Continuing our series on the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (or EDRM), considered the definitive guide to the recovery and discovery of electronically-stored information (or ESI), we’ll be moving onto processing, reviewing, and analyzing ESI as part of litigation preparation.
We’ve previously discussed Identifying, Preserving, and Collecting ESI and the best practices that help an organization to more successfully utilize the EDRM’s different phases.
Even larger organizations that believed they had a plan in place have been caught flat-footed and unprepared, and a lack of preparation can have potentially severe consequences.
Today, we’ll take a look at how to best Process, Review, and Analyze electronically-stored information, as per the recommendations of the EDRM and our partner company, CloudNine.
Process: Record, Discern, Enable
The first step when it comes to processing ESI is to ask yourself a seemingly simple question with a potentially complex answer: “What data exactly is contained within this information, and is it relevant?” If you’ve followed along with the EDRM so far, you’ll likely already know the answer.
You’ll also want to:
- Record item-level metadata as it existed prior to processing.
- Discern what items are necessary for review
- Follow best practices for data reduction by culling and filtering
To ensure compliance with best practices and the best possible outcome in the future, please adhere strictly to quality control and chain-of-custody considerations.
Data is likely to be contained within what are referred to as “container files” (.zip, .pst, etc), so it will need to be restored to a reviewable form or even converted to facilitate the eventual analysis. During this cconversion and restoration process, metadata is more easily captured and catalogued for review.
It’s incredibly rare that an organization would need to review all items during processing. There are data reduction methods that can help to narrow down the information to only what is necessary, relevant, and not duplicated in order to simplify the next step, review.
Review: What is Privileged, and What Isn’t?
Many organizations, whether they are law firms, corporations, or even government departments, have certain documents that are considered “privileged” for various reasons, and therefore can be withheld safely during litigation.
The Review phase is the perfect time for the organization and the legal team to work together to come to fully understand the facts of the case and to develop a review strategy moving forward.
Essentially, the following steps will take place during Review:
- Understanding the scope of the review
- Supervision put in place to ensure best practices are followed
- Develop procedures for the reviewers
- Choose the appropriate tool, vendor, or platform for review
If these steps are followed, you’ll be able to ensure that privileged information is correctly identified as well as have a better understanding of the relevant data needing review.
Analysis: Informed Decisions Using Reliable Data
The sheer enormity of ESI can lead an organization, especially small businesses, to feel totally overwhelmed. It’s difficult to make the right decision when you’re not even sure exactly where to locate the relevant data!
The key to successful analysis of electronically-stored information is to know with certainty that the data you’re analyzing is the most relevant and reliable information available.
Luckily, there are eDiscovery companies that help to automate the process, helping move things along faster without a drop in quality control.
Our partner company, CloudNine, is well-known within its industry as a leader in improving the automated eDiscovery experience. Their services include collection, discovery, and review, and they’ve worked with everything from small legal teams through large corporations, tailoring the experience to suit their clients’ needs.
Interested in Learning More About the EDRM? Schedule a Lunch and Learn!
At Legal Eagle, we want our clients to be well-informed and prepared for any potential future need for eDiscovery or data analysis. As such, our own Adam Shirley is available to give Lunch & Learn presentations to organizations like law firms, businesses, and more.
Lunch is included in the FREE presentation, and you’ll come away with a greater understanding of how EDRM can be utilized in litigation to help with trial preparation and building a legal strategy.
To schedule a Lunch and Learn or to inquire about our litigation services, give Legal Eagle a call at (864) 467-1373 or contact us online at any time.