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Blog header general

E.D. phone home - taking control of eDiscovery

Jeffrey Wolff
Aug 14, 2018 12:01:21 AM

The mental health of attorneys has been getting lots of press coverage lately.  A work culture steeped in long hours, crazy deadlines, and insane billable hours targets is devouring and spitting out highly-talented attorneys at an alarming rate. And one of the main causes of stress and all-nighters is the process of discovery, especially eDiscovery.

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Scope Growth

The rise of mobile data, complicated and varying state, federal and international data protection laws, not to mention the continually growing amount of information contained in email and company servers has dramatically increased the scope of a typical eDiscovery project.  In-house legal teams are constantly battling to meet eDiscovery deadlines, manage relationships with external attorneys, ensure their credibility with the Board regarding matter progression, and avoid costly lawsuits caused by poor eDiscovery methods.

Then there is the dreaded eDiscovery budget, a beast capable of more fluctuations than Bitcoin on a bad day, especially if you fail to adequately account for the inevitable screw-ups that are guaranteed to occur in large eDiscovery projects.


Outsourcing Tradition

Traditionally, eDiscovery has been an outsourced function. But could some of the challenges listed above be managed more effectively if the process was brought in-house? And could this reduce overall stress within the profession?

There are two predominant reasons for outsourcing eDiscovery:

  • Not having the right tools in-house to do the job, and
  • Fear of making a mistake

Fortunately, if you have the rights tools for the job and get the systems right, the risk management overhead of the eDiscovery process is greatly reduced.

Finding and retrieving Electronically Stored Information (ESI) must be done in a legally defensible way.  A fast way of risking the forensic credibility of a document is to copy and paste it from one file to another, thereby modifying the date.

Employing specialist software at the collection stage is the safest way to preserve the integrity of the metadata and structure of documents.  This type of software is becoming increasingly easy to use, meaning it is safer and more cost-effective to manage the process in-house, especially in highly confidential M&A deals or sensitive corporate litigation.


Managing compliance by keeping control

From the California Consumer Privacy Act to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), balancing compliance with data protection laws and eDisclosure requirements has just got a whole lot tougher.  By bringing eDiscovery in-house, greater attention can be paid to managing compliance risks.  In addition, if the right tools and software are acquired with the addition expert product support, they can be adapted to manage sourcing, collection and preserving of data from developing sources, such as drones, blockchain and social media.


In Summary

Bringing eDiscovery in-house, either in whole or in part is not without challenges.  Ensuring CIOs are behind the concept and understand the legal requirements involves a considerable learning curve.  Therefore, it is imperative to select a supplier who provides extensive and ongoing support.

With mobile data becoming as important as electronic documents, and the compliance requirements connected with handling personal information, it is time to bring eDiscovery home; in-house and back under your control.

Read more in our whitepaper "Take control of your eDiscovery".