What is eDiscovery? The Complete Electronic Discovery Guide
Gone are the days when eDiscovery was limited to outside litigators looking for smoking guns and redacting privileged information. Stricter regulatory oversight, cross border privacy regulations and increasingly larger and more complex data sets have expanded the scope and scale of eDiscovery technology.
SaaS and Artificial Intelligence have changed eDiscovery practices and transparent pricing and predictable budgeting have become the standard. Over the years, modern eDiscovery software has become a vital tool for the entire enterprise.
An introduction to eDiscovery
eDiscovery has a bad reputation. Litigators, general counsels, legal support staff, IT professionals, and information management specialists each approach eDiscovery from varying angles. Yet, they are united in a singular view, eDiscovery is a challenge.
It’s bad reputation is duly deserved. eDiscovery arrives with all the subtlety of a tornado, demanding immediate attention and sucking up time, money and labor in a deluge of dull, repetitive tasks and tedious processes.
As if that is not enough, eDiscovery can leave behind severe and crippling damages if it’s not completed absolutely thoroughly and accurately.
It’s obvious eDiscovery is definitely not a crowd-pleaser. So why should you care about eDiscovery?
What is eDiscovery?
Let’s keep this simple and just use the Wikipedia definition:
Electronic discovery (also e-discovery or ediscovery) refers to discovery in legal proceedings such as litigation, government investigations, or Freedom of Information Act requests, where the information sought is in electronic format (often referred to as electronically stored information or ESI). Electronic discovery is subject to rules of civil procedure and agreed-upon processes, often involving review for privilege and relevance before data are turned over to the requesting party.
What is eDiscovery used for?
eDiscovery is most often used in large investigations, involving multiple custodians, and large volumes of data. As data becomes increasingly more complex across the industry, eDiscovery is now also relevant for smaller organizations, as they are sifting through large data sets scattered across multiple channels.
eDiscovery tools help identify, preserve, collect, process, review, and analyze data as part of the discovery process within an investigation case.
Why is eDiscovery important?
In a world that is increasingly digital, all legal fact-finding will be done on electronic data sets pulled from email boxes, phones, tablets, hard disks, USB storage, cloud storage, enterprise collaboration platforms (i.e. Slack, Teams, etc.), social media, file shares, document management systems, Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365.
eDiscovery is the direct result of developing strategies to deal with these ever increasing amounts and types of electronically stored information (ESI) generated by businesses, people, and devices in our hyper-connected online world.
Because our world has become digital, all information requests from regulators, employees, customers and various other third parties will be about the content of these electronic data sets.
This means that today's legal professional must be able to deal with large electronic data sets. And that is only possible with modern (eDiscovery) technology. This is the only way to take decisions based on facts instead of based on guesses and assumptions. The only way to answer information requests timely, accurately and complete. And the only way to avoid high cost, reputation damage, regulatory measures, business disruption and stress.