will likely be sorted by key patterns, topics, and people.
Once the data has gone through the above stages, it will need to be delivered to the relevant parties, such as lawyers, in the most appropriate form.
This is the final stage in the eDiscovery process, where the data discovered during the process is presented to the relevant audiences to help validate facts or provide further details to the case.
By utilizing the above framework, you can ensure you have all the required data and that all possible data sources have been searched within the organization to ensure you don’t miss out on any potential evidence.
How do I do eDiscovery?
To complete the eDiscovery process as outlined above, you will need to utilize various eDiscovery services and eDiscovery software for law firms. This can be completed in-house, but many businesses outsource, as it can be very complex and time-consuming.
These are some of the law firm eDiscovery Services that you will want to consider.
Forensics and Collections
If you haven’t gone through eDiscovery before, it is worthwhile considering partnering with a vendor who has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process. Partnering with an experienced eDiscovery vendor means you will not miss a step during the process. They can help ensure the required data is preserved and collected quickly and efficiently and ultimately minimize your costs, save you time and reduce risk. Once the data has been collected, the vendor should also be able to assist with forensic analysis services.
Data Analytics and Insights
By adopting eDiscovery software, you will be able to identify documents that are likely to be relevant and cull the rest – this will save time and money during the review stage. The software should also be able to help you build knowledge sets from the data. It should be able to identify and find key patterns, people, and topics.
Document Review Services
The review stage of eDiscovery can be very daunting and time-consuming if there are vast amounts of data to look at. It can however be made easier by using a Document Review Service. Then, depending on the vendor you work with, and what is best for your requirements, the review can be completed by professionals, tools, or a combination of both.
You might find that the case you are working on spans several countries and maybe even continents – this means there will be data stored across multiple regions, possibly in multiple languages, each with its own privacy laws and regulations.
In this situation, it will likely be much easier to work with a vendor who can help you to build and enforce a discovery process that is adopted across all regions. By selecting an experienced global eDiscovery vendor, they will be able to support the process across multiple languages, such as the review stage, as well as run their eDiscovery software across all regions to collect and process the data in the same way.
Why is eDiscovery important in litigation?
Without completing the eDiscovery process, you will unlikely have the required documents to back up and support your case. Imagine if lawyers turned up to legal cases without having any data, evidence, or supporting documents – it would cause massive delays and waste a lot of time and money.
By preparing in advance and using eDiscovery services and software, you will have the critical data needed. You will be able to confidently present the data found and give valuable insights and analysis. Even a tiny mistake or missing data can make you look unprepared and weaken the case. It is important to remember that evidence found during the eDiscovery process can often persuade the outcome.
As you can imagine, in this blog, we’ve only touched the high level of what is involved in eDiscovery. It’s a complex topic, and in global organizations, the legal aspects can become a minefield with different geographic areas being covered by different laws.
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