All you need to know about ​eDiscovery

We have a team of experienced eDiscovery consultants who will advise you on the use of the latest eDiscovery and forensic technologies. The same advisor will then adapt our capabilities to deliver a responsive and cost effective service for your specific case.

Our eDiscovery and ​digital forensics consultants will scope your requirements and advise you on the use of the latest eDiscovery and forensic technologies - including concept searching, predictive coding and phonetic indexing. The same advisor will then adapt their capabilities to deliver a responsive and cost effective service for your specific case, which they will operate for you.

We provide advanced technical eDiscovery services to law firms and general counsel to deliver large scale document analysis, and are here to help you acquire, investigate and review un-structured text, images and audio information as part of dispute resolution, internal/regulatory investigations or M&A due diligence.

For more information on the eDiscovery processes please see our quick guide below. Or to speak to an eDiscovery expert, please feel free to call us on +44 (0)870 600 1667 or complete the contact form below.

​A Quick Guide to eDiscovery

  • What is eDiscovery?

    eDiscovery is the process of discovery in civil litigation that involves information in electronic formats – known as electronically stored information (ESI).

    The 'e' of course stands for electronic. Discovery (minus the 'e') is a procedure defined by the legal profession in which parties in a legal matter are required to exchange information and evidence with one another. Before electronic data arrived, this meant paper documents. Despite a slow start, those paper documents have now largely been replaced by computer generated content, and the process of discovery has as a consequence fundamentally changed.

  • Evolution of eDiscovery

    In the past decade, eDiscovery has grown into a necessary part of business activity. Companies have generated and accumulated enormous quantities of electronically stored information on a scale that would have been unthinkable in the era of paper record keeping. This information is subject to discovery in legal and regulatory matters, and yet eDiscovery has yet to become a standard business process, mainly because the legal aspects are so complex, and the skills needed to accurately access, search and prepare the large volume of information that is stored on many different systems, created by numerous employees, working in different departments and diverse locations, in the short timeframe permitted, is a daunting task. One that is made considerably more difficult by stringent rules that govern how the eDiscovery process must be conducted in order for findings to be legally defensible. The reality for many organisations faced with the eDiscovery needs is that they are far from ready yet to integrate and optimize these services into their normal business operations.

    eDiscovery is an evolving field that goes far beyond technology considerations alone. By the nature of the task it gives rise to multiple legal, constitutional, political, security and personal privacy issues, many of which have yet to be resolved.

  • eDiscovery Reference Model

    The eDiscovery process itself has been described at a high level in the eDiscovery Reference Model (EDRM), which is used to understand and talk about e-discovery. It is difficult though for senior managers responsible for Information Governance to assess where their current eDiscovery fits within the maturity model in terms of implementing processes or charting their development. There is a strong desire to improve eDiscovery procedures and best practice, but uncertainty still characterises the management view across the majority of sectors. Even law firms often doubt their ability to do without external service expertise.

    edrm 

    [Diagram: EDRM Reference Model, Source: http://www.edrm.net/resources/edrm-stages-explained].]

     

  • eDiscovery requirements in industry
    eDiscovery is concerned with more than litigation. Large companies, especially those in highly regulated industries such as finance or energy, are compelled to produce ESI as part of government investigations or audits and need processes for handling such requests. Government agencies and outsourcing companies face similar eDiscovery challenges.
  • Importance of Data Infrastructure
    eDiscovery processes are dependent on business systems and the design of an organisation's data repositories. Is the data held centralized or widely dispersed across different sites, perhaps in different countries? What are the data retention policies and how are they enforced? Are there dedicated internal IT resources to handle eDiscovery tasks?
  • What types of data can serve as evidence?
    All types of electronic data can serve as evidence, including text, images, calendar files, databases, spreadsheets, audio files, animation, web sites and computer programs. Even malware such as viruses, trojans and spyware can be secured and investigated. Email is often an especially valuable source of evidence in civil or criminal litigation, because people are often less guarded in what they say in these exchanges than in hard copy correspondence such as written memos and postal letters.
  • How does eDiscovery compare with computer forensics?

    Computer forensics, also called digital forensics and cyber forensics, is a specialized form of eDiscovery in which an investigation is carried out on the contents of the hard drive of a specific computer.

    Data collections from all types of devices are conducted to strict evidence handling protocols, all investigation work is carried out on a forensic image (copy) of the device to ensure forensic integrity is maintained, devices are securely stored when in our possession and where required full evidential reports are provided to our clients.


Ready to start your ​project?

Click on the button below to send your eDiscovery enquiry to one of our dedicated team

We will get in touch to discuss your requirements and can provide a quotation.

Contact Us

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7 Steps in the eDiscovery Process

The e-discovery process can be defined in seven distinct steps. These steps must be respected and they are necessary for identifying and preserving electronically stored information (ESI), and meeting requirements regarding relevancy and privilege. Although there are exceptions, a typical eDiscovery process will follow the 7 steps outlined below: 

  • Step 1: Create and retain ESI

    1. Create and retain ESI according to an enforceable electronic records retention policy and electronic records management (ERM) programme. Enforce and monitor compliance with your ESI policy and the ERM programme. (Note: a mandatory retention policy and ERM programme are indispensable for minimising both business risks and the costs of litigation, caused either by destroying information before, or retaining it beyond, the end of its legally required retention period. You should be aware of the regulations governing record retention and the relevant legal issues – 7Safe [and PA Consulting] can help you to develop policies and ERM programmes.)


  • Step 2: Identify the relevant ESI
    2. Identify the relevant ESI, preserve any so it cannot be altered or destroyed, and collect all ESI for further review.
  • Step 3: Process and filter the ESI
    3. Process and filter the ESI to remove the excess and duplicates. Manage the volume of ESI that moves to the next stage in the eDiscovery process so as to reduce costs whilst retaining the ESI that you need to comply with your policy.
  • Step 4: Analyse the filtered ESI
    4. Review and analyse the filtered ESI for relevant and privilege because privileged ESI is not discoverable, unless there are legally permitted exceptions. Note: Parties and their legal counsel should follow reasonable procedures to avoid the inadvertent production of privileged information.
  • Step 5: Produce the remaining ESI
    5. Produce the remaining ESI, after filtering out what is irrelevant, duplicated, or privileged. Producing ESI in native format at this stage in the process is common, however if redactions are present then images will be provided to reflect the redacted content.
  • Step 6: Withhold privileged ESI
     6. Be sure to withhold disclosing privileged ESI and make sure your provider's QC procedure is up to standard.
  • Step 7: Present the ESI in Court
    7. Present in court if your case has not been settled. Be warned: judges will expect you to understand eDiscovery processes and the ESI of their clients or the opposing side.

Ready to start your ​project?

Click on the button below to send your eDiscovery enquiry to one of our dedicated team

We will get in touch to discuss your requirements and can provide a quotation.

Contact Us

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Information Governance Consulting

There are a number of ways in which 7Safe and PA Consulting can help you to develop an in-house eDiscovery capability.

  • Knowledge and Records Management
    We will show your team how to identify, assess and mitigate risks as part of your ESI management practices.
  • Litigation Readiness

    Our eDiscovery consultants will guide you in best practice for data retention, data destruction and litigation readiness to support requests for electronic data.

  • Data Preservation and Collection Strategy

    We will work with your team to devise preservation and collection strategies for your unique business requirements.

  • Technology Evaluation

    Digital technology is constantly updating and improving. Our technical experts will evaluate technology solutions and make recommendations to uniquely resource and support the full spectrum of your eDiscovery business practice.