Despite the prevalence of digital information in our daily lives, the legal community continues struggling under a number of myths surrounding electronic discovery (eDiscovery). Instead of allowing long-standing misconceptions to inform legal action, here’s a closer look at the facts behind them
Myth #1: Metadata isn't important
Metadata often tells the rest of the story about a document and, therefore, is often a key focus of eDiscovery. Unfortunately, there are many cases where individuals are not fully aware of the benefits of preserving, collecting and utilizing metadata, in part because they are not entirely clear on what it is and how it can be beneficial.
The metadata of a file can include information about:
- when it was created;
- when it was last modified;
- what the name of the file is;
- location within the file system.
All this information is crucial to the electronic tools that are used to filter, sort, prioritize and evaluate the ESI (Electronically Stored Information) before producing it. Knowing these key details associated with electronic files could be one of the single most important factors that determine litigation outcomes. If not collected and preserved properly, the information could degrade or be altered which is one of the many reasons why we have spent so much time and effort perfecting our process when it comes to eDiscovery and preserving metadata for our clients.
Myth #2: eDiscovery is only for big cases
Even a smaller legal case can easily generate thousands of pages. Think bankers' boxes stuffed full of paper. On average, 1GB of data can contain anywhere between 4,000 - 5,000 documents in various formats such as:
It would require weeks to manually review that much material. Too often, when a lawyer needs a specific item in discovery, they need it yesterday. They don’t have time to be going through documents manually or to open every single PDF to search each one individually. eDiscovery tools allow you to load and tag documents quickly, and to search across all of them easily. eDiscovery tools also support de-duplication and email threading, which are timesavers on cases of any size.
We partner with CICAYDA to deliver a powerful and effective eDiscovery tool that gives us the power to take all of your data and turn it into an easy to use searchable database that will locate key documents through nuanced and complex searches. Small matters can grow in volume which is why it's important to remember that eDiscovery is applicable to cases of all sizes.
Myth #3: eDiscovery is too complicated
Manual discovery means wrestling with a combination of PDFs, hard copies, Word documents, emails and a host of other different formats of documents. It means creating a privilege log by hand and keeping track of coding decisions. Data about each document – author, date, and so on – must make its way into a spreadsheet by manually keying in that information. By using eDiscovery tools, that same data, often referred to as metadata, is automatically gathered in one place and the creation of a privilege log can also be automated. Lawyers can also filter on the relevant data categories as needed and effectively search across all documents at once.
With eDiscovery serving such a vital function to our entire legal justice system, that function has become more formalized over the last decade and is increasingly viewed as part of a lawyer's ethical duty to provide competent representation for their client. Let us demonstrate how technology can make a difference in your case.
Myth #4: eDiscovery is too expensive
Time is valuable and also, "time is money". When considering any eDiscovery software, you should ask yourself how much your time is worth. If using an eDiscovery tool saves even an hour or two, that is money saved. One study found that, during litigation, it takes an average of 51 minutes for a lawyer to find a key document. If using an eDiscovery tool, the average drops to 16 minutes (that’s a 69-percent time savings). So whether you're a small firm struggling with justifying the cost or just not quite sold on the benefits of eDiscovery it's important to understand how utilizing technology can be the difference between winning and losing. Legal Eagle believes in the competitive advantage and won't sell you something you don't need. We want boutique firms to compete with larger law firms and to do that we provide the tools for success at a reasonable and competitive price to level the playing field
Myth #5: Personal data is inaccessible
Even the remote worker can have electronic files and documents that are important to your case. Allow Legal Eagle to consult with your attorneys and legal staff to determine sources of data that may be relevant. ESI case law has widened to include home computers, mobile devices and more. Don't forget about social media posts either - information is everywhere!
Now that we exposed these common eDiscovery myths take a few minutes to learn more about our eDiscovery services. Click here to learn more.