Calculate data makeup early to create a stable foundation for the future.
If you build a house with a weak foundation, the building is sure to fall apart. The same holds true for e-discovery—if you don’t pay attention to the early stages and properly calculate from the beginning, you’re in for a world of pain down the line.
From information management to identification, preservation and collection, the left side of the industry standard Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) is truly the foundation of the electronic discovery process. Corporations face this challenge in litigation on a regular basis, and if the house falls down, the finger-pointing will begin.
Picture the EDRM turned 90 degrees to the left, so it stacks up vertically. From that angle, the data makeup of a legal matter’s possibly relevant Electronically Stored Information (ESI) forms the bedrock for successful data preservation, collection, analysis and review strategy. At this nascent stage, Early Data Assessment becomes important.
What is Early Data Assessment?
Early Data Assessment (EDA) has evolved recently as an integral part of the EDRM far-left side workflow. EDA involves preliminary evaluations of data early in the life of a matter. It can include examining the technology and data sources possibly involved in the specific legal matter, not to mention the metadata about that ESI.
The idea behind EDA is to determine the types of data to be potentially preserved, gathered and analyzed, maybe to identify gaps or overlaps in the data, and to begin developing a variety of lists that can be used to help scope the project. EDA also can entail working with the ESI to better understand its substantive content, construct and evaluate potential story lines, craft discovery strategies, and develop e-discovery cost estimates and litigation budgets.
The EDA process is not to be confused with Early Case Assessment which typically relates to assessing legal liability. By contrast, Early Case Assessment usually happens at the onset of a matter as inside or outside counsel assess the viability of a matter, compare it against similar past matters, determine whether insurance coverage may come into play, make decisions about what counsel to retain, and engage in other similar activities focusing on evaluating the entire case early.
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Source: Inside CounselBy: George Socha and Alon Israely