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6 Things In-House Counsel Must Know About E-Discovery
As a former securities litigator, Gabriela Baron recalls the days of document production when she tagged paper documents with different color tape flags, labeled the boxes lining the hallways with sharpie marker, and met trucks in the buildings loading bay, to make sure all those documents and all those boxes got delivered to opposing counsel.
1. Why analytics matter
Because, in short, The volumes of data keep going up, says Baron. But its not just that the volume is increasing, its that the forms of media involved in discovery are getting broader, including instant messages, audio messages, text messages, and recordings of conference calls. Attorneys still need to find the proverbial needle in a haystack, and its getting harder and harder to find it, says Baron. Or, it takes more time to find it.
2. Why you need to know whats on the market
This may sound obvious, Baron admits, but familiarity with the latest e-discovery tools has an impact on your legal spend. If you dont know what near-duplicate detection is, or that email analytics tools can be used to assess communication trends between people, now would be a good time to brush up. This market is changing very quickly, and the availability of these tools has an enormous cost and resource impact for these companies, she says.
3. Why machines wont hurt you
Baron doesnt hesitate to name the biggest trend of the past year: Technology Assisted Review (TAR). This is what Baron calls document prioritization: Based on a sample of, say, 10,000 documents, youre teaching a computer program which documents to flag in a pool of 1 million. And while some may portray it as machines taking over the world, to Baron, My interpretation of it is machines assisted by humans, machines instructed by humans.
4. What to ask your e-discovery provider about security
When selecting a provider, ask about the platforms ability to handle multiple users. Is there a maximum? Whats the capacity of the system? Baron says. How many different constituent groups can you have? Then you want to find out how access to documents and tools can be restricted according to different users. An expert witness for example, might only need access to 25 pages worth of documentsnot the entire pool.
5. Whats been the biggest challenge of the past two years
Expanded metadata fields. Take a single email for instance. The standard metadata fieldsthe ones were most familiar with are To, From, CC, BCC, Date, and the like. But an expanded metadata field is one that is particular to a specific clientan extra little something. A company may give its employees the ability to self-encrypt emailsthat function, in turn, generates an extra metadata field.
6. What technology clients are clamoring for
Video is really hot, Baron says. For example, think of all the employee training videos that companies make available via the web. In a case involving allegations of wrongful insurance sales practices, you might want to be able to hone in on sales videos about a particular type of policy. Another good example is deposition videos, and you want to catch all witnesses references to Mary Smith, whether shes referred to as Mary, Miss Smith, or a nickname.