Archive for May, 2008


Electronic Data Discovery: Approach and Process

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

From the initial collection of electronic data to the final making of relevant and responsive documents, one of the biggest challenges faced by lawsuit attorneys is managing the large volume of digital documents produced during the discovery process. Electronic data discovery is a main stream in general discovery of evidence in legal proceedings. Today 90% of the business communication takes place in an electronic environment, so it is critical to carefully manage this electronic data for legal purposes by companies.

Electronic data discovery approach involves the following steps:

Step1: Collection
Formulate plans to identify the data across the networks for legal and IT department. Handling evidence to court requires a documented chain of custody. In this data collection strategy, it is necessary to include any data that is necessary for authenticating a relevant piece of electronic evidence. The collection includes deleted files, Web E-mails, Internet history etc like collecting Meta-data, information about the E-mails, address, date, and time are gathered as an inventory of discovery. This documented chain of custody is helpful in minimizing the mishandling, misconduct or tampering of critical data.

Step2: Preservation
Maintaining the proper integrity of data is the key to preservation. After identification of data; it is protected avoiding spoliation for the validity of the data in order to preserve legacy data. The original data should be stored in a proper location, because the relevant meta-data may exist at the time an electronic document is located, but may be altered. In order to avoid this, affordable techniques exist to make forensic copies or mirror images that are specifically designed to preserve the integrity of the meta-data to capture the relevant meta-data from the original source before they are copied.

Step3: Processing
Make the collected data readable and usable for legal review by eliminating duplicate files. The processing includes deduplication of data by hash value, near duplication, concept clustering, format conversions, native file review, file recovery, meta data extraction, export for any review system.

Step4: Review
Review of electronic documents is essential to separate relevant material from the irrelevant material. Filter the data to achieve a relevant, manageable collection of information. Once the files are collected in readable form, they are converted to digital form in large volumes, particularly with respect to many common forms of electronic documents such as E-mail.

Step5: Production
The final stage is to prepare the data set and make the information available in TIFF, PDF or HTML format as part of a database accessible from a Web-based repository. Delivering electronically stored information (ESI) to various law firms or corporates for further use, production needs vary, therefore the output is flexible.

The law firms and companies that do electronic data discovery have well established clear processes to standardize the way discovery works for all matters. This yields faster results, better control over sensitive data and tremendous cost savings and increased litigation risks, whilst the cost and risks of electronic data discovery is reduced through the hard work of analysis work process. For more information about electronic data discovery visit www.datatriage.com; a leading electronic data discovery firm to process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately.