Litigation is starting to become more advanced, as many cases can be moved forward quickly with the help of eDiscovery. However, this will not work as well if an organization doesn’t have its important documents organized properly, so Ralph A. Finizio, Robert A. Gallagher and Ryan P. Stewart, attorneys from Pepper Hamilton LLP, wrote on Mondaq that a document management program should be used to help keep everything in place.
With document management, the attorneys said everything, including emails, social media, photos, text messages and other important information can be easily stored and arranged. The alternative is having these items held across the organization with different people and unique platforms, something that would likely end up lost or misplaced data. The first step toward better eDiscovery should be organizing project files correctly, they wrote.
“All personnel should organize their project files,” Finizio, Gallagher and Steward said. “This includes creating project-specific folders for their e-mails and other electronic documents. Project-specific folders are especially critical for those working on multiple projects at the same time. Project-specific files reduce the likelihood that companies will have to collect a custodian’s entire mailbox or documents folder and sift through all of the data to isolate just those e-mails and documents that relate to the dispute.”
Another piece of advice from the trio was to centralize a project repository for all project-related documents. This should have clear structure and be clean, so so data can be easily accessed and utilized in a case if need be.
Other tips from the Pepper Hamilton attorneys include:
- Discourage work on personal computers at the office and eliminate having too many storage options so employees don’t get their home and work data mixed up
- Have a clear policy on document retention and a litigation hold policy, which will limit the data that is collected and produced to what is reasonable within the company
- Create an information map and collection plan to help the continual management process for these programs easier
Firms could be doing a better job
Thus far, law firms may not be doing a spectacular job at eDiscovery, as Stephen D. Riden of Beck, Reed, Riden inBoston said on New England InHouse that a lot of frustration has been in the process due to hassles associated with eDiscovery. The news source cited a report from the BTI Consulting Group which asked legal decision makers to rate how effective attorneys are at managing eDiscovery, with nearly 60 percent giving a rating of six out of 10 or lower. Only 16 percent said their firms excelled at eDiscovery, a sure sign that fixes are needed.
Solutions from Binary Office will give these firms quick, in-house eDiscovery to help reduce or completely eliminate outsourcing costs, allow for much better workflow management, identify relevant information to a case quickly through a keyword or search concept and place this day on hold if it needs to be. The system can also be monitored with alert reporting and journaling to help the organization know who has been doing what with legal data in the document management system.