You’ve probably heard of paperless offices, but we are rapidly progressing way beyond that toward a truly paperless world. Both private citizens and businesses increasingly use electronic devises for sending and storing data. Therefore, when a law firm needs to build a case against either, it is going to be essential to use e-discovery, which is the investigation of electronic data.
Nearly every case can benefit from e-discovery, and most law firms are turning to independent private vendors for their electronic investigation needs. Let’s find out how.
Relevant electronic data can be saved on desktop computers, laptop computers, mobile phones, and even GPS devices. Sifting through and collecting data from all of these sources can require countless hours of work. For lawyers and attorneys, this time would be much better spent on other tasks. By outsourcing the task of collecting the data, the law firms can actually complete work for multiple cases while the outside vendor handles the e-discovery portion.
In addition to saving ample amounts of time, the law firm can also save space. A single laptop can potentially store thousands of pages of documents, which would not be uncommon if you are investigating a business. Most law firms do not have the space required to handle this large volume of data. Instead of purchasing new storage solutions to accommodate this information, the firm can instead benefit from the advanced storage hardware and software owned by the independent private investigation companies.
One of the obvious benefits of working with an outside private investigation vendor is access to individuals who are well versed in e-discovery. Lawyers may have a decent knowledge of how to find old emails or documents, but many do not understand the complexities of recovering deleted data.
Especially when individuals know that they are going to be investigated, one of the first things they are probably going to do is delete any incriminating information from their electronic devices. Fortunately, thanks to automatic backup procedures and sophisticated recovery techniques, this deleted information is not necessary lost forever. Private investigation services will often specialize in locating the fragmented pieces of deleted information and restoring them to their original forms.
This talent and expertise can also be extremely helpful when it comes to the trial phase of the investigation. It is typically not sufficient to explain to the court that a certain document was found on an individual’s computer. You will need to provide sufficient evidence as to where the document was found and how it was obtained. Private investigators who specialize in e-discovery make excellent expert witnesses that can validate the origin of the information.
E-discovery may be a small fraction of an entire investigation, but it is a practice that is rapidly growing in importance and influence. As more people move to a paperless lifestyle in which they rely upon tablets, smartphones, and laptops, the reliance upon finding paper documents is going to continue to diminish. As this trend persists, it will become increasingly important for law firms to develop trusting relationships with experienced e-discovery vendors.
If you are an attorney seeking help with e-discovery or digital forensics as part of a legal matter in Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC, contact us today at Prudential Associates for a consultation to discuss your specific needs.