What is E-Discovery
The universe of electronic documentation continues to grow astronomically.
This is especially obvious when considering the popularity and increased usage of mobile devices, web-based applications, and cloud-based platforms in today’s digital world.
Whether we are communicating or conducting business, we radiate data. It’s no wonder that the preponderance of documents needed for litigations, arbitrations, and investigations are in electronic format.
What is E-Discovery?
For the purpose of compliance, prevention, and preparation, the process of identifying, collecting, and producing electronically stored information (ESI) to develop evidence is called electronic discovery—aka e-discovery.
The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) provides us with a visual representation of the e-discovery workflow, but it’s important to note that e-discovery does not require that you engage with all steps outlined in the EDRM diagram nor does the process need to be carried out in this order.
When Do We Use E-Discovery?
E-discovery is often initiated in pursuit of legal action or to protect against it, though the need for e-discovery is not limited to these circumstances. For the sake of this discussion, let’s start at the beginning of an investigation. The parties involved will identify all sources of evidence, and in this instance we’re referencing ESI, as it supports their case. A legal hold is then placed on all potentially relevant data to preserve it—it cannot be modified, deleted, or otherwise destroyed. This material is then collected by extracting it from the data source, and then it is indexed and hosted in a data repository.
Next, the data is processed to separate the relevant data from the non-relevant data. By culling down the high volumes of data collected for an investigation, only the relevant data will move on to be hosted in a secure environment and made accessible to reviewers to code for relevance. At this point, relevant documents may be converted to a static format, such as TIFF or PDF, making redaction of privileged and non-relevant information possible.
Technology-assisted review (TAR), predictive coding, and other analytics software can be used to reduce the number of documents required for review by attorneys. This allows legal teams to prioritize relevant documents, saving them a significant amount of time that could have been wasted reviewing irrelevant materials.
Attorneys will then analyze the ESI, looking for context such as patterns, relevant topics, key people, and discussion threads. The evidence is then produce and presented in front of an audience during depositions, hearings, trials, etc.
Why Is E-Discovery Important to Companies?
The ability to connect a workforce through collaborative software has helped increase operational efficiency, organization, and scalability. At the same time, these applications and systems are usually cloud-based. The data within these applications can be difficult to collect and is often exported in formats that are problematic for discovery review platforms.
These compounding challenges have put e-discovery advancement at the forefront of legal investigations globally.
E-discovery can cost corporate legal departments and law firms significant time and money. Getting it right is key to ensuring all parties remain within the purview of the law, cost effectiveness is achieved, and deadlines are met. This includes optimizing workflows and technologies to manage and preserve the massive amount of electronic data. This data is created by:
- Electronic documents
- Audio and video files
- Social media
- Websites and their metadata (time-date stamps, recipient information, file properties, etc.)
U.S. courts and bar associations have recognized that in order to satisfy the ethical duty of competence, supervision, and confidentiality, attorneys involved in litigation must have a sufficient understanding of legal technology. Particularly, they need a sufficient understanding of the recurring issues that arise in e-discovery.
This reaffirms why e-discovery should be conducted by a team of forensic technology experts. They specialize in e-discovery and can provide early data assessment, deployment, and storage by leveraging advanced ESI technology.
E-Discovery at TLS
Our forensic experts analyze data from every source using our proprietary early case assessment (ECA) engine Digital Reef. Digital Reef is one of the most powerful tools on the market. It’s capable of reducing data sets by more than 95%. Our proprietary e-technology platforms have big data processing capabilities: they’re able to ingest and refine up to 17 terabytes of data per day, allowing our experts to expedite capacity.
By leveraging ECA technology, our forensics experts can minimize costs, protect sensitive information, and ensure compliance.
Learn more about TLS’s e-discovery services today.