Yesterday morning, I came across a great article in Law Technology News titled, “Seeing with New Eyes.” After reading the title, I was immediately interested in what the author had to say. He started with a quote by Marcel Proust:
“The only true voyage of discovery … would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is.”
Immediately I thought about when I was a child and my parents would tell me not to judge anyone until I had walked a mile in their shoes. But this quote goes beyond shoes and actually discusses looking through another’s eyes. Can you image the outlook and perspective you would have?
The author goes on to discuss the legal industry, stating, “We need new eyes and new contexts to discover today’s digital evidence.”
Why? Simply put, over the past few years, the legal industry has flipped upside down – from how they collect data to their every-day processes. For years, the legal industry has been known for their stacks of paper documents – printing for review, highlighting important information, trading multiple hands, mailing to clients, etc. But today is a different day, and it continues to change. Case-making information will be data, not documents (geo-location data; databases; Big Data; metadata).
Digital activities and devices record where people go, when and with whom. One day, users will even capture all they see and hear using technologies such as Google Glass. It is quite unbelievable. In this digital world, there are so many means of communication, and so many different perceptions, even from the same outlet, so it can become overwhelming.
So why am I telling you this? One of the hottest topics today within the industry is eDiscovery, and that’s exactly what I am talking about – data is starting to take the place of documents. Unfortunately, the process of eDiscovery can be long and drawn out, as there are many different places to look for and find electronic information. Law firms must have a plan in place to store, retrieve and send critical eDiscovery information.
Did you know collaborative tools such as SharePoint 2013 offer new features to help manage the eDiscovery process? They do. In SharePoint, the eDiscovery Center is a central site used to manage preservation, search and export content stored in Exchange and SharePoint across SharePoint farms and Exchange servers.
What does this mean for you? As an example, think about how you currently perform a legal audit. With the help of SharePoint, you can create eDiscovery sets to identify the specific material to be located, and then preserve the sites and email boxes in which content was discovered. You can then create queries to further refine the content that is relevant, preview and export the content. When the case is closed, all of the holds associated with the case are released.
It is time to start learning about the life cycle of creating and managing eDiscovery cases and truly start seeing the world from new eyes. How does your firm effectively respond to litigation requests and eDiscovery obligations? Do you use collaborative tools? We’d like to find out what’s working for you. Comment below.