Avansic's Newest Whitepaper: The Top 10 E-Discovery Themes of 2010 and Resolutions for 2011
01-05-2011, Avansic - Corporate
Ring in the New Year with a look back at the e-discovery lessons learned in 2010 and a peek at what's to come in 2011!

Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean we should forget the lessons of 2010. Here are a few of the issues from 2010 that continue to influence your upcoming e-discovery projects:

1. De-duping – This incredibly powerful process can reduce data sets and overall project costs, but should be used very carefully. A thorough understanding of the technological parameters applied during de-duping will help ensure that relevant documents are not lost.

2. Email Threading – Much like de-duping, producing and reviewing emails within their threads can save enormous time and effort. Many studies have shown that review is more accurate when context is evident within the thread. Email has and will continue to be a frequently requested form of ESI that is also one of the most complicated to process and review. Click here for more information and our whitepaper on the subject.

3. BP Oil Spill and Large-Scale E-Discovery – Millions of gigabytes of information will be processed, produced, and stored in the course of the BP oil spill lawsuits, and the decisions made regarding the handling of this information will likely inform the future of e-discovery in cases large and small. The decisions made about assignment and scope of preservation, the creation of a repository, and access to the evidence may result in significant opinions about data management for e-discovery. Click here for Avansic's whitepaper on the subject.

4. Cost – Always a hot topic in the e-discovery industry, more case law was created on the subject of sanctions, cost shifting, clawback agreements, and reasonableness in 2010. Although the amount of digital information being created has only expanded in the last year, the e-discovery industry has begun to implement defensible methods of reducing electronic information from the beginning stages of both preservation (see below re: select data collection) and processing.

5. Select Data Collection – Although forensics copies are still the gold standard, select data collection has become an alternative solution for computers that are far too large to collect in their entirety. For instance, it may be possible to copy select personal storage files (.pst) instead of an entire mail server depending on the scope of the project. Many of the methods used to ensure evidentiary integrity can still be used during select data collection, and reputable vendors will discuss their techniques for ensuring evidentiary integrity.

6. Licensing – 2010 has brought to no definitive resolution to this longstanding issue in the e-discovery and digital forensics industries. Most agree that those who handle evidence, including processing and producing ESI, should hold the license required by their state (typically a private investigator license). Click here for Avansic's article on licensing.

7. Metadata – The “extra” information stored by various programs can both help and hurt e-discovery cases – it can help when editing or authorship information is crucial to the case, but can hurt attorneys who may send documents back and forth with counsel and inadvertently include unnecessary data.

8. Early Case Assessment – Many attorneys are strategizing in the earliest stages of litigation in order to reduce e-discovery costs. Early recognition of the devices to preserve and the information to target will often translate into fewer processing and production headaches. Avansic’s Case Managers are experts in guiding clients through the early stage considerations for each case.

9. Search Terms – Most attorneys now have a good idea of how to create a keyword list to maximize effective e-discovery processing. These skills were solidified and enhanced during 2010. Click here for Avansic's whitepaper on crafting search terms.

10. Email and Privilege – Protecting privileged information will always be a high priority for legal professionals, and many e-discovery cases have shown how email can be used to inadvertently disclose such information. Click here for more information on protecting privileged information within email.

And a few things to come in 2011…

1. Offsite upload (FTP) – Vendors are responding to the on-demand requirements of many of their clients by offering websites where information can be uploaded for processing. Even in an era with reliable overnight shipping, the ability to either up- or download data for production at their fingertips has many legal professionals breathing a sigh of relief about the timely arrival of information and the convenience of transmission.

2. To insource or outsource – Many firms have made the decision to either create a department exclusive to litigation support or to completely outsource their e-discovery projects. These efforts have met with success and failure on both sides of the equation, and 2011 will likely see the continuation of these efforts. Look for Avansic’s whitepaper on this subject soon.

3. Cloud Computing – Storing information offsite, as well as using software and hardware implemented by an outside vendor, will continue to be a hot topic in all business sectors in 2011. The legal industry has particular challenges when using cloud computing since privileged and confidential client information may be comingled with other data or stored outside state lines.

4. Disposal of Digital Devices – Cell phones, laptop and desktop computers, and other portable media become obsolete very quickly, leading both individuals and companies to throw away a huge number of these devices every year. There are right and wrong ways to ensure that any information remains confidential. Avansic will be releasing a whitepaper on this topic next month.

5. Production – Production methods will likely be the next target of the industry’s desire to reduce overall e-discovery costs. However, the complexities of this stage of the process, in addition to the effects that early-stage decisions have on the price of production, will continue to evolve in 2011. Avansic’s whitepaper on cost effective production will be released this spring.