Data Collection – the first step in an eDiscovery project is usually underrated by the end-to-end managing team. The reason for this is because the data collection piece is often considered to be an “IT team only” task.
However, we believe the time has now come for the core discovery people and lawyers to look into the collection process more keenly, because… a stitch in time, saves nine.
The same proverb applies to Disclosure. Data Collection is the first step towards eDiscovery and if you apply the wrong strategy (i.e. collect everything) then you might end up with needlessly massive costs and extended time scales. With the global pandemic, the pressure on legal teams to work efficiently and decrease spending is more pronounced than ever.
A key factor to accomplish this “Data Collection” phase is for the personnel involved to have a detailed understanding of the target, volume, and nature of the data they are ‘anticipating’ to collect which naturally impacts other stages of eDiscovery. However, corporations usually determine the collection process to be the responsibility of their respective IT Team and not the legal strategists or the e-discovery provider.
If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few great examples of why it makes sense for the legal team and e-discovery specialists to keenly participate in the early data collection, not simply to give IT an idea of what to shoot for:
Scenario 1: The case is likely to be heading for an early-settlement
Only the legal team would know if the matter looks like it may be heading for an early settlement. If so, then you should avoid collecting and processing a large set of data because in the end there could be no use for it in this scenario. If the task is simply left to IT, they are likely to take the safest approach which is “don’t leave anything out!”
Scenario 2: When a case has a large volume of potential data and the court deadline is short
In this case, you should hire experts and an eDiscovery vendor early that can help you identify and help collect only highly relevant data for the case and perform dynamic processing as you go (rolling!). So, an efficient targeted data collection will help you save time and cut out the inefficiencies that come from having to trawl through heaps of data to find what you need.
Scenario 3: Nature of the data you are likely to collect
Your IT team might require more specialized resources from an e-discovery vendor if the source of a majority of the data set is for example custodians’ laptops and cellphones (as opposed to large-size structured data from business applications). In this case, the collection team will benefit from a larger skills pool of technicians/engineers.
Scenario 4: When advising clients who have recurring litigation needs involving the same individuals.
Legal counsel has started to see the advantages of data warehousing to decrease repetitive collection costs and improve response times, but they would need to be consulted from the start of the process before IT goes digging. The next wave of in-house counsel teams has already begun implementing software solutions that enable them to consolidate their recurring collection sets. E-Discovery software providers are helping them to re-use their work product so should also be consulted early. Of course, this would greatly improve the data collection piece and in some instances save IT the exercise altogether!
We at Knovos help you with in-house eDiscovery technology from data collection to production. We have an end-to-end eDiscovery solution recognized by Global AM 100 law firms and Fortune 100 corporations. We have a team of experts who can help you defining and executing a proper data collection and processing strategy.