For Businesses of Any Size: E-Discovery Matters

By: Jan Roos | 0 Comments

The Basics of Electronic Discovery, and Why it Matters

E-discovery. It sounds like some sort of outdoor environmental adventure designed to unearth the earth’s hidden treasures. In reality, it’s somewhat less exciting, but still extremely important; particularly if you own, operate, or work within a business. 

E-discovery stands for “electronic discovery” and represents the electronic process of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request for production of information in a lawsuit or related investigation. ESI includes, but is not limited to, emails, documents, presentations, databases, voicemail, audio and video files, social media, and web sites. Pretty much anything that might be stored in a digital file on your computer.

In the course of litigation, relevant electronic data cannot be modified, deleted, erased or otherwise destroyed...

In the course of litigation, parties on both sides of the matter must identify data relevant to claims and defenses. That data (including both electronic and hard-copy materials) are placed under a legal hold – meaning they cannot be modified, deleted, erased or otherwise destroyed. Potentially relevant data is collected, extracted, indexed and placed into a database. The data is then analyzed to aggregate or segregate non-relevant documents. Finally, documents are coded for their relevance to the legal matter.

Once the relevant e-data has been organized and coded, it is converted to a static format such as PDF, making redaction of privileged and non-relevant information possible. The use of computer-assisted review (a.k.a. “C.A.R.” or Technology Assisted Review, “T.A.R.”), predictive coding and other analytic software allows a legal team to prioritize important documents. If the process is completed carefully and efficiently, it can result in a reduction in the amount of time attorneys need to spend with key documents, thus significantly reducing the costs of litigation.

Careful and efficient e-discovery practices can significantly reduce the costs of litigation...

The processes and technologies around e-discovery are often complex because of the sheer volume of electronic data stored and produced by company computers. Unlike hardcopy evidence, electronic documents are more dynamic and often contain metadata such as time-date stamps, author and recipient information, and file properties. Preserving the original content and metadata for electronically stored information is required in order to eliminate claims of spoliation (the unlawful destruction of ESI) or tampering with evidence later in the litigation. For businesses, implementing structured document retention policies (including for electronic documents) is key to proper compliance with e-discovery guidelines.

At Norman Roos LLP, we utilize cutting-edge technologies in all transactional and litigation matters, reducing the total number of hours spent on each assignment, and in turn reducing client costs and fees. Whether in the course of litigation, transactional matters, or legal research and analysis, we pride ourselves on excellence and efficiency.