What is eDiscovery?
Discovery is a term generally used with regards to the initial phase of litigation, during which the parties involved in a dispute are obliged to provide each other with pertinent information and records, as well as any other evidence related to the case. Likewise, the term ‘eDiscovery’ refers to the electronic facet of collecting, isolating, and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to relevant requests in a lawsuit and/or criminal investigation; such information includes, though is not limited to, web sites, electronic documents, video footage, computer-aided design files, digital images, audio files, and any other electronically stored information that may constitute relevant evidence in a lawsuit.
When data is identified by the parties involved in litigation, potentially applicable documents, including both physical and electronic materials, are placed under a legal hold, which ensures they are not deleted, erased, or otherwise destroyed. Subsequently, the materials are examined in order to identify and extract any relevant data, which is placed in a database; the data is then analyzed, with the intent of separating any irrelevant information from that which is pertinent, and hosted in a secure environment to be referenced by those involved in the relevant legal proceeding.
The Steps to Proper eDiscovery
- Identification: The first integral step with regards to eDiscovery is the identification of relevant electronically stored information (ESI). As previously mentioned, the sources from which ESI may be obtained include, though are not limited to, web sites, electronic documents, video footage, computer-aided design files, digital images, audio files, etc. It is imperative that all relevant sources are thoroughly considered when attempting to identify ESI, so as to ensure that all relevant information has been discovered.
- Preservation and Collection: Once data from appropriate sources has been identified, it is necessary to collect all electronically stored information applicable to the case at hand; this information should be subsequently, and promptly, isolated and stored in such a way as to render it legally defensible, as well as to ensure that the information cannot be altered or destroyed.
- Processing, Review, and Analysis: In order to remove any excess or duplicate information, it is necessary to review and process the collected ESI. By analyzing the ESI obtained, one is able to identify that which is of the highest importance with regards to the case at hand, thereby facilitating the isolation of any superfluous, redundant, or unnecessary information.
- Production: After filtering out all irrelevant, redundant, and superfluous information, one moves on to the production phase of eDiscovery, which simply involves preparing all of the collected ESI for use in court, and delivering the ESI to those involved.
- Presentation: At this point, those involved in collecting and producing the ESI will present their findings at trial, if the case hasn’t settled. The ESI collected will be displayed before all individuals present, especially in native forms, in order to authenticate existing positions, prompt further investigation, or persuade all individuals involved.
The Prudential Associates Method
As the overwhelming volume and frequency of electronic communication continues to increase exponentially, the possession of efficient and cost-effective eDiscovery and early case assessment solutions is integral. Although there are numerous digital products offered for sale which are claimed to facilitate the process of eDiscovery, these tools are often lacking, substandard, and of a one-size-fits-all construct.
Here at Prudential Associates, we understand the importance of thorough, accurate, and appropriately conducted research. Rather than relying on a simple technological platform for early case assessment, data hosting, and legal review, Prudential Associates utilizes a combination of the most recent, cutting-edge eDiscovery platforms, as well as numerous in-house developed programs designed to carry out very specific tasks otherwise not covered. That being the case, we at Prudential Associates are able to tailor our technological capabilities in such a way as to meet, and exceed, the specific needs of each case we handle, thereby assuring top-quality eDiscovery results at an extremely competitive price.
The Prudential Associates computer forensics team provides the following litigation and eDiscovery services:
- Evidence collection and analysis;
- Subjective document review;
- Early Case Assessment (ECA); and,
- Web-based matter hosting (i.e. secure, web-based review of cases).
Regardless of how large or complex a case may be, Prudential Associates is in the unique position to utilize cutting-edge technology, combined with decades of computer forensics experience, to provide high-quality, custom-made eDiscovery and litigation support services.
For more information regarding eDiscovery and how Prudential Associates can support you, please contact our corporate office in Rockville, MD.