At the start of the pandemic, law firms underwent a rapid and significant change by transitioning to a fully remote work environment. Change like this can cause us to lose sight of the fundamentals that have made us successful. As law firms begin planning for partial or full office returns, now is a good time to get back to the basics. For e-data attorneys, a refresher on the core components of discovery and information governance practice might be a good place to start. In this series of articles, we’ll revisit some of the principles that undergird our practice. Some will be lofty, such as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1’s admonition to “secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” Others will be practical, reminding us, for example, that information still needs to be relevant to be discoverable, no matter how complex the process or technology we use to surface it. We aim in this effort to remind ourselves that what we e-data lawyers do still depends on why we do it.

In this article, we focus on the basics of the preservation and collection of records, the central principle of proportionality, and the importance of cooperation during discovery.