E-Discovery Technology Challenges and Solutions


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Today's legal environment is very complex. Attorneys are faced with a myriad of challenges to effectively and efficiently support the digital demands associated with a growing number of cases. Many of these challenges are created by the rapidly advancing technologies in both the corporate and social spheres.

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E-Discovery Technology Challenges and Solutions

  1. 1. tently manipulated. Challenges to dataE-Discovery Technology authenticity can jeopardize the outcome of the litigation matter. If a professional service is needed, choose a company that has proven litiga-Challenges and Solutions tion support experience and that has per- sonnel whose experience and training can be verified. In many cases, those experts working on the case can be called upon by By Ronald M. Godfrey, Computer Forensic Examiner, ITForensics.com the court to submit declarations detailing activities, and in some cases are required to provide oral testimony. Whether e-discovery is being done in- house or by a third party, having a wideT oday’s legal environment is very complex.Attorneys are faced with myriad challenges to the specific triggers identified as the cause of the death. If an individual died as a result of breadth of technical experience is key as the e-discovery process unfolds. Havingeffectively and efficiently support the digital taking a certain medication, the attorney the ability and tools available to collectdemands associated with a growing number of might want to target the pharmaceutical com- data from cell/smart phones, hard drivescases. Many of these challenges are created by pany’s servers and systems that contain com- and servers, SharePoint websites, emailthe rapidly advancing technologies in both the munications or analysis relating to tests docu- servers and local systems is critical.corporate and social spheres. When the focus menting the drug’s side effects. The last question to ask is what kinds ofis electronic discovery, the technologies that Once the appropriate areas and nature of software should be employed for doing e-create these challenges have advanced faster targeted data have been recognized, the next discovery. There are many factors to con-than the technology used to identify, collect and question is how to process the information in sider including: type of data that needs toproduce data. This creates stress, delays and those relevant data stores. A good idea is to be searched, locations and types of dataexpense for all parties involved. However, team with an information technology special- stores, budgetary limitations, resourcesthese stresses can be minimized by doing some ist, either in-house or through a third party. available, the amount of data to besimple pre-discovery planning. Considering processed and the time constraints.questions like the ones below can narrow theinitial e-discovery scope and increase theprospect of obtaining relevant data from the “Electronic data is Taking Actiononset of a case. There are many tools on the markets and each should be considered based on the unique characters of your case. One of theWhat You Should Know no longer contained tools used by ITForensics is Sherpa The first question to ask when drafting an Software’s Discovery Attender. This softwaree-discovery request is “where is the relevant is designed to assist the attorney or paralegaldata most likely to be stored for this case?”Electronic data is no longer contained in a in a centralized local in the management of data and information during the e-discovery collection process. DAcentralized local environment. It is mobile and is capable of searching mailboxes located onglobal! Important information can be found the server, personal folders files (.PSTs) andon local machines, networked servers, smart environment. It is networked file shares or servers. Searchphones or even be hosted on the Internet. The results can be de-duplicated, thus reducing theincreased use of cloud computing adds even amount of data required to be reviewed andfurther complexity to the process becauseusers can potentially access and manipulate mobile and global!” stored. Other popular software tools include LAW, used for processing ESI data;data via any Internet-connected device. Concordance, commonly used for reviewing; Identifying these data stores will help Their expertise can be harnessed to effective- and the Clearwell E-Discovery Platform, adetermine what type of process and tech- ly outline how to best access the relevant elec- well-known tool for its early case assessmentnology can be used to obtain the data. This, tronically stored information. The specialist features.in turn, keeps the expenses and requests can also advise the attorney on the complexi- E-discovery can be a stressful and com-reasonable without creating an undue bur- ties in searching for the data and provide rec- plicated process. Allocate time at the onsetden to the responsive party. ommendations how to best extract the data. of the litigation case to identify relevant Another question to keep in mind is the Having an idea of what type of data is relevant data sources, data types, and who will col-nature of the litigation and types of custodians to the case, and where to look for the data is lect the data in a professional manner. Thisinvolved. This determines what kind of data crucial to a successful litigation proceeding. will reduce costs, improve efficiency andcould be responsive and where it is likely to From this perspective, it is important to benefit the litigation proceedings. Askingreside. For example, responsive data for a ask “do we have the expertise, resources the right questions and utilizing the rightwrongful termination suit might reside in the and tools to search and extract the data? Or, technology and resources can furtheremail accounts of specific human resources do we need a professional service?” streamline the process and reduce stressemployees who were involved in the termina- Probably one of the most important along with time and expense. Ttion process. Documents relative to the spe- aspects of collecting electronic evidence iscific justification for the termination might Ron Godfrey is a digital forensics examiner at IT validating authenticity. The data must be col- Forensics, Inc. He teaches digital forensics at Highlinereside on a specific HR file share. lected in a manner that retains its original Another example could be a wrongful Community College in Des Moines, WA, and has worked form. This makes having the right expertise for a Fortune 100 company’s IT security department.death case. It would be important to identify important because inexperienced personnel Godfrey has a total of 12 years in IT and IT security in thedata stores containing information related to can increase the risk that data will be inadver- corporate environment. KMWorld February 2012 S11