The explosion in volume of electronically stored information has changed the face of litigation. Just a few years ago, law firms sifted through boxes of paper documents relevant to their clients’ cases. Today, they rely on technology worthy of the Department of Homeland Security as they mine gigabytes or even terabytes of data stored on hard drives, servers and backup tapes.
The volumes of information are such that, if printed, they could easily fill the halls of the office or even spill out to the parking lot. The costs associated with this time- and labor-intensive process have increased in tandem—at some companies, e-discovery-related outlays now account for a large portion of the entire litigation budget.
Naturally, getting a handle on this line item is a major priority for chief compliance officers, general counsel and other executives at corporations of all types and sizes. Meanwhile, the risks associated with poor handling of e-discovery are a mounting concern, as courts continue to fine companies for delayed or incomplete compliance with their e-discovery obligations.
While the challenges associated with e-discovery are significant, with some advance planning companies can make major dents in their e-discovery outlays—without raising risk. The key is to develop smart strategies and policies for document storage and retrieval, to use workplace technology wisely and to take maximum advantage of those who can offer the technical and legal know-how needed to get a handle on these issues.
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By: Daryl E. Shetterly