As the legal landscape evolves, the integration of technology is a prevalent addition to this arena. E-discovery, or electronic discovery, has been integrated into many aspects of how information is gathered, stored and presented.
What is e-discovery?
E-discovery is an electronic solution for the identification, collection and production of electronically stored information when responding to a request for production in an investigation or lawsuit. Also known as ESI, this data includes documents, social media, web sites, presentations, emails, voicemail, audio and video files.
Where did the use of e-discovery come from?
Electronically stored information began as a way to alleviate handling massive quantities of documents and paper files that could get stolen or misplaced, and for privilege protection and responsiveness. This involved an exchange among many hands, and responsive documents were then transferred to CDs or other media for transport or use in other areas. This solution was designed to allow everyone working on cases to be able to examine documents.
How will e-discovery impact the future?
E-discovery will become an integral part of the future, as more information which was prohibited in court or cases will be allowed. This has ramifications for the future in the legal profession, as the rules continue to change. Attorneys and legal professionals will be under the microscope in the way they handle sensitive information and could become liable for wrongdoing.
Although there are significant changes in review techniques and document production, there are consistent issues in the use of online shared databases and the way information is searched and shared which can directly interfere with case law and leaves the door open for security breaches. This new way of handling documents and data will continue to shape the landscape of how cases and legal strategies are handled, which will add another layer of information gathering and interpretation of laws into the legal structure.
What are the proper protocols for e-discovery?
An e-discovery plan must be thoroughly researched and compliant with all statutes and laws. Certain disclosures must be integrated into the plan, and they must address certain components such as identification and preservation; the production format; the order of production; processing and production; confidentiality and privilege.
Determining how much data will be held on servers and how to preserve it and validation and analysis protocols must also be in place to have an effective and successful e-discovery plan. Working with vendors who are familiar with these protocols and can implement guidelines that are in agreement with the law is key. By using these guidelines, legal professionals will avoid fines or sanctions in cases where the use of e-discovery may become an issue. Adhering to widespread protocols and reactive approaches can provide protection at every level of the law.