In this CLM Magazine article, Finding an E-asy Solution: How to Manage eDiscovery Challenges in Construction Defect Lawsuits to Lower Costs and Minimize Disruption, BIA’s Barry Schwartz offers suggestions on how to handle the eDiscovery piece of construction defect litigation. When done correctly, eDiscovery does not have to be a rushed, hectic, and costly process that disrupts a company’s daily operations.
Most construction companies are familiar with the litigation alarm bell going off for construction defect lawsuits, which occur in the thousands each year across the industry. Yet, when faced with litigation, many companies find themselves without a standard procedure for handling the eDiscovery process.
eDiscovery involves the opposing sides collecting, organizing, and ultimately sharing any ESI (electronically stored information) relevant to the case. As an ad-hoc, case-by-case, one-off endeavor, this process can wreak havoc on an organization’s daily business routine. Employees frantically dig for data in company (or even personal) devices, and looming deadlines add stress, chaos, and costs.
Good news: there’s a better alternative.
With a little advance planning to establish a standardized process at the beginning of a case (or better yet—before it), you can equip your company with a game plan that will help you sail through this case and the next.
There’s power in a plan.
- Know where your data resides, preferably before you have to go looking for it.
- Document all places where your company data might be stored; a custodian questionnaire is a good tool for starting this process.
- Document each and every step of your data identification and collection process—not only because you might need to show this in court, but it will help you establish consistent, repeatable workflows for the next case.
Nothing beats the right tool(s) for the job.
- Shop around for the right eDiscovery platform that best suits your company’s needs.
- Consider a centralized platform where you can safely store all your document review data for re-use. (For an in-depth look at how BIA helped one of our construction firm clients do this, check out our case study, Taming the Data Beast.)
- Take advantage of advanced analytics features that use AI to help you manage and sort your data to reduce time, cost, and confusion.
Remember that document review doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
- Consider establishing a fixed team of document review attorneys (as opposed to hiring contract attorneys for each individual case) and keep the power of institutional knowledge on your side.
- Enlist a team of people who can employ the technology to quickly and accurately determine which data is relevant from the outset; pair the right humans with the right machines, and you will reduce the number of hours attorneys spend with their own eyes on documents.
- Understand where your money is going—some of those “document review” items on your invoice might not involve actually reviewing documents. Watch out for common document review inefficiency traps.
The road to eDiscovery success begins with an assessment of your current personnel resources and technological tools.
This evaluation will help you determine whether you have sufficient internal resources to handle the extra responsibility every time litigation occurs, or whether your situation might require professional experts, tailored software, or even an outside eDiscovery provider to oversee and guide the process through to completion.
For nearly two decades, BIA has served law firms and corporations—as an occasional helping hand to some, and for others as their trusted, go-to guide for any and all things eDiscovery, matter after matter. We can help you stop reinventing the wheel every time you face litigation—get in touch today.
What’s your plan for when the litigation alarm bell goes off?
Have an eDiscovery plan ready—for this case and the next.