Why Focus on Ediscovery?

This is a small excerpt from a recent whitepaper entitled, “The Concise Guide to EDiscovery” which introduces several ediscovery best practices for IT professionals just starting to get a handle on it. This whitepaper talks about why ediscovery is something you and your company should be aware of, what the right ediscovery capabilities can do for your company, what the key ediscovery issues are, and why you should have an ediscovery plan/solution in place.

Discovery is the process of identifying, preserving, collecting, reviewing, analyzing and producing information during civil and criminal legal actions. The goal of discovery is to obtain information that will be useful in developing relevant information for pre-trial motions and for the trial itself. Information sought during discovery can include documents, testimony and other information that may be deemed necessary by a court, although not all discovery is court-imposed.

Ediscovery is simply the extension of the storage discovery process to information that is stored electronically, including email, instant messages, word processing files, spreadsheets, social networking content, and any other electronic information that may be stored on desktops, laptops, file servers, mainframes, smartphones, employees’ home computers or on a variety of other platforms.

Ediscovery is becoming much more important in the context of civil litigation – for example:

  • A study by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP found that courts applied more sanctions in 2009 than they did in 2008. In fact, more than one-half of the opinions issued during the first five months of 2009 focused on consideration of sanctions and 36% of these actually resulted in sanctions.
  • Roughly three out of four discovery orders today require email to be produced as part of the discovery process.
  • Ediscovery today represents 35% of the total cost of litigation, and companies that fail to produce emails and other electronic content in a timely or appropriate manner face the risk of paying millions of dollars in sanctions and fines, not to mention loss of corporate reputation, lost revenue and embarrassment.
  • Even companies that ultimately prevail in a lawsuit can still be sanctioned for poor ediscovery practices.

Organizations can also use ediscovery solutions outside the context of just civil litigation. These uses include, but are not limited to, helping to manage and avoid employee misbehavior and legal actions; helping an organization to comply with its regulatory obligations; preserving intellectual property, knowledge and other data; storage management; and avoiding embarrassing data loss or leaks.

The rise of ediscovery has brought on many information management challenges. Getting control of ediscovery starts with a) understanding why ediscovery is important, b) gaining insights into the issues and regulations that are most pertinent, and then c) creating strategies, capabilities and technologies to meet needs that will also help manage corporate data properly.
Download the rest of this whitepaper to continue reading.

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