E-discovery Software. What’s Law Got to Do with It?

Electronic discovery. Ediscovery. E-discovery.

However you say it, e-discovery is the buzzword among any and all parties involved in litigation, including organizations that face litigation and the law firms that handle litigation. 

According to bitmap.com, e-discovery or ediscovery “refers to any process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case.”

It’s time for law firms, companies and corporations to start looking for software to support retention and management of electronic documents. After all, more than 90 percent of new information is digital.

In response to this shift, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was amended to require all companies to retain and be able to turn over pertinent electronic documents in the case of litigation, which requires e-discovery (ediscovery). We all know litigation is possible for virtually any entity. After all, we live in a litigious country.

This means that companies must be prepared to turn over electronic documents for e-discovery (ediscovery), and law firms must be prepared to handle these documents for electronic discovery.

Again, companies, corporations, and law firms need software, ediscovery software, to support the management of electronic documents. Businesses never know when litigation may strike. Law firms know it will. E-discovery and litigation support software can make or break a case. Effective e-discovery software and retention policies will also save millions of dollars in sanctions and fines courts can slap on any party that doesn’t follow the aforementioned civil procedures.

However, buying software to support e-discovery can be daunting. Some ediscovery software is expensive and/or complex. A little litigation support can help the process.

What’s e-discovery software?

These days, most law firms and organizations involved in litigation support pay service vendors to process e-discovery (ediscovery) documents, such as e-mails, Word docs, Outlook calendar entries, etc. But with the increase in the volume of e-discovery, the cost of outsourcing has skyrocketed, and many organizations are attempting to bring the work in-house with new software to support the e-discovery (ediscovery) process.

Doing it yourself – “in-house,” according to biz lingo – works you have the right e-discovery software and litigation support. Choose wisely.

The stages of e-discovery

One of the first questions to ask yourself: For what stage of e-discovery is the software needed?

Is it:

  • Information/records management prior to discovery
  • Identifying electronically stored information (ESI)
  • ESI preservation and collection
  • Processing/filtering and review of ESI
  • ESI production

No application can handle all e-discovery tasks. It’d be a huge, convoluted application. Instead, you’ll find e-discovery software with a variety of tools for each e-discovery phase or task.

E-discovery tools

Next question: What kind of tools do you need? E-discovery software can be used for a variety of tasks. For example, software can be used to:

  • Search for relevant data and emails on a network, Microsoft Exchange server, or PC.
  • Recover deleted or lost data (including email) on a PC, network, or other media.
  • Collect data in a forensically sound manner to preserve file system and file metadata.
  • Review and mark ESI as relevant, privileged, confidential, or other categories (ESI may include documents, email, spreadsheets, sound or video).
  • Destroy and erase data after litigation is completely over.

Other questions to ask

Does the software:

  • Automate the ediscovery lifecycle with one solution?
  • Support a variety of technologies and platforms to detect responsive data for preservation and collection?
  • Authenticate collection and preservation?
  • Work in a self-contained, out-of-the-box appliance manner, so you don’t need additional hardware, software and storage?

electronic document discovery