eDiscovery companies provide software and technology-driven tools that help legal professionals handle digital evidence. This includes data identification, preservation, processing, review, and production.
The legal industry is undergoing an explosion of new data. As a result, eDiscovery is now a significant industry with a vast market opportunity for investors.
eDiscovery companies help businesses and law firms manage the entire electronic discovery process. This includes collecting and preserving data, processing it so that it’s easier to review and search (for example, using OCR software to convert image files into text), and organizing it contextually. It also includes creating a plan for handling data based on legal requirements and compliance policies.
Collecting ESI involves identifying digital assets and turning them into physical documentation that can be presented in court. This can include emails, documents, and other data types. The identification process also includes separating relevant information from irrelevant data. Attorneys also use analytical tools to identify patterns and themes that can help them strengthen their arguments in litigation. It also helps them weed out information subject to client-attorney privilege.
Most eDiscovery companies offer identification services, saving clients time and money while ensuring the best possible outcomes. They can help clients collect data from cloud servers, social media platforms, and other popular websites that are difficult to find or collect using conventional tools. They can also help clients find and collect data from mobile devices like phones, tablets, and laptops.
Many eDiscovery companies offer identification services compatible with the famous review software law firms use. They can help their clients build competency using the software and provide project management assistance when needed.
As a legal matter draws closer, corporations and government agencies must formally instruct all relevant parties to preserve any electronically stored information (ESI). Often, it’s not enough to send out a preservation letter; the requesting party will also need to provide instructions on identifying and collecting the appropriate data.
This is where an eDiscovery company comes in. They can conduct a comprehensive identification phase where they interview stakeholders and likely data owners (custodians) to establish and document the sources of ESI. They can then conduct a formal preservation process that stops any unintended or deliberate destruction of discoverable data and its metadata.
Next, the eDiscovery company can perform a collection stage, gathering ESI and consolidating it into an accessible and protected repository for later processing and review. This can include information governance, where repetitive or duplicative data is pared down and converted into a format suitable for review. The final deliverable, production, includes all relevant information reviewed for responsiveness and privilege.
eDiscovery software enables legal teams to browse and analyze electronic data as part of an investigation or in preparation for litigation. It helps structure and organize data from text messages, emails, instant messaging, phone apps, and documents from word processors. It also helps identify and remove data irrelevant to the case, helping save on storage costs.
Legal departments must review and process large volumes of ESI, often in a short time, to meet strict deadlines. To do this, they need a powerful and flexible eDiscovery tool to complete the entire process without needing third-party software or manual review processes.
eDiscovery companies offer managed document review services to help law firms and corporations manage discovery workflows and meet their production requirements. A trusted partner can provide cost-effective and high-quality document reviews to reduce attorney review costs and ensure the timely delivery of ESI sets. In addition, they can provide advanced de-duping and culling capabilities, clustering, near duplication detection, and concept searching. They can also perform foreign language translation and provide a one-stop shop for complex matters that require multilingual eDiscovery.
The discovery process requires careful adherence to best practices to protect attorney-client and work product privileges and the confidentiality of sensitive information. With the emergence of affordable eDiscovery software and new proficiency standards (as reflected in ABA Model Rule 1.1), attorneys can utilize technology to handle many tasks traditionally handled by third-party forensics experts and outside document review staff.
Once identified, data must be preserved and not altered before production. Failure to comply with eDiscovery rules can lead to the destruction of digital evidence, which is considered a crime.
In the past, document review teams manually collected and reviewed electronic files one at a time in programs like Microsoft Outlook and Adobe Acrobat. This approach could be more efficient and effective, but it is prone to errors that can cause destruction, such as the accidental deletion of privileged or relevant information. Today, eDiscovery vendors offer software that allows attorneys to review large volumes of documents, automatically create batched subsets for more manageable review, and organize them by metadata for quick identification.