E-discovery is a type of digital investigation that is conducted to find evidence in business communications, emails and other data that can be used in criminal proceedings or litigation. The digital investigation process can be used to collect evidence. This includes data from instant messages, email accounts, online documents and social profiles.
Other types of evidence include digital images, internal applications, databases and website content and any other type of electronic information that can be used during criminal or civil litigation. There are lot of important details that your lawyer does not want to lose throughout this case. The defensible e-discovery process has several stages and techniques that are used in the collection and other necessary steps that are completed throughout this process. These stages include.
Information governance (IG) refers to the specific procedures, certain controls and policies that are used in the collection and conservation of data. Information is meant to provide value. This strategy helps to balance what information is helpful and which of it is harmful. The courts require that they have all the information necessary for a case. Creating a balanced system can help them decipher what information is necessary for their case.
When there is risk of facing litigation, all parties attempt to save their evidence to the best of their ability. In this identification stage, a team identifies the relevant data that must be preserved by reviewing case facts, interviewing certain stakeholders and by looking into the specific digital environment. You want to make sure all the parties are giving you all the evidence. If not, then there might be foul play involved. Using these strategies can help the legal system keep track of what details they need to keep up with.
After the relevant data has been identified, the data owners are politely advised not to delete the data, but to save it. The data is important to keep the case going. If they delete the data, then they don’t have a strong case anymore. It also makes them look like a guilty party. So, it’s important to make sure that clients keep their data preserved and safe. These details are important, especially for an ongoing case.
There are loads of technologies that are used to collect important data, but the preferred application needs to match a laid-out legal process. Furthermore, the team that is collecting the data must ensure that all digital assets are preserved without fixing or touching important metadata. That includes audit logs that are on each file, certain file creation dates and the size of the files. It’s best not to cause a disturbance during this time. Keeping track of the data and collecting it to research is important for this type of case. Without it, there is not much to go off and it might hinder you if your data is not preserved properly.
Raw data that has just been collected is usually disorganized and not ready to be presented to the court or to an attorney. This is why the data must pass through the processing stage where data is organized. The processing phase can be automated using usual software to extract this specific information from a pile of usually unimportant data. It’s a tedious process but it helps to decipher what is useful information or not. That way, the legal team going through your case know what they’re looking for.
Certain documentation and digital assets can be reviewed by hand or through AI. During this phase, valuable information is parted from irrelevant data that is not considered important for the ongoing litigation. In this phase, documents that are subject to client-attorney privilege are also identified and worked with. Whatever they need, they will take for reviewing purposes. That’s why it’s important to get all the information in one place. Mainly to save time, but that way no one is going through the entirety of your data.
In this stage, the digital assets are organized more neatly for presentation. The reviewers also identify key information and patterns that are important for litigation. In addition, they design a great presentation layout that will be used during a deposition or trial. Having a presentation ready can save the legal team time. They know what they are looking for and they need to lay out all the information. Being able to present the said presentation to the court can help everyone decide what the best course of action is.
During the production phase, the digital assets are changed into physical, readable documentation for research purposes. Once the key data has been identified, the attorneys turn the data into evidence that will be presented and easy to read. They will be able to present this information to a court of law. The court will be able to go through the information provided in the presentation to decide how the case will go. They will decide through this presentation how they feel about your specific case.
Crucial evidence in a litigation case needs to be shown to judges, attorneys, juries, judges, deposition participants and mediators. During this last presentation phase, the data is organized in a manner that makes it easier to read to an audience. The easier the presentation is, the better. A well-thought-out presentation can help the court decide how they should move forward with this case. They want to make sure they have all the information necessary to make an educated decision.
The attorneys are responsible for managing all the nine phases and even though these nine stages seem simple, the process can take months to be completed. Furthermore, the process will also become more complex in high-profile lawsuits. Since the entire process of conducting digital investigations and collecting evidence is crucial for your success during lawsuits, it should be executed well to win the lawsuit. If these details are forgotten or left out, it can make the lawsuit harder. Be prepared with all the details and be ready to present them. The more you must keep yourself covered, the better.