The Basics of Ediscovery

Discovery, an all-too-familiar term for most legal professionals, is the litigation phase during which the parties dispute and exchange information and evidence relevant to the lawsuit. So that being said, what exactly is ediscovery?

Electronic discovery, commonly known as ediscovery, is exchanging electronically stored information (ESI) during the discovery process. Discoverable ESI typically includes relevant emails, instant messaging chats, electronic documents, accounting databases, voicemail, audio and video files, metadata, and information on social media platforms and websites.

The Ediscovery Process: Start to Finish

Ediscovery generally begins when a lawsuit becomes foreseeable and continues until the case goes to trial. The ultimate goal of ediscovery is to produce a defensible volume of digital evidence through the following process:

  • Identify relevant data and place it on legal hold.
  • Determine the scope of discovery, pinpoint the relevant ESI, and initiate ediscovery requests and challenges.
  • Negotiate search parameters, identify relevant evidence, and screen out irrelevant information to reduce the overall effort required for search, review, and production.
  • Extract, analyze, and convert evidence into PDF or TIFF format for use in court.

Automating the manual components of ediscovery can help accelerate an often time-consuming and costly process to create a more efficient review and production workflow.

“Ediscovery is becoming an increasingly important consideration for almost all organizations as a result of the enormous number of civil cases filed each year, the growing proportion of business records that are stored electronically, new statutes at all levels of government focused on electronically-stored information, and a growing body of court rulings that are making the discovery and presentation of electronic data more important.” — MarketWatch

What an Ediscovery Solution Will Do for You 

The best ediscovery practice is to “prepare before you have to act,” according to the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM). Organizations need to be mindful of their current and anticipated document retention obligations and proactive about retaining and managing data — before filing a lawsuit or when a compliance obligation is triggered.

The implementation of an ediscovery platform will allow a legal team to:

  • Pull relevant information from the massive volumes of content spanning the organization.
  • Screen out unrelated information to simplify the review process.
  • Control costs without sacrificing value. 
  • Manage data more efficiently.
  • Minimize the risks of non-compliance with ediscovery obligations.

Last Thoughts

Given the shift to remote-based work, ediscovery has taken a more prominent role in the lives of legal professionals. Cloud-based tools that facilitate remote collaboration seamlessly amongst legal teams are now more than a luxury; they’re a requirement. The adoption of ediscovery platforms will continue to grow even in a post-COVID world, so it behooves legal professionals to continue to understand, and ultimately, make the transition to self-service ediscovery platforms and tools.

For more information on how to streamline your ediscovery process, download Everlaw’s white paper “Choosing the Best Solution for Efficient Document Review” today.