Much of the critical evidence relevant to today’s business litigation is found on company computers. No wonder, then, that discovery of electronic evidence has quickly become a key litigation concern. There is no doubt that parties, litigators and courts recognize the importance of electronic data discovery. On average, four times as many decisions have been rendered on e-discovery issues each year from 2000 to 2004, compared with the immediately preceding five years.
Many of these cases involve sanctions that have been levied against clients and counsel for failure to adequately preserve potentially relevant electronic data. Even negligent failures to preserve electronic data have, on occasion, given rise to monetary sanctions, “adverse inference” instructions, and other penalties. Moreover, several U.S. District Courts have implemented specific local rules for the planning and conduct of electronic discovery. Even the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are undergoing revision to insert e-discovery specific mandates. Electronic discovery presents fundamentally new challenges. These include:
- Volume. The amount of electronic data existing in a company’s computers and storage media is exponentially larger than the amount of paper in a company’s files.
- Location. Most companies have highly developed filing systems for their hard-copy documents. Electronic data, on the other hand, is a much larger “sea” of unsorted data existing on extremely large hard drives, servers and back-up tapes; the relevant “needles” must be sifted from a much larger “haystack.”
- Preservation. Paper documents generally exist unchanged unless intentionally destroyed. Electronic data, on the other hand, is easily corrupted if not properly handled.
The E-Discovery Solution
Find an experienced partner who understands the many new challenges presented by electronic discovery, and has:
- A firm grasp of the emerging legal standards regarding e-discovery, including proper preservation, spoliation, sanctions, cost shifting, and evidentiary rules.
- The capacity to add value to proactive document retention policies.
- The ability to rapidly and properly respond to client questions and requirements when the need for preservation arises.
- The necessary discovery requests, protective orders, cost-shifting motions and other pleadings specifically adapted to current e-discovery issues.
- In-house technical resources to understand and meet the technical needs for e-discovery, as well as good relationships with outside e-discovery and forensic vendors.
- The ability to effectively utilize electronic information inside the courtroom.
The E-Discovery Team
Foreseeing the increasing importance of e-discovery, our firm formed a rapid reaction team of partners and associates with the necessary training, education and experience, plus the resources of the firm’s Lawgical Choice© subsidiary, to meet the legal and technical challenges of e-discovery.
Our E-Discovery Team can quickly, efficiently and comprehensively advise clients on preservation and e-discovery issues when the need arises. We also have experienced professionals to handle the legal and technical aspects of electronic preservation and discovery, including hard drive imaging, backup tape preservation, electronic data collection, privilege and relevancy review, electronic data production, and electronic analysis of the opposition’s electronic data. And finally, we have the experience and technology to use e-data effectively in deposition and at trial.
For additional information, contact Dan Nelson or John Cowling.