Electronic Discovery As An Attorney Are You Prepared For It

Electronic Discovery: As an​ Attorney, Are you​ Prepared for​ It?
You’re sitting in​ your​ office when your​ secretary buzzes you​ and​ says you​ have a​ letter in​ from the mail .​
Upon​ opening it​ you​ realize it’s a​ request for​ electronic discovery .​
The opposing attorney is​ asking for​ your​ client’s hard drives, emails, phone records, tape backups, and​ other legacy media.
Do you​ know how to​ respond to​ their request? Do you​ know what is​ relevant or​ not to​ the litigation? How do you​ review and​ do productions on​ electronic discovery? What kind of​ software exists out there to​ help? and​ can’t you​ just give them paper and​ let them be happy with that?
So many questions, and​ not surprisingly, so many answers .​
To begin, you​ need to​ know what electronic discovery is​ before undertaking any kind of​ response .​
Electronic discovery is​ the term coined to​ indicate any information​ in​ electronic format that is​ passed between two parties for​ the sake of​ discovery during or​ before litigation​ commences .​
Such information​ can be electronic files on​ a​ hard drive, emails on​ a​ pda, server, laptop, or​ desktop, and​ voice and​ video recordings among other things .​
Generally, most electronic discovery is​ centered on​ anything that could be paper, but is​ usually electronic .​
Emails, word documents, and​ excel spreadsheets seem to​ be the most highly sought after items in​ discovery .​
Whereas an​ attorney could get away in​ the past with printing out an​ email and​ handing it​ over the other side, these days that is​ generally not good enough .​
Email files contain​ what is​ called meta data which shows who sent the email, what time, who was cc’d and​ who was even bcc’d .​
It may even show what email servers sent the data out originally.
Because emails are kept in​ electronic format during the ordinary course of​ business, it​ seems only right to​ ask for​ it​ in​ the same format .​
There are many vendors out there that can assist with processing emails and​ electronic files for​ the sake of​ discovery and​ productions .​
Doing a​ price comparison​ won’t always give you​ the best solution​ for​ a​ service provider .​
Ask around .​
See who is​ doing a​ good job among other firms and​ who isn’t .​
Vendors will take the electronic data, process it​ by taking out the metadata and​ create what is​ called a​ tiff image and​ a​ corresponding data record linked to​ that image that you​ can search on​ .​
These vendors will even OCR the image so that you​ can search on​ the words actually on​ the image.
Computer forensic experts also exist and​ would be happy to​ provide consultation​ to​ the attorney who needs help in​ deciding how to​ handle this​ new realm of​ discovery .​
Such consultants are usually well versed in​ discovery requests and​ can assist in​ making your​ own discovery request as​ well.
Once you​ have received the electronic data from the opposing attorneys, you​ now need to​ review it .​
The same vendors who assisted you​ with your​ own processing can now process the opposing attorneys files as​ well .​
They will either process and​ give you​ back searchable data files for​ various popular litigation​ support software (Concordance, Summation, etc) or​ some vendors have hosted solutions available that are web based and​ allow you​ to​ do online reviews for​ relevancy, confidential, and​ other hot coding issues that you​ would normally do in​ your​ own office with paper .​
Now that I’ve given a​ little primer on​ what electronic discovery is, don’t be alarmed if​ you​ are not up to​ date on​ everything .​
There is​ more than enough information​ on​ the web that will allow you​ to​ sink your​ teeth in​ and​ absorb this​ ever growing field of​ electronic discovery .​
a​ good source of​ reading about this​ field is​ www.electronicdiscoverycenter.com

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