Building a Collaborative eDiscovery Team

Over the last decade, the need to perform electronic discovery (eDiscovery) has become a fact of corporate life. What began in 2006 as a legal mandate prompted by amendments to the U.S. Rules of Civil Procedure, has rapidly spread to jurisdictions in other parts of the world. Whether the need to search for electronically stored information is being created by a pending litigation, Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) or some other directive, the process is frequently time sensitive and often onerous.

Part of the reason eDiscovery is challenging is due to its ad-hoc nature. Requests routinely arise without prior warning and, in many organizations, personnel dedicated to performing eDiscovery are a luxury. Consequently, when a request arises it can become a major interruption that delays or adversely impacts other planned projects. Here are three collaboration tips shared by our clients that can help you optimize the eDiscovery process:

  • Make it a team sport. Placing all of the burden for performing eDiscovery on one person may not be the best use of your available resources. For example, the IT team certainly understands where the information may be stored and the best way to access it, but they really need the expertise of a legal resource to help narrow the search criteria and keyword list. Consider creating an eDiscovery strike force with representatives from IT, legal and upper management to collaborate on the project and maximize the efficiency of your response.
  • Speak a common language. When you do involve team members from different disciplines make sure they understand one another. Both IT and legal are notorious for layering their conversations with technical jargon. If IT is talking about MAPI access to PST files on virtual machines and legal is warning about custodian hold notifications and spoliation, you definitely have a failure to communicate. Cross train your team on the meaning of common terms and caution them to explain new lingo to everyone involved instead of just assuming implicit understanding.
  • Don’t over collect. When there is confusion about what information to produce the tendency is to ‘give them everything’. While this may be fine from a compliance standpoint, it will substantially increase the cost of your review and production process. Over collecting is a huge problem in the eDiscovery world and an excellent reason to have a collaborative team working on any response. If your IT team can conduct the search and legal can review those results interactively, they can rapidly spot issues with the results set and adjust key words or other search criteria accordingly so IT can re-run the search to generate more efficient results.

Sherpa recently introduced an eDiscovery module for our popular Altitude IG platform. Altitude IG eDiscovery was purpose built to help in-house teams collaborate effectively during the beginning stages of an eDiscovery project. Using Altitude’s role based access, our clients can allow IT to initiate a search and have those results gathered to a central location. Legal can then immediately begin reviewing and culling those results down to a responsive data set.

For more information visit www.SherpaSoftware.com or contact your Sherpa Software account executive.

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