Your eDiscovery is complicated, but the solution is simple.
Law and technology on their own are highly sophisticated and complex entities, so it should come as no surprise that eDiscovery is complicated as well. As an attorney or lit tech specialist, your goal when it comes to eDiscovery is quite simple: acquire, review, and produce the necessary data in a manner that is quick, cost-effective, and defensible. Achieving that goal on the other hand is not so simple—unless you have help.
Technology advances induce changes in both eDiscovery practices and the law—from FRCP rules to privacy laws to ABA rulings on the relevance of digital evidence from various sources. Between smart phones, social media, Alexa devices, personal wearables and many more, the volume of data that humans produce is astronomical and rising. By necessity, the solutions for identifying, collecting, reviewing, and producing that data also are evolving continually.
The more advanced and complicated the eDiscovery practices and solutions become, the more an organization can benefit from tapping into an expert eDiscovery advisor who can discuss in detail the various solutions available. More importantly, an eDiscovery advisor can examine your organization’s situation in depth and recommend which solutions are best fitted for the task at hand.
What exactly does an eDiscovery consultant or advisor do?
eDiscovery advisors assess the past, present, and future of an organization’s eDiscovery efforts. They review the people involved and the workflows and technologies employed. They examine an organization’s litigation portfolio and point out overall cost and process efficiencies obtainable with the right approach. They analyze an organization’s often highly complicated eDiscovery landscape from the thirty-thousand-foot-view that their knowledge and experience afford. They can dive deep into the trenches as needed, to help organizations customize effective, defensible, and cost-saving solutions.
When you enlist an expert eDiscovery advisor, you add to your team a powerful ally who will:
- Be your go-to resource for all those “How should we…?” questions that span from initial privacy laws all the way through the final production of critical documents.
- Review your existing eDiscovery procedures and processes (“How are you doing it now?”) and then identify what’s missing or—more importantly—how to improve on your current process to reduce risk and tame costs.
- Establish best practices for handling your data in the most efficient, appropriate, and cost-effective way; often this will involve consolidating or centralizing your eDiscovery to make it less complicated and reduce your overall data security risk profile.
- Know exactly how to blend advanced workflows, best-of-breed technologies, and human power to achieve your best outcome; this often includes building a custom solution tailored to your enterprise and needs, based on the framework of a proven eDiscovery Playbook.
- Wield the powerful weapon that is their experience across a myriad of industries, where they have worked on all aspects of eDiscovery, legal and regulatory matters.
- Be familiar with pricing and budget controls to provide you with invaluable high-level guidance from a true cost assessment standpoint on multiple aspects of all your projects.
When should I call on eDiscovery consulting or advisory services?
The short answer is ASAP. No need to wait until your eDiscovery gets complicated beyond your team’s ability to manage it successfully. As with everything, an ounce of advanced preparation will pay untold dividends. Engaging an eDiscovery consulting firm at the beginning of your case establishes trust early in the process, allows you to ask all your how-to and what-if questions up front, prepares you for the rest of your litigation journey together, and avoids the all-too-common chaos that otherwise ensues. Most importantly, competent eDiscovery advisors will prevent eDiscovery decisions from happening in a vacuum (often by looping in other C-levels at your organization). This way, all needs and concerns get addressed (not just the needs of the instant case or demand), providing a level of protection to the organization otherwise unattainable.
Here are some common legal events and related areas where an eDiscovery advisor can be especially useful:
- Litigations, arbitrations, and regulatory demands
- H.R. complaints and similar issues
- M&A related requests
- Internal investigations
- Labor contract negotiations
- Data privacy matters
- Developing comprehensive data management strategies, including: remediation of ESI post-retention period; deprecation of equipment that once held legal hold data; backup tapes; unstructured data; cloud-based storage; and data managed by third parties
Here are some specific tasks where eDiscovery advisors can ensure that proper steps are being taken:
- Creating standard documentation and repeatable workflows for ESI that can be shared across counsels and cases, including ESI protocols, production protocols, and eDiscovery playbooks
- Developing litigation hold processes, protocols, and solutions (as well as assisting with drafting the notices themselves)
- Developing and conducting custodian questionnaires
- Identifying, collecting, and preserving ESI—including the Dos & Don’ts of collecting data from mobile phones, gaming platforms, corporate chats, and much more
- Assisting with requests for production
- Conducting managed review
- Recycling institutional knowledge across all your legal matters, from how data is identified and collected to relevancy, privilege calls and more
- Helping identify where to leverage digital forensics investigators to find the smoking gun, whether that be traditional computer forensics or more modern areas like social media investigations
- Investigating allegations of suspicions of fraud, including exiting employee data thefts
Can’t my attorneys and IT staff handle my eDiscovery on their own? What does an eDiscovery consulting firm like BIA have that they don’t?
Knowledge & Experience
Attorneys know the law. IT knows the technology. BIA knows both. If you are working with a law firm or IT staff only, you are missing out on the higher level of knowledge that is available regarding the intricacies of the complex eDiscovery process. The knowledge and expertise of a high-level eDiscovery advisor is the fruit of their diverse experience working hundreds of cases and solving complicated eDiscovery issues across them all. eDiscovery Advisors have longevity in the industry, a bird’s-eye view of the case, and shorthand tactics that breed efficiency and accuracy throughout every stage of the EDRM.
Simply put, we live and breathe eDiscovery every single day. An eDiscovery consulting firm, especially one like ours that looks to build long-lasting relationships with our clients, keeps the best interest of the client in mind and continually searches for ways that are better, faster, and cheaper—but also defensible. They can guide clients’ decisions to apply the right eDiscovery solutions at the right times, such as when and how to use analytics tools most effectively.
A competent eDiscovery consulting firm will have your back with 24-hour customer support. This is not necessarily the case with attorneys or IT staff. Our BIA Advisors know exactly how complicated eDiscovery is—they know it backwards, forwards, sideways, and upside-down. Don’t task your attorneys and IT staff with learning the latest and best eDiscovery practices and technologies solutions—the technology changes too frequently. Let us take care of your eDiscovery in support of your attorneys so that they can focus on the substantive issues of a matter while your IT staff focuses on your core business needs.
Not all law firms or IT teams have analytics tools at their disposal. Even when they do, they are not always proficient in how to best use them in eDiscovery matters. Analytics tools are a bit like power tools—if you don’t know how they work or how to use them correctly, you’re probably better off not using them at all. At BIA, not only do we have top-of-the-line tools and technologies, but our experts stay up to date on them with regular experience, training and certifications, sometimes across entire teams.
eDiscovery is complicated enough without trying to weather it alone.
eDiscovery consulting services are to your litigation as trained electricians are to home improvement. For all the home improving you can manage on your own, electrical projects are the ones for which anyone and everyone will tell you: don’t try to go it alone, hire a professional. eDiscovery is similar—it is possible to do it yourself, but the chances of electrocuting yourself or setting your house [case] on fire are much higher.
Let us help you tame the chaos and clear the cobweb of tools, ad-hoc workflows, and piles of data. Our expert advisors can steer you through the murky waters of eDiscovery with the legal and technical “oars” that we’ve been constantly developing and honing for two decades. eDiscovery is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be, so reach out today.