Basics of eDiscovery
Case law analysis and conducting proper research are important parts of a lawyer’s job. Having access to review data and records is imperative to gain clarity and insight for any given legal case. When considering case management strategies, accessibility is one of the key issues lawyers have to deal with. eDiscovery can change the way a firm or legal department handles cases and information.
eDiscovery is a relatively new concept that is continuously evolving. It has become an essential fabric of the judicial system in a short amount of time. Leveraging an eDiscovery platform provides seamless case management. A trustworthy eDiscovery software like Casepoint helps legal professionals find relevant information, develop case strategies, and fight cases to victory!
What is eDiscovery Software?
eDiscovery has been a revolution to the legal industry by giving legal professionals the tools they need to analyze cases and discover the truth. With it, they can retrieve information from a wide range of sources including social media accounts, messages, emails, documents, or any other valuable data. All of this type of data needs to be accessed in order to be used as evidence in a court of law.
In our modern world, which is built on digital communication, collecting information pertaining to a case is a complex process. Finding relevant information the old-fashioned way can be incredibly challenging. eDiscovery facilitates one’s search for key information without wading through mountains and mountains of data. It ensures the security of sensitive or private information while also easing the use of evidence in court, providing reliability and longevity across difficult cases. eDiscovery is a valid and useful resource to access electronically stored information (ESI) for the purpose of litigation. It is a very necessary tool for modern corporations, law firms, and government agencies and offers a multitude of benefits.
Who Needs eDiscovery Software?
Law firms, corporations, state and local governments, and federal government agencies benefit greatly from leveraging eDiscovery. It is integrated into most lawyers’ processes and how they conduct business. For instance, law firms hold important, sensitive information and need to ensure client data remains secure for long periods of time. eDiscovery empowers legal professionals to practice law remotely and securely from any location. Large corporations use eDiscovery solutions to manage legal matters and the operations of their legal department.
When it comes to investigations, there are many sets and sources of information that require exploration. eDiscovery software plays a central role in finding the right information in a large database. Corporations can utilize eDiscovery during their internal investigations to find key data. There is simply an incredible amount of data across all industries that require proper management, which is why eDiscovery software is so useful and advantageous, especially for important or high-profile matters.
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How Does the eDiscovery Process Work?
The process of using eDiscovery is fairly straightforward. Considering large volumes of data might be overwhelming to wade through, advanced eDiscovery software is a resource that helps navigate the process. The process starts by identifying potentially relevant ESI sources, key witnesses or custodians, key timeframes, keywords, and more. This is when a Legal Hold is issued. After determining what data needs to be collected, data collection begins by gathering all the different forms of digital information through a comprehensive discovery process. Any critical information that you find and think can work towards the benefit of your clients, can be uploaded to the software and exchanged easily during litigation.
This is imperative because certain facts can greatly impact the direction of a case. All of the data must be thoroughly sorted through in order to effectively find the needle in the haystack that works for your clients.
Before eDiscovery software became available, attorneys had to sort through physical copies of paper documents, which made the entire process quite cumbersome. However, today, when almost all the information can be accessed in a digitized format, the process looks very different. eDiscovery software is what’s now used to access these new file types and produce them for litigation. eDiscovery has been used for court cases spanning back to 2005 and it is common practice today.
Common eDiscovery Challenges
The process of eDiscovery has not yet been perfected, and there are definitely some challenges to contend with. However, eDiscovery providers are continuously advancing the technology and therefore the processes.
One of the most common challenges is the sheer mass of data that exists. It can become increasingly difficult to manage and sort through it all. There is always an enormous number of documents to review and it will only continue to grow over time. While the advancements in technologies offer the added advantage of having more information to work with, it also has made it more difficult to find critical information.
The growth of databases is a cause for concern because it can quickly get out of hand. Over time, increasing data volumes can be harder to organize. It might become more difficult to find the information you need. With physical storage and hard drives, there is only a limited number of files that are able to fit. However, with cloud-based eDiscovery, there is no limit to the amount of information you can retain.
eDiscovery Guidelines You Need to Know
There are several guidelines in regard to eDiscovery that you should be aware of for the long term. The first one that you should know about is that there are actually multiple ways to perform eDiscovery. The ERDM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) discovery method provides a framework outlining the standards for the discovery and recovery of digital data. However, you can tailor the review process.
Before any discovery takes place there are rules that must be followed. The first one is the eDiscovery conferences that must take place between the parties. Another rule worth mentioning is that even though it is a possibility that the claim might get dismissed, the parties are required to initiate discovery as soon as the case is filed. There is also a rule in place that allows you to get your data in the manner that best suits your case. How certain information is presented is paramount for giving you the strongest case.
If you are going to get involved with the eDiscovery process, knowing about a few basic terminologies will help you get a head start.
First is ESI, which stands for electronically stored information. As the primary object of eDiscovery, ESI encompasses all the digital records including emails, chats, social media posts, database records, or any other form of digital information.
First is ESI
Another term is de-duplication which refers to the automated process where you identify and separate any true duplicates.
There are many other terms you should get acquainted with such as filtering, Hash Value, Keywords, Metadata, Preservation, and much more. If you’re engaging in the discovery of information, learning these terms will help you develop a more concrete understanding overall.
During a case, you need to preserve the right data which can be quite challenging given the sheer volume of available information. eDiscovery can help you address this issue and makes it easier to process and review the information for analysis and, eventually, legal presentation. With the increased security levels that some eDiscovery providers have, you can ensure your clients that their sensitive information is secure.
When it comes to eDiscovery, it’s imperative that companies have a record of all files pertaining to the case. The information that can be brought up here can make for a powerful case in a court of law. The smallest details can make a tremendous difference in a case. eDiscovery makes it a lot easier to contend with large volumes of data and information. You can find the right information to protect your client and their interests in court with the help of eDiscovery.