eDiscovery. It’s a word guaranteed to make companies everywhere cringe. Gone are the days when eDiscovery was limited to outside litigators looking for smoking guns and redacting privileged information. It’s true eDiscovery got its start with the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. But eDiscovery techniques and standards aren’t just for formal discovery anymore. With the explosion of electronically stored information (ESI) of ever-multiplying types, eDiscovery software has become a vital tool for managing information all over the enterprise.
- Responding to data privacy concerns. Every day, there’s yet another news story about electronically stored personal information being misused. In response, we’re now seeing increasingly tough data privacy laws featuring stiff penalties for non-compliance.
- Meeting financial reporting requirements. More money, more problems. And a lot of those problems center around the complex obligations of an ever-expanding sea of financial reporting regulations.
- Conducting internal investigations. Long before the prospect of litigation looms, you’ll want to identify what records are kept, where and for how long. That’ll help you establish the facts of any situation and be prepared for any outcome.
- Reacting to external investigations. Getting notice of a regulatory agency’s request for records could be the start of a long nightmare. Being able to flag, evaluate and produce relevant documents quickly could forestall further legal action.
It’s clear being able to examine, evaluate and redact protected information from ESI isn’t just a litigation function anymore. It’s now an essential part of the toolbox for managing your enterprise’s vast, ever-widening stores of information.
And it’s a tool you should wield in your own hands, rather than depending solely on outside counsel or vendors.
You can control deadlines and budgets better. Nobody knows your data better than you do. Bringing the control over (parts of) the eDiscovery process in-house eliminates the ramp-up time necessary for outside counsel and vendors, saving you both time and money.
You can coordinate the dance between IT and legal better. You know the legal and business requirements. Your IT people know the systems. Not having a third party in the mix lets both departments work closely together to achieve a quick, accurate result.
You can anticipate (even prevent) problems. The best litigation strategy is avoiding it altogether. Modern eDiscovery tools don’t just search; they proactively red-flag problem areas, mine data for insights and answer persistent questions. You can spot (and maybe even solve) a potential problem long before it becomes a complaint.