According to recent statistics, the volume of electronically stored data doubles every 18 months, which is one reason why it is important for companies to create a more proactive FRCP e-discovery approach. A big problem with e-discovery is that many companies have a reactive approach to litigation, and their legal, records and compliance departments take a silo approach to e-discovery. Hiring an e-discovery company is one proactive approach, however, here are some best practices to stay proactive.
In a silo a e-discovery approach, each team involved in the preservation and collection of electronic documents works independently. The legal team works separately from the records team while the compliance team works separately from both teams. The silo approach results in data custodians providing duplicate and irrelevant documents that increase the costs of document recovery. In fact, there are estimates that 30 to 70% of all data collected is duplicative. A significant volume of personal, non-business related materials are collected as well. Millions of dollars have been unnecessarily spent using antiquated methods to harvest and process data that’s not even relevant to the litigation.
Technology has created the e-discovery monster and, although technology will play a big role in taming the e-discovery beast, it will take the implementation of strict procedures, quality control and better documentation of information as well. Many companies are beginning to see the need for a proactive e-discovery approach and are utilizing methods such as data maps for knowing where potentially relevant data resides. Unfortunately, a majority of businesses are not well prepared for full-scale e-discovery in advance of litigation, placing them in a reactive mode rather than a proactive role.
In addition to using technology to build a more proactive e-discovery approach, companies must devote careful attention to their records retention policies. Every electronic document, from email to customer files to contracts, contains information that could one day be relevant to litigation. However, it is impossible for companies to retain every single document, email and data link indefinitely on the premise that it may one day apply to a legal issue. And while the option exists to utilize cloud computing as a method to retain large chunks of data, these types of systems offer their own risks, as they are often unstructured and stored in various locations. Therefore it’s important for companies to contemplate which documents much be retained, how they’ll be retained, and for how long – taking into account business, legal, and regulatory requirements. Implementing an organized, standard records retention policy is a vital step toward a proactive e-discovery approach.
Technology continues to grow which means that electronic document use will also continue to grow in litigation. As the volume of electronic documents increases, the need for companies to develop a proactive e-discovery approach becomes even more critical. If you need assistance or consultation for an upcoming case involving electronically stored information, call Advanced Discovery at (866) 560-5898 or visit the contact us section of our website.