What is E-Discovery?
E-Discovery, also referred to as electronic discovery, is part of the initial phase of litigation when each of the parties in a legal dispute are required to provide the other party with relevant information and records in electronic format. It includes electronically stored information (ESI) which includes documents, databases, emails, instant messages, social media, presentation, voice recordings, videos and any other electronic data that could be relevant to the lawsuit including deleted information which can be recovered.
What makes any discovery tricky is the sheer volume of data. With electronically stored documents, there is metadata which gives additional information such as when it was produced. This data is critical to preserving to prevent spoliation or tampering with evidence. After the scope is determined, a legal hold is placed on it to prevent it from being tampered with.
Discovery used to consist of sharing large paper files and sifting and organizing things manually. Now, most discovery is electronic.
Depending on the lawsuit, you may need a forensic expert to find “deleted” or corrupted data. Text messages, emails and other electronic files get deleted each day without a second thought. However, if there is a court order that places it in a legal hold, then that data may need to be recovered. Experts can recover the deleted files.
Duke Law produced a conceptual view of the process as well as an overview of each of the phases if you are curious about learning more about e-discovery basics. Their EDRM breaks down each step to give you an idea of what needs to happen in each phase of the process from identifying a strategy and plan to preservation.
If you looked at the EDRM model by Duke Law, you can see the e-discovery process is fairly straightforward. However, many of the steps are not linear, but an ongoing process.
- Identify and collect all data that is relevant to the lawsuit. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) must be followed in federal cases. In state court, you will need to know what their rules are, but most are adopting the FRCP rules. This is the stage that is the most challenged by the other party in the lawsuit. If not obtained correctly, files can become corrupted or metadata changed. Upload and/or deliver paper or other files to e-discovery software.
Some firms have teams who can do a first glance to determine if they think a document is relevant to the case. This review process can account for a significant portion of the discovery costs. However, it can also end up costing a significant amount if not done correctly. You’ll want to have a tag system that everyone follows.
If you have paper files, pictures or other nonelectronic evidence, a place like Falcon Documents can scan it in for you.
- Review data – with e-discovery, a legal team can look at the data, delete duplicates and eliminate non-relevant data to reduce costs. This is also the phase where we preview the data before processing to reduce costs. It also includes batching and Bates numbering/stamping.
- Processing and Analyze – with e-discovery software, you can search by keywords which makes it faster than traditional paper discovery. Depending on the software you use, it can also show you what you’ve already looked at it so you don’t keep wasting time looking at the same document or file.
- Produce your data – This is how you hand over your data to the other party in the lawsuit. The FRCP requires litigants to produce ESI in its native format or in a reasonably usable form. Standard non-native formats include TIFF and PDF.
How Falcon Document Solutions Can Save You Time and Money
Our experts at Falcon Document Solutions save your team time and money by taking the information gathered by our trusted third-party provider and organizes it according to your specifications. We can also provide consulting to help you determine what you may or may not need. Billing becomes transparent as our charges are passed on to the client. We also offer technology-assisted review which uses machine learning to find relevant documents based on input provided by humans further reducing costs.
As another cost-saver, we waive data preview costs, which shows you how much data there is and gives you an estimate on the cost of discovery. This preview allows you to prioritize certain types of data in case you need to further reduce costs.
Each customer and each e-Discovery have unique specifications and requests. We can customize and organize the discovery to what is the most convenient and logical display format for the client.
If you are looking to control your e-Discovery costs, give our experts a call for more information at 817-830-0330.