The progression of electronic discovery has triggered corporations, law firms and vendors to adapt to -- some would say in order to survive -- modern litigation and the procedures and processes relating to electronically stored information.
Corporations have implemented e-discovery response teams, installed software and appliances to automate legal holds, and revised electronic retention policies to better prepare for the management of e-discovery. Law firms have created e-discovery practice groups, recruited IT specialists, fashioned applications and created review teams to better manage risks and costs associated with e-discovery. Vendors have advanced their operations to include the expertise -- including forensic collection, tape restoration and data processing -- to address corporate and law firm ESI needs.
After identification of both key custodians and related sources of electronic data -- and the preservation and collection of the same -- the law firm and its client must confront the costly tasks of processing and reviewing the data for responding to the current investigation, claim or litigation. The below phases describe the challenges and potential solutions that corporations and law firms need to address for managing risk, balancing costs and leveraging resources during the process and review stages of e-discovery.
DETERMINING WHAT TO PROCESS
Not all media identified and preserved may need to be processed. The type of case, sources of data and number of custodians will impact how best to determine what needs to be processed. Of course, how the organization maintains its data will also impact the processing stage. Early case assessment by the e-discovery team will help determine the scope of electronic data. The need for a "roadmap" of the organization's network infrastructure is critical in not only assisting counsel for the Rule 26(f) meet and confer, but also for determining types and sources of potential relevant information.
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