The Georgetown Advanced eDiscovery Institute

The Advanced eDiscovery Institute

A continuing education program by Georgetown Law School

This year the program was held December 6 & 7

The agenda and roster of speakers can be found here.

This conference is considered one of the most highly regarded e-discovery learning events of the year.  Learn something new about e-discovery today by reviewing the blogs and articles below:

Exterro’s E-Discovery Beat Blog live blogged notes from the conference

Other notes & blogs summarizing the learning experience

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Introduction to E-Discovery: Technology (Part 5 of 5)

It’s pretty easy to execute a Google search on “e-discovery” and immediately become overwhelmed by the amazing volume of information available. Where should you begin reading? What’s fluff? What’s not? What’s educational? What’s marketing jargon? Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dedicate MONDAY mornings to reading about electronic discovery basics. Each week, look for a new post to learn about e-discovery without becoming overwhelmed.This  week, we continue our series on technology used to support e-discovery with a few resources for you to learn more about ESI Production.  This will be our last entry in this series… since statistics show that only about 1% of cases ever make it all the way to trial, most of us will end our e-discovery technology journey at the production phase.

ESI Production

Definition

Discussion

Software (not an endorsement)

I hope you learned something new about e-discovery technology or reinforced your on-the-job training with the five short lessons provided here over the past few weeks. If you have questions or if you are interested in a custom learning plan, please send an e-mail to erika at learnaboutediscovery.com.

Learning About Data Maps

Most data maps or content maps or “who-knows-where-the-data-is” diagrams are anywhere from 9 to 18 months out of date.  Any IT network manager will tell you that creating a diagram of everything on the company network is not a fun or easy activity. Add to that the litigator’s need to know who has/had access to potentially discoverable information and the size of the task more than doubles. Today, we fortunately have tools that help automate parts or all of this but how effective those tools are depends on a lot of variables. Our interest now is to provide a few resources and definitions to help you begin conversations with your e-discovery team about data mapping.

E-Discovery attorneys, project managers and paralegals will want to become familiar with their client’s data map as early as possible in a litigation matter.  If you’re the e-discovery liaison for a corporation, you will be want to be very familiar with your organization’s network data map.  According to the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, here’s what you need to know about data maps:

You can’t secure it if you can’t find it. An essential component to a successful electronic discovery project is an accurate picture of the target company’s data sources. It is important to keep in mind that all company information technology infrastructures are not created equal. The hardware and software deployed to accomplish commonplace tasks such as managing company e-mail or creating data backups, varies widely from organization to organization. Indeed, it likely varies within the target company if the timeframe in question is broad enough, or if the company is widely distributed in various geographic locations.

This identification process implicates many types of servers with active and dynamic data (e.g. file servers, collaboration servers, e-mail servers) and many interrelated data management systems (e.g. document management systems, financial systems, disaster recovery and backup systems). This includes servers responsible for general company data, as well as user specific data, such as user home directories or departmental shared directories. It also includes the myriad of devices that users employ to utilize that data, including desktop computers, photocopiers, calendars, Instant Messaging (IM), text, PDA’s and cell phones, smart phones, and memory cards. Lastly, it implicates inactive data archives on various media such as hard drives, servers, recycle bins, tape backups, flash drives, CD-ROMs and DVDs. All of this is further complicated by the fact that legacy data, potentially across all these categories, may exist from previous company systems within the relevant time period. The necessary hardware, software or technical expertise to access such legacy data may no longer exist within the target company.

Additionally, I would add the following resources for learning about e-discovery data maps to your reading:

ESI Data Mapping Resources

Best Practices

And if you are an information governance or records management professional, then you may find this resource helpful, too:

Five Free Apps for Diagramming Your Network

The New Normal – Why you should learn about e-discovery

Why do you need to learn more about e-discovery? Your workplace or your client’s workplace is changing. Or has changed. E-discovery project management is the new normal. In fact, e-discovery has been around longer than you think…

Here’s why you should take the time to learn more about e-discovery (adapted from a recent article on integrating e-discovery into normal operations):

  1. Electronic Discovery can be complicated and has created the need to streamline the process and standardize workflow management for defensibility.
  2. Electronic Discovery exposes organizations to a greater risk when repeatable processes are not implemented. According to most industry think tanks, including The Sedona Conference, the best way to reduce risk in e-discovery is through implementing basic project management processes and methodologies.
  3. Between 1995 – 2000, most businesses made the transition from paper to digital in all communications and record-keeping. In 1970, the FRCP included digital documents in their definition of what was discoverable. In 2006, the FRCP revised their rules to specifically reference ESI (electronically stored information), to include documents that were stored, created and used in an electronic or digital format. To be clear, not a lot of businesses managed their information digitally until the late 1990s so the great unmanageable volume explosion that sparked the broader industry interest in e-discovery didn’t show up in litigation matters until a few years later. However, in larger litigation matters, the problem existed by the late 1990s as described in a 1999 article by Ken Withers. The December 2006 FRCP update simply updated the “wording” of the rule that had been in place since 1970 regarding the definition of a document. So I guess, our new normal is really our old normal?
  4. The data explosion is a problem for those who are/were not managing their data well. The downturn in the economy only exacerbated this issue as the unruly data stores found themselves a part of duty to preserve order and discoverable in litigation. Corporate legal department budgets are under increased scrutiny and now are required to follow the same project management methods other business units have followed for years to manage expenses and deliverables. How do we reign in the cost to move discoverable electronically stored information through the discovery machine? Two words: project management.

E-Discovery does not have to be complicated. Learning about e-discovery does not have to be complicated. It simply requires some time and thought on the front end to draw a map that clearly states what needs to be done, when and by whom. Then do it. And keep track of what is being done so that the next time, you are not reinventing the wheel.  Creating and developing a standard operational process for your organization will involve learning about each phase of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) so that you know what needs to be done at a minimum and in the “big picture” sense for each phase.  It’s next to impossible to effectively participate in a conversation about which approach your organization should take in developing or following a standard if you really do not have a clear understanding of e-discovery basics.  It’s both case law and technology. You should learn about e-discovery because the “new normal” in today’s litigation practice requires you to project manage discovery in a way that reduces risk, is defensible and allows your team of great legal minds to focus on strategy and the merits of the case.

 

Covering the Basics

Last year, Gibson Dunn issued a new series of client alerts covering the basics of what practicing litigators and corporate counsel should know about electronic discovery.  There are 11 alerts ranging from general overviews to admissibility of electronic evidence.  Also, a quick search of their publications page will return many other alerts and articles on the topic of e-discovery.

 

7 Steps for Legal Holds of ESI and Other Documents

ARMA International – Bookstore – ARMA International.

This book is a practical, how-to guide describing step-by-step a best practice process for identifying trigger events and implementing a litigation hold. It provides a straightforward description of why the law requires preservation, the scope of preservation, and practical tips on how to preserve records in an acceptable manner.

Includes a self-analysis checklist, a flow chart describing the process for implementing a litigation hold, chapters devoted to each step in the process, and case law citations supporting this best practices process.

e-discovery 2.0 » Searching… TREC Legal Track

e-discovery 2.0 » Blog Archive » Electronic Discovery, EDiscovery, E-Discovery, Legal Discovery.

Clearwell Systems has been keeping up with the latest discussion and trends in searching thanks to its participation in the TREC Legal Track. Here they discuss and link to the latest white paper which analyzes “the task of producing specific records in response to a `discovery request'”

This is a very high-level discussion on searching technology that will aid you in discussing application vendor claims about how their search & retrieval technology is better than the next guy.

In an e-discovery world where simple keyword searching is no longer considered a reasonable effort, it is recommended that you learn all you can about how to turn your mountain of data into a mole hill in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.

Early case assessment – Getting Started (ECA)

Early case assessment – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I would recommend learning about early case assessment by reviewing the Wikipedia entry on ECA first. Then take a look at the article by Eric Barnum that discusses ECA with or without technology. This article is critical to understanding the attorney point of view as well as the fact that lawyers have been doing ECA for decades and it really has nothing to do with e-discovery. However, because of e-discovery, it is not a step in the litigation process that can be skipped. And finally, George Socha and Tom Gelbmann bring everything together in a recent article from Law Technology News.

Podcasts – Keyword Searching

Podcasts – Law Technology News.

Law Technology Now with Monica Bay & Craig Ball discussing the 2008 Victor Stanley Inc. v Creative Pipe Inc. case which had a huge impact on ESI searching trends.  This case is often referred to in the ongoing discussion on searching.

Update: This morning (July 28, 2010), I attended a CLE program in Atlanta where the panel discussed (among other things) how simply performing a keyword search is no longer considered “reasonable effortwhen demonstrating to the court that you did everything you possibly could to avoid producing privilege information or mismanaging your case in general.

What is “reasonable effort” as it applies to e-discovery? Ralph Losey covered this on his blog here and here.

Once is Not Enough: The Case for Using an Iterative Approach to Choosing and Applying Selection Criteria in Discovery « The Electronic Discovery Reference Model

Once is Not Enough: The Case for Using an Iterative Approach to Choosing and Applying Selection Criteria in Discovery « The Electronic Discovery Reference Model.

This white paper is part of a series by the team at the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM.net).

Key learning points include:

  • latest industry thought on searching ESI
  • measuring the effectiveness of searches
  • ways to contain costs through searching & culling data
  • ways to mitigate risks associated with searching ESI