Essential Strategies for Effectively Managing e-Discovery

e-Discovery continues to rank high on the list of concerns that keep many manager partners of law firms and general counsel awake at night. We all recognize that e-discovery is a complex, resource-intensive and potentially costly process. However, there are a few simple strategies to keep in mind that can help you effectively manage e-discovery and minimize risks -- without being overwhelmed or breaking the budget.

Essential e-Discovery Strategies

  1. Take a proactive approach to data retention and management.

  2. Develop detailed plans for responding to e-discovery requests.

  3. Form partnerships with e-discovery experts.

  4. Strategically deploy available law office technology tools.

I also recommend guidance published by the Joint Working Group on Electronic Technology in the Criminal Justice System (JETWG). In its full report, Recommendations for Electronically Stored Information (ESI) Discovery Production in Federal Criminal Cases, JETWG focuses on criminal cases; however, the group offers valuable advice that’s universally applicable.

The report is based on a collaborative approach to e-discovery, with the end-goal of making e-discovery an efficient, secure and cost-efficient process, and offers an e-discovery checklist, which includes:

  • Strategic use of technology – JETWG recommends that discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) should be done to facilitate “electronic search, retrieval, sorting, and management of discovery information.”

  • Technical expertise – Parties should employ experts with sufficient technological knowledge and experience to be able to plan and conduct e-discovery comprehensibly.

  • Meet and confer – At the outset of a case, parties should discuss the nature and volume of the request as well as the mechanics of producing e-discovery.

  • Security of information – Because ESI is easy to reproduce and disseminate, parties should take care to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure or distribution of information.

The report also outlines strategies for receiving, handling, preserving, and transmitting ESI in various formats, such as paper documents and PDFs, and for producing ESI from third parties --  to help ensure you’ve addressed key issues related to e-discovery production.

To learn more e-discovery best practices, download a complimentary copy of the Robert Half Legal Future Law Office report, Overcoming the e-Discovery Challenge.

If you have any e-discovery tips to share, please add a comment to this blog.