In a digital age, more evidence pertinent to cases is digital, so even small law firms may find themselves in need of information that is electronically stored. Going far beyond documents, electronically stored information or ESI may also include emails, presentations, databases, voicemail, audio and video files, social media, and web sites. When the “discovery” phase of any legal matter becomes e-discovery, small firms and solo practitioners can find themselves overwhelmed with what is required to meet the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE), and state and international law.
Should Small Firms Attempt E-Discovery In-House?
As an attorney, it is wise to learn the basics, even if your cases are seldom dependent on it. When it comes time to request electronic data, you can get what you need in two ways: invest in an in-house solution or outsource the process.
Acquiring in-house capability can be a cost-effective approach if you have the capacity in staff, time, and dollars to devote to it. Collecting date for e-discovery can be complex and confusing. Because the amount of data can be overwhelming, it is important to know how to harvest just what you need. The court seldom requires that you copy a whole hard drive, but just wants to verify that a “forensically sound” method of collecting data is used, so that the files have not been altered or deleted in any way. Those inexperienced with e-data collection tend to over-collect, which increases costs.
Modern software allows a savvy user to effectively collect needed data for a case without just copying hard drives. While this can save time and money, it is important to gather all that is needed as evidence without altering, destroying, overlooking, or collecting it too slowly and as a result, facing court fines. The learning curve can cost you.
Why Outsource Your E-Discovery
Many small law firms circumvent these problems by outsourcing e-discovery to Houston-based The Document Group. With years of experience with cases of all sizes, the company knows how to gather just the right data to support your case. Prior to beginning the process for your case, we can estimate the cost of retrieval so that you know your budget outlay. The work will be done right, and at a reasonable cost.
Our Disco software will extract relevant information from all digital files including databases, word processing files, spreadsheets, email, instant messaging logs, and website visits. We go beyond the scene to examine web browsing activity, demonstrate evidence of tampering with electronic files and/or file deletion, reveal the content of temporary files, obtain data fragments, identify metadata, unlock/search password protected files, and establish data usage histories.
If you are interested in using our Disco software servers to store and maintain e-discovery materials, especially large files, TDG also offers hosted document review that allows you to login from anywhere. This can be an asset for a large case where you may need to review a file on the fly.
When you need e-discovery, The Document Group can save you time and money. For more information, contact us at (888)316-4670 for a free quote.