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

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Most data maps or content maps or “who-knows-where-the-data-is” diagrams are anywhere from 9 to 18 months out of date.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

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.

 

Law.com – 6 Factors Help Avoid an E-Discovery Disaster

Law.com – 6 Factors Help Avoid an E-Discovery Disaster.

This is a good check list for preparing for your discovery conference with the other side or simply preparing for litigation in general. The six factors detailed in the article are:

  1. Preserve Relevant ESI – author provides a case example
  2. Confer with your Opponent – describes importance and practicality of the meet n confer, also provides tips
  3. Collect Data Intelligently – it is no longer acceptable practice to do this yourself, at a minimum, meaningful supervision is required
  4. Rely on your Vendor – but be careful not to over delegate to the point that you don’t know what’s going with your project
  5. Consider using Hosted Databases – there are lots of reasons this is a good idea, probably the best one being that it provides a predictable cost for your budget plan
  6. If all else Fails, Go to Court – ediscovery project management best practices will hopefully help everyone avoid this scenario and the Sedona Conference’s Cooperation Proclamation strongly discourages discovery disputes but we know that that will happen in some cases so it’s best to be prepared

You’ll find many other checklists for discovery preparation on the internet. This article provides recent case law examples as reference points.

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.

Litigation Response Plan for Corporate Lawyers, Electronic Evidence, Trial, Litigation Preparedeness Plan, Litigation Readiness Plan

Litigation Response Plan for Corporate Lawyers, Electronic Evidence, Trial, Litigation Preparedeness Plan, Litigation Readiness Plan.

This page includes a series of videos where you can learn about developing a litigation response plan for your organization.