What Is Ediscovery, and Why is it Important?

Electronic discovery, otherwise known as e-discovery or ediscovery, involves electronically identifying, collecting and producing information that is stored electronically. This is for the most part related to a request to produce the relevant information through a law suit or investigation enquiry. This information can include material such as emails, digital documents, presentations, databases, voicemail recordings, audio and video files, social media-related information, and websites. There’s a lot more to ediscovery, though – in this article, we take a look at what ediscovery is all about to give you a better idea of why it might be useful to you.

Ediscovery basics

The process of implementing a request for ediscovery in Sydney is not exactly an easy one, and finding the right information can be tricky depending on the size of the database. As such, processes and technologies related to e-discovery are usually highly complex due to the need to be able to sift through large volumes of information in a suitable timeframe. there is also the need to be able to preserve the original metadata of the documents – such as the time-date stamps, author and recipient information, and file properties – so that the file is not compromised for the purpose it is required for – this is particularly important in instances that involve evidence for litigation. This makes the entire process a lot more different – and often much more difficult – than traditional hardcopy document discovery, as without the meta information of the electronic documents being retained, there is potential for claims of spoliation or tampering to be raised. This obvious has the power to cause a legal case to collapse, which costs not only significant time, but money.

How ediscovery information is used

After ediscovery is used to uncover data that is then appropriately identified by all relevant parties involved in the matter, any document deemed potentially relevant – regardless of whether it is an electronic or hard-copy material – will be placed under legal hold. This is to ensure that they are not   modified, deleted, erased or otherwise destroyed, as any modification could very quickly upturn any case. This data is collected and then extracted, indexed and placed into a database, where it can be referenced at a later date. Once all of the information is gathered, work then begins to determine the relevant information from the non-relevant information. Once only relevant information remains, it is hosted in a secure environment where reviewers who code the documents for their relevance to the legal matter can access it accordingly. It is often the case that contract attorneys and paralegals are involved in this step for the purpose of document review.

The conversion of ediscovery files

It is possible for the files found through ediscovery are converted to static forms for the purpose of easier consumption. These files are often made into TIFF or PDF formats in order to make the easy redaction of privileged and non-relevant information simpler. It is also possible to introduce computer-assisted review processes to help streamline this process even further. This can occur through predictive coding and similar analytic software to minimise the number of documents required for review by attorneys, which affords the opportunity to save both time and costs for business and strengthen the case with what time is available.

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