How to Create and Evaluate Your eDiscovery Game Plan Right Now

January 19, 2020 | Article

By Isaac De La Garza

With the increasing volume of data present in the workplace—in addition to the evolving workforce—more information is needed to be better managed for preservation, ease of review and distribution.

What is eDiscovery?
eDiscovery management exists to extract electronically stored information (ESI) for use in forensic investigation. The end-goal is to obtain requested information for use in pre-emptive or onset litigation.

eDiscovery services include:

  • Preservation of electronically stored data
  • Maintenance of chain of custody
  • Secure hosted review
  • Redaction
  • Archived data for litigation
  • Data culling/filtering

eDiscovery is critical, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Defining Roles within Your eDiscovery Plan
A key component in your eDiscovery plan are the specific roles each team member will fill, as well as their specific goals.

Why do roles matter? Determining who in the organization is going to fulfill each role and outsourcing as needed is critical.

The CEO & Legal Counsel
The first person to be notified is the head of the company, or the organization’s CEO. They must understand the scope of what is needed and the information to be obtained. They work together with legal counsel on the best course of action and the most cost-effective way of performing their legal obligation.

This role in particular is responsible for determining what needs to be done and who should do it. They represent and protect your company during the eDiscovery process.

Internal Personnel or External Experts
Next steps include assigning specific personnel to retrieve the information from each of the custodians in the manner that best preserves the information.

This role is the relay point for the data. They deliver key information and input as necessary and ensure deadlines are met.

External Experts
A third-party expert can be hired to collect, preserve, filter, sort and host the information. They also provide legal with reviewable copies before the final production.

The goal of your professional eDiscovery experts is to know how to extract and deliver the information you need, in the right manner. Certified eDiscovery Specialists take an investigative approach to preserving data and meeting the requirements for the rules of evidence. This ensures the preservations are done in a defensible manner and without compromising the data’s integrity, confidentiality and availability.

eDiscovery is complicated. Eide Bailly helps make it simple.

The Importance of Objective, Third-Party Experts in Your eDiscovery Plan
There is increasing skepticism of self-collection. That’s why it’s important to truly contemplate how you’ll meet your eDiscovery needs.

For companies that aren’t large enough to have their own in-house eDiscovery department, they may decide that the best way to manage eDiscovery issues is by handing it down to their IT department or employees.

When handling eDiscovery in house, consider these issues:
Over/Under Collection
When a legal hold is requested or information from a user is needed for collection, either the local IT person or an email to the user will request a range of files or folders to be preserved onto external media. The most common way to do this is through copy and pasting or dragging and dropping the files onto the storage device. The problem with this is that it overlooks key files that are typically hidden on firmwide networks, such as system files that contains valuable metadata. Another problem is trying to “save the burden” of looking through what the user deems “unnecessary files.”

Loss of Metadata Integrity
Metadata is embedded information in a file that can be used for the identification and activity of that file by users. Metadata is easily altered through a variety of actions, including opening, copying, moving and editing files. Forensic techniques preserve this information. There are times when it is impossible to get a third-party or the necessary forensic software. By adhering to forensic standards and techniques of documenting everything that is being done and performing them with adherence to preserve the data, it can be defended, if need be.

Loss of Impartiality
While you never want to assume mistrust on any of your fellow associates, it only takes one bad egg or misstep to cost you and your company thousands of dollars in litigation costs. Using a third-party or designated eDiscovery specialist helps prevent any arguments that may arise from opposing counsel on whether information was purposely deleted.

Don’t get stuck with extra costs or destroyed data. Let us help you with your eDiscovery needs

Critical Elements of an eDiscovery Plan
The most efficient eDiscovery management processes include:

  • Collection and preservation. This includes identification of all relevant proportional data that supports claims or defenses in disputes. Clear identification is necessary to avoid excessive volume of data, wasted time and higher costs.
  • Processing. How will the data be sorted?
  • Review. Here is where you analyze the data for necessary components in your legal strategy. It’s also where an outside vendor could help you with language in your discovery order and ensuring the data present is what you need.
  • Production. Ensure the data you have retrieved is presentable. This step also includes the necessary documentation on storage and maintenance of chain-of-custody for collected data.

Cost Saving Tips for Your eDiscovery Plan
eDiscovery doesn’t have to be a costly affair and the easiest way to prevent rising costs is to organize a game plan. The eDiscovery process can end up costing a company thousands of dollars due to miscommunication, poor assignments and lack of support.

Help keep the costs down for your eDiscovery needs.
How to Utilize eDiscovery on a Budget

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