Think about the past few years. Can you count – with the number of pennies in one hundred dollars – how many emails you’ve sent and received? How about the number of instant messages (IMs) you’ve exchanged? If you’ve been in the business world for a couple of years (or perhaps just one), the answer is probably no.
The sheer volume of electronically stored information (ESI) is more astounding than ever – a truth that shouldn’t be all that surprising. Moving away from paper and file cabinets certainly has its perks; however, there are consequences. One such consequence has been the proliferation of ESI.
Electronically Stored Information: a Consequence?
Wait, though. How can having less data stored physically (and more data stored digitally) be a consequence? Less physical space occupied; simple retrieval; and entire forests saved. That can’t be a bad thing, can it?
Well, actually, yes and no. We all know that ESI has revolutionized day-to-day business operations. We can access information virtually from anywhere with an Internet connection. We can communicate with one another at a moment’s notice. From a business point of view, it’s pretty awesome. What about the legal side of things, though?
Litigation, E-Discovery, & Early Case Assessment
Rapid, unrelenting increases in ESI can create problems for legal teams. One of the most important aspects of preparing for litigation is ascertaining, collecting, and analyzing information that’s pertinent to the case – a process that you may know as e-discovery. It sounds simple enough, but it usually isn’t so cut and dry. As ESI proliferates, it becomes more and more difficult to pinpoint the apposite evidence.
This is where early case assessment (ECA) software comes into play. Early case assessment has everything to do with assessing and eliminating the risk involved in prosecuting and defending legal proceedings. Risk, in this case, can be thought of as the cost of both time and money. ECA software helps us eliminate said risk by allowing us to analyze our data sets for key details. In essence, we’re lessening the amount of ESI that we need to review before the e-discovery process begins. This saves us both time and money.
For the many organizations that face legal discovery requests on a regular basis, ECA software pays dividends. Not only is the process made simpler, but it’s also made far more efficient. Sherpa Software’s Report Attender – our new early case assessment software – illustrates how these types of standalone tools can help to streamline the e-discovery process. In addition to gathering key details from data sets, it provides categorization of file types, custodian determination, ‘Unknown’ file identification, and more.
As our datasets grow, ECA software will continue to play a vital role in the e-discovery and early case assessment processes. The name of the game is efficiency. If you aren’t already, it’s time to start playing.
Image Credit: Pennie.me