According to Complete Discovery Source, e-discovery (electronic discovery) is known as an “electronic aspect of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request for production in a law suit or investigation. ESI includes, but is not limited to, emails, documents, presentations, databases, voice mail, audio and video files, social media and web sites.” It is used in the initial phase of litigation and is fundamentally changing the way law firms do business.
The effort to comply with an e-discovery request is often time-consuming and expensive due to the volume of information and records created and stored in electronic form. It can often add additional burdens to an already overworked IT staff, given the need to locate and secure specific information that may be used as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case.
So with much conversation surrounding e-discovery, how can a law firm effectively use e-discovery to enhance their business processes?
First and foremost, law firms can utilize technology to streamline their records management systems and eliminate information no longer needed. Once there is the commencement of litigation, these organizations can reduce the cost of data identification, collection, processing, searching and review. Technology can also be used to reduce the data sets needed to be reviewed by attorneys and can be implemented to prevent multiple reviews of the same information.
In a recent interview by SearchCompliance.com, associate editor Ben Cole sat down with Howard Reissner, an active member of the New York State Bar Association and a former practicing lawyer, to discuss e-discovery in law firms. He was asked, “How, specifically, does the new technology assist in reducing data sets needed to be reviewed by attorneys?” Here is what he had to say:
“The opportunity to reduce the data sets occurs at four key times in the lifecycle of the information after it’s created. They are:
a. Technology can be utilized to reduce data storage through records management
b. When a request is made for information responsive to a request software that can be employed to “crawl” the network and locate relevant data;
c. Collected information can be reduced again through de-duplication and searching technologies (e.g., conceptual search) that focus more directly on the responsive data; and
d. Hosting repositories can streamline the process by which documents are reviewed for privilege and responsiveness.”
As expressed in Reissner’s answer, it is clear that the ability to locate specific types of information, as well as eliminate large quantities of non-relevant data from the review process has yielded several positive results for law firms. If you haven’t yet, it is time to make your management systems more efficient and dive into e-discovery. What is your law firm doing? Do you have questions regarding e-discovery? Let us know by commenting below.