eDiscovery 101: Back to Basics
Effective December 1, 2015, changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule(s)”) will alter the ways in which litigants approach case preparation and discovery. The most significant changes are being made to Rules 16, 26, 34 and 37, with a focus on early case management, discovery proportionality and document preservation with the goal of expediting litigation and encouraging cooperation among the parties.
As a newbie to the eDiscovery software service side, I had to get back to basics with some eDiscovery 101 training. What is eDiscovery, what are the stages of it, and why were these rules made?
The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) is the known standard for the stages of eDiscovery in eDiscovery software. The parts that you as a General Counsel, Attorney, Paralegal or Litigation Support should really be aware of are the following:
- Identification - Locating potential sources of ESI & determining their scope, breadth & depth
- Preservation - Ensuring that ESI is protected against inappropriate alteration or destruction
These are the places you can get in trouble and sanctions can be handed down.
In addition to the two steps above, there are these other steps that require technical acumen that you may not have the bandwidth to learn in the time needed:
- Collection - Gathering ESI for further use in the e-discovery process (processing, review, etc.)
- Processing - Reducing the volume of ESI and converting it, if necessary, to forms more suitable for review & analysis
- Production - Delivering ESI to others in appropriate forms & using appropriate delivery mechanisms
These final steps are where a vendor can assist as well, but you get to use your legal background to participate:
- Review - Evaluating ESI for relevance & privilege
- Analysis - Evaluating ESI for content & context, including key patterns, topics, people & discussion
Inventus uses best in breed technology to allow you to review your ESI. If you have never used a document review platform before, no problem! We will train you and get you up and running quickly. Technology can be scary but having that partner we discussed to hold your hand will allow you to get hip with the times and see why everyone is jumping on the document review platform bandwagon.
Each case is a learning experience. There will be challenges, but the idea is to come out of each case knowing each issue along the way was handled correctly and your butt is covered (meaning this was all done in a defensible way to avoid those scary sanctions we discussed earlier). Project Managers do this work day in and day out (check out my colleague’s blog explaining how they can save the day) and having them guide you through this process is truly the smartest thing you can do for you and your company or law firm. There is a reason eDiscovery is the fastest growing legal sector – but you may not have time to focus your time on learning new technology. Partnering with a company like Inventus is like bringing in a hired gun. They get the job done that you don’t have time to, and clean up any messes along the way. But this hired gun will also save you sleepless nights and keep you out of trouble all while counseling you through the hard times. Think of us as your long term partner and trust we are there to help when your nightmare of getting served that complaint becomes a reality. Your glass of wine or whiskey at the end of the day could be another way to look at your eDiscovery vendor. Choose wisely and eDiscovery will not be as scary as it sounds.
The world of eDiscovery is vast and ever changing and unless it is your job day in and day out to manage this type of litigation, having someone walk you through the process is the best way to protect yourself from mistakes and possibly sanctions.
P.S. Here is a great article that explains the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure changes and how they will impact the possible sanctions handed down for failure to comply.