Now that we have reviewed the range of production formats available, the additional decisions that need to be made, and the rules and cases about who gets to make all those decisions, it’s time to review the actual preparation of the production in the chosen format. This process is typically a collaboration between members of the case team and the technical professionals responsible for administrating your chosen processing and review platforms.
Now that we have reviewed how the production format selection process is supposed to work under the FRCP, let’s take a look at some recent cases to see the disputes that arise and how courts are applying those rules in practice, including: a joint failure, a protocol deviation, a waived objection, an award of expenses, a failure to request metadata, and more.
Now that we’ve reviewed the available production formats and related options, it’s time to discuss which party gets to decide on the formats and options to be used in a typical case. Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, both parties have opportunities for a say: first, in negotiations; then, through requests and objections; and finally, through motions to compel and protect.
Beyond just deciding on your optimal combination of paper, near-paper, native, and near-native production options, there are a range of more-detailed options for you to consider. Among the most important are options related to load files, metadata, redactions, numbering and endorsements, and paper integration.
We turn our attention now to the final pre-trial phase of an electronic discovery effort: production. It is important for practitioners to understand the range of possibilities and their differing requirements, limitations, and implications, because the way materials are produced affects how much time and effort they take to prepare and how easily they can be searched, reviewed, and used later in depositions and at trial.
Our monthly legal eDiscovery news round-up features updates to state discovery rules, new privacy shield enforcement actions, and a leadership transition at ACEDS, as well as recent cases and new XDD educational content.
We have now reviewed how important identification and preservation are, how broad their scope might be, how to go about brainstorming and investigating to identify what needs to be preserved, and how to issue and monitor compliance with legal holds. What remains is to think about common preservation pitfalls, about situations in which immediate collection is called for, and about our key takeaways from this series.
Once you’ve completed your imagination and investigation activities, once you have identified the potentially-relevant materials within your organization, you are ready to take steps to actually preserve those materials. The first and most important of those steps is the issuance of a legal hold instructing the custodians of potentially-relevant materials regarding the need to preserve them.
Now that you have completed your initial brainstorming of potential materials, properties, and people, you are ready to begin the investigation part of identification. A variety of investigative options are available for finding out how reality lines up with the brainstorming you’ve done to get started. The most important are: targeted interviewing, data mapping, and sampling.
We’re going to break down the identification process into two parts: imagination and investigation. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about imagination in legal practice, but it’s pretty essential to effective identification. Each new discovery project can be fairly opaque at the outset, with only the essentials known. The first step, then, must be brainstorming to figure out what and who might be relevant.
The first thing you must know to undertake effective identification and preservation activities is the potential legal and technological scope of things for which you might need to be looking. For our purposes, that scope comes from the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure and relevant case law, and it can be quite broad.
We turn our attention now to the first and most fundamental phases of an electronic discovery effort: identification and preservation. As we have seen in numerous contexts, ESI spoliation remains a frequent issue, hence the importance of these phases in an eDiscovery effort: almost every other type of failure can be fixed with adequate time and money, but once unique, relevant ESI is gone, it’s gone.