Since the December 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went into practice, attorneys, in-house counsel and e-discovery consulting firms have worked diligently to understand and adhere to the new rules. E-discovery vendors offer significant expertise on meeting requirements under these rules, yet many of their clients continue to struggle with understanding e-discovery concepts. In this five-part series, Advanced Discovery offers guidelines from an e-discovery service provider perspective for dealing with electronic data and suggests best practices for avoiding sanctions.
The first part of the series deals with preservation requirements. E-discovery consulting firms can work with clients to determine what electronically stored information (ESI) falls under the duty to preserve. Because the law is not definitive as to what should be preserved for each individual case, using an e-discovery company to help identify ESI for preservation, even before litigation commences, can be crucial to avoiding sanctions. Part 1 of the series will also address legal hold notices and how to monitor the ongoing preservation of ESI.
One of the key necessities recommended by e-discovery consulting firms is for collaboration between parties. Judges are increasingly insistent that all parties to the litigation work together to determine which ESI should fall under discovery, and are growing less patient with litigants who use e-discovery as a “fishing expedition.” In Part 2 of the series, guidelines for effective cooperation and collaboration are discussed in an effort to more easily (and cost effectively) comply with e-discovery rules.
Form and Type of Production
Part 3 of the series addresses the format of ESI production, steps to consider when processing, use of technology to identify potentially relevant ESI and avoiding alteration or destruction of data during the process. E-discovery consulting firms that track chain of custody should be able to certify data integrity and provide information in the formats necessary to meet the demands of the requesting party.
Another aspect of e-discovery that judges are increasingly speaking out on is cost. For this reason, judges in certain jurisdictions are demanding that litigants limit their e-discovery requests so as not to expose the producing party to exorbitant costs. All parties should discuss discovery of ESI as early in the case as possible, to successfully target the most relevant data and reduce costs. Part 4 of the series also addresses conducting searches to isolate ESI that is potentially attorney-client privileged or otherwise protected.
This series, developed by Advanced Discovery as a premier e-discovery consulting firm, offers insight and information for those who are already facing litigation or who anticipate a litigated matter in the future. Comments are encouraged throughout the series. If you have suggestions for guidelines or remarks regarding these topics, please leave your comment below. For more information on e-discovery consulting, visit www.advanceddiscovery.com.