Why E-Discovery Protocol?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Too many Electronically Saved Information cases are left pending, without ever discovering the light of a solution in sight. The E-Discovery protocol is expected to facilitate the just, speedy, and inexpensive conduct of discovery involving Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in civil cases, and to promote, whenever possible, the resolution of disputes regarding the discovery of ESI without the intervention.

Lawyers engaged in civil litigation on smaller matters are not sure regarding the extent to which ESI must be preserved. They are worried about the costs associated with identifying, preserving, collecting, reviewing, and producing this information. This uncertainty, and a lack of understanding of the technical issues involved, forces many lawyers to choose one of the two extremes: over preservation to prevent sanctions or delegate preservation responsibilities to vendors or the clients themselves.

Without the benefit of large E-Discovery budgets, attorneys handling smaller matters may find themselves trapped. Engaging an outside expert to assess the client’s technology infrastructure and implement an appropriate E-Discovery protocol is prohibitively expensive. Clients may not be comfortable with the internal information being assessed by outside experts when their own technology personnel can handle the chunk of information. They may question the need to hire outside experts. These are, of course, reasonable arguments

Usually the time consuming collection of ESI may even go waste. Then there is the attorney review time which again takes a long time to process including the chunks of useless data that must have been collected. An E-Discovery protocol is intended to provide the parties with a comprehensive framework to address and resolve a wide range of ESI issues but it is not intended to be an inflexible checklist.

The Court expects parties to consider the nature of the claim, the amount in controversy, agreements of the parties, the relative ability of the parties to conduct discovery of ESI, and such other factors as may be relevant under the circumstances. Therefore not all aspects of this Protocol may be applicable or practical for a particular matter, and indeed, if the parties do not intend to seek discovery of ESI it may be entirely inapplicable to a particular case. The Court encourages the parties to use this Protocol in cases in which there will be discovery of ESI, and to resolve ESI issues informally and without supervision whenever possible.

Scope of E-Discovery Protocol

Friday, April 15th, 2011

E-Discovery has raised many important issues for litigators and their clients, including evidence integrity, preservation of meta data and its forensic value, recovery of electronic documents from backup tapes, the sheer volume of electronically stored information (ESI) and its impact on the scope of discovery and burden on the parties, and the suitable exchange of electronic
documents.

In December 2006, the US through the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, introduced wide ranging measures to tackle these issues. Ever since the US courts have adopted these measures. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure altered the federal litigation expanse by imposing certain strict rules on litigants. The litigants now have to discuss early in the case a range of matters relating to the discovery of their ESI. It also provides for an early discussion of the assertion of privilege claims. The scope of E-Discovery protocol has now changed from how it was earlier dealt with and not dealt with.

Before the new federal rules came into existence, litigants had to deal with issues related to ESI without a specified framework of rules specifying their disclosure and production obligations. Often, due to a lack of refinement of E-Discovery, the requesting parties’ counsel makes responding parties either to ignore their E-Discovery obligations or to run out the clock without providing any significant E-Discovery responses, information or ESI. The prohibitive cost involved in E-Discovery makes parties concerned failing to press the E-Discovery button.

The Federal Rules’ empowerment of federal courts to take charge of E-Discovery protocol matters, puts an end to the old status quo in ESI production. More federal courts (and state courts who rely on federal case law as instructive) are cautioning litigants to negotiate and reach early agreement on what ESI will be produced, when, and how.

The federal litigants who do not detail in advance about the what and how E-Discovery is going to be done and who will pay for it, face the prospect of having an unsympathetic court make those choices for them. This eventually leads to expensive consequences that could have been avoided. With many state courts now citing federal precedent, and with many states now adopting E-Discovery protocol rules similar to the new Federal Rules, this promises to be a real possibility in state court as well.

Electronic Discovery Services

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Electronic data discovery is a collection of huge chunks of data that is either lost due to some accident or deleted due to some reason. Such electronic data retrieved is used in litigation cases where electronic data is evidence.

Electronic document discovery services for law firms and corporate clients involved in litigation are no longer a matter of requesting printed copies of documents. New and extremely valuable data can be found in accounting systems, Email or databases if one knows where to look. This retrieval requires processing and review of large volumes of desperate data, many times eliminating the expense of converting irrelevant data.

Electronic discovery enables you to streamline e-discovery by providing a window into your case data before data processing and review. It helps you gain control and transparency by determining filtering guidelines.

Electronic data discovery includes retrieval of e-mails, voice mails, instant messages, e-calendars, audio files, data on handheld devices, animation, metadata, graphics, photographs, spreadsheets and other types of digital data. E-discovery can also be in the form offline discovery carried out on a particular computer for a particular case.

Computer forensics is an electronic data discovery service that includes the collection, preservation, analysis, and presentation of computer-related evidence. Computer evidence can be useful in criminal cases, civil disputes, and human resources/employment proceedings.

Computer forensics is a specialized form of e-discovery in which an investigation is carried out on the contents of the hard drive of a specific computer. After physically isolating the computer, investigators make a digital copy of the hard drive. Then the original computer is locked in a secure facility to maintain its pristine condition. All investigation is done on the digital copy.

When a case goes for trial, computer evidence can prove to vital for judges in making a decision. This can prove a reversal of the case entirely. Electronic discovery services are extremely useful when compared to traditional evidences and helps dig the smallest of evidences to alter a case.

Technical Considerations in Review Process of E-Discovery

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Decision-making, backing up your data and managing a review database to acquire digital data in your company is no longer a solvency for your problem in E-discovery, though you decide to go with the legal attorney for review process in E-Discovery. Data collection plays a key role in review process. There are some technical issues that need to be considered, which will help the legal team in identifying potential problems as well as successful review in E-Discovery.

Following are checklist of technical issues that can aid in this review process of E-discovery:

ISP (Internet service provider) will look simple but in most cases they are overlooked. Reliability, network speed and throughput can have a tremendous impact supplied by the ISP. Consult your network engineer and find who you’re ISP (Internet service provider) is and how reliable are they. So that Ip addresses at the main location can be rerouted. For eg: When you access your personal E-mail from your own Internet service provider, chances are your E-mail comes to you from your ISP’s E-mail servers in one of three ways POP (Post office protocol), IMAP (Internet mail access protocol), MAPI (Messaging Application Programming Interface) or HTTP (Hyper text transfer protocol),which helps in finding out the e-mail.

Bandwidth: Routers, hubs, firewalls, cables, and modems all these will effect the actual bandwidth. The bandwidth fluctuates time to time. An average sampling of this bandwidth should be taken every day. This is very important because the reviewers are going to access the data online and check whether they have the actual bandwidth speed. Use the online support tools to measure the speed of bandwidth that provide upload and download speed.

Map out the number of hops associated with each computer and review location Tracert is a network command tool used to show the route taken by the packets across an IP network i.e. the information from your computer to one you specify. This tracert command lists all the routers it passes through, until it reaches its destination and will also tell you how long each ‘hop’ from the router to router takes. This will provide lots of relevant information to the networker.

Use web analytic software to view the reviewers and location This will impact adversely if 100 reviewers are trying to access the same information, resources or website from the same physical location at the same time, verses only 10 reviewers doing the same. By making a list of total number of reviewers and their physical access location, we can estimate how long a review will take and from which place.

Software Configuration In order to ensure that Web usage is consistent it is necessary to ensure that software’s are configured in a consistent manner. You should ensure that the Web server is configured so that appropriate information is recorded and that changes to relevant server options or data processing are documented.

Not all the time the web usage data might give true indication of usage of data. This is due several factors such as effects of caches, cookies, browser types, auditing tools, etc. Despite these reservations collecting and analyzing usage data can provide valuable information.

Fire wall operation The loss of files, e-mails, financial records can be avoided in conjunction with the other security issues, with the help of Firewall. Firewall is necessary for almost every review process, because they it plays a vital role in overall performance of network. Check whether your firewall is blocking your ports or whether it is accessing the internet through identified specific ports? Most of the firewall has the devices such as NAT(Network address translation) which protects you by hiding the internal ip address to outsiders from reaching your internal network and also inspects the incoming visitors, and also has additional features by terminating the VPN (Virtual private network) which allows the users to securely communicate using encrypted traffic.

Data collection always plays a key role in review process of E-Discovery. After gathering the information based on the checklist of technical issues make a decision by sharing with your technical support team, whether these are with in normal parameters. This will enable the legal team to address for developing the solutions to potential issues and will set up a successful E-Discovery review. www.datatriage.com is the best practice for the corporate firms, who possess both the technical and legal knowledge to set up a successful claim.

 

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.