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When discovery in litigation involves the inspection of computer systems, setting out reasonable and effective protocols often involves a neutral expert in computer evidence. Working for the court, oftentimes at the direction of a special master, the neutral expert will engage with both parties, and often with computer forensics experts, to craft a reasonable inspection protocol. The challenge is to achieve consensus on the approach to preserving, performing analysis and review, and then producing relevant data. Protecting the producing party’s privacy/privilege while identifying only data that is responsive to the inspection demand must be balanced with the requesting party’s goal of finding all relevant evidence. Considering technology, discovery and forensic tools, and any agreements by the parties, the neutral expert must propose or assist with crafting an inspection protocol the parties to the litigation can agree to.

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