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Most data maps or content maps or “who-knows-where-the-data-is” diagrams are anywhere from 9 to 18 months out of date.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

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Introduction to E-Discovery: Technology (Part 2 of 5)

We are learning about ESI Preservation and Collection for week two of our series on e-discovery technology. This is technology used in support of electronic discovery projects. Following the phases or stages laid out in the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model found at www.edrm.net) we will take a look at the technology used for each phase (these are not endorsements, simply examples):

Preservation

Preservation is a topic of great importance but exactly how important it is is often realized too late in the discovery process. Today’s e-discovery lesson provides a few articles that not only define preservation in an e-discovery context but also include ideas and recommendations for preparing to preserve data. Technology and software applications designed to meet this need in the marketplace come from both the left and the right of the EDRM as corporations try to plan ahead with improved information governance policies and law firms work to advise clients in the early planning stages of litigation.

Definition Preservation Obligations, ABA article

Software – Download a free copy of the Gartner Industry Report on e-discovery software here .

Collection

The collection and harvesting of electronically stored information is also, often a not-well-thought-out part of the discovery plan. The question of how “forensically defensible” the collection needs to be is the starting place for developing your collection plan. Start here with a few basics about collection and collection technology…

Definition – EDRM Guide

Software EDJ Tech Matrix, Law.com article

 

Next week, we will share a few foundational resources for processing ESI.

Introduction to E-Discovery: Technology (Part 1 of 5)

Last week, we introduced electronic discovery with a few resources to begin your educational journey. This week, we will begin a 5-week series on e-discovery technology. This is technology used in support of electronic discovery projects.  Following the phases or stages laid out in the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model found at www.edrm.net) we will take a look at the  technology used for each phase (these are not endorsements, simply examples):

Information Governance

Traditional information technology and records management professionals have the responsibility of making sure that the business information is stored for real-time access and general business use/needs, preserved to meet government regulations and preserved in the event of a disaster.  Thanks to e-discovery, they must also concern themselves with data and information that may potentially be discoverable in litigation. The challenge for those with IT and records management responsibility is how to effectively determine what should be saved and not blow the budget doing it.

Definition
Software

 

Identification / ECA

Traditional early case assessment does not specifically require technology. However, over the last decade, attorneys and case teams have successfully used search & retrieval tools to make informed strategic decisions about how to move a matter forward or towards settlement.

Definition & Software

 

Next week, we will cover the preservation and collection phases of the EDRM.  Remember, the tools are not as important as the process. Our next lesson series will cover e-discovery project management best practices in our weekly lesson.  Learn something new everyday as you take control of your career and educational journey.

LTNY 2012 in Review

Learning about electronic discovery includes keeping up to date with the latest technology and practice trends in our field. Legal Tech New York 2012 was this year’s first major trade show and conference. Here are a few of the top blog posts & articles covering the event:

Apersee

E-Discovery Journal

E- Discovery Daily

E-discovery Beat

Legal Talk Network – podcast 1 and podcast 2

eDisclosure Information Project

Discovery Resources

Predictive coding dominated the sessions. Most agreed that it is coming – you should be prepared – but even the most enthusiastic advocates cautioned it does not necessarily replace humans. Two primary drivers for adoption emerged: 1) skyrocketing costs associated with human review teams, especially when data volumes are very large; and 2) superior accuracy of technology-assisted review, which is not susceptible to the random errors and inconsistencies of humans, and which can identify and remediate inaccuracies through a process of iteration.

In addition to the excitement about predictive coding, cloud-based data and ECA were also hot topics. Another common theme might be summed up with the phrase “methodology matters” – that is, business process is critical and must be well understood before you can make real progress in improving efficiency and controlling costs.

My new favorite phrase is “methodology matters” to describe what is essentially project management. Technology is great but if your business process is lacking, then you might as well plan on wasting a lot of time and money.  And by now, you can tell that the other major topic at LTNY this year was predictive coding (also known as computer assisted coding).

What did you learn about e-discovery at this year’s show? What changes to your practice are you making since you returned from NY?

New Best Practices: Manage Documents in Place and Collect Documents Automatically

The Modern Archivist » Blog Archive » Best Practices: Manage Documents in Place and Collect Documents Automatically.

Manage-in-Place provides organizations with complete information governance while leaving the document on the source file system.  This module allows our clients to search and analyze petabytes of data on disparate file servers without the need to archive that data.  Our client can now use this module to search for and analyze their data at the touch of a button and to perform true early case assessment before a lawsuit has been filed or discovery requests served.

Once the documents have been searched for, analyzed and found to be potentially relevant, our new Automatic Document Collection module copies the files (with metadata intact of course) into the archive.  The client does not need to ask for the IT Department’s help or hire an expensive eDiscovery vendor to perform a manual collection – now it is all automatic.  And because the data is preserved for litigation so quickly there is little chance of a spoliation sanction.

Key Learning Point is that the automated collection feature in software today is increasing in popularity as legal teams and corporations look for ways to manage a defensible process.

For more on this topic look here

Analysis Guide « The Electronic Discovery Reference Model

Analysis of your ESI Management & Workflow throughout the lifecycle of the matter is extremely important. Review this section of the EDRM to understand how to manage your ESI process in a defensible manner.

Analysis Chart

Aim: To develop, facilitate, test and validate processes for handling e-discovery efforts.

Goal: Assess and understand ESI throughout the life of the case for the purpose of making educated decisions and developing a defensible, strategic plan.

via Analysis Guide « The Electronic Discovery Reference Model.

Failure to Test Keywords by Sampling a Prominent Consideration in Court’s Finding of Waiver : Electronic Discovery Law

Keyword searching is a task which requires using technology. As a best practice you should make sure you allow enough time in your project management plan to test and perform quality control measures on your search results. You must have a methodology in place to which you apply the technology you have available. Not the other way around.

What happens when you rely too heavily on the technology?

Here‘s the case summary

Here‘s an overview of what happened

Key learning points include:

  • discussion of the importance of planned workflow
  • discussion of the importance of quality control as a part of your workflow
  • application of FRE 502(b)(3) and FRCP 26(b)(5)(B)

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.

ediscoveryinfo: Deciphering the “Mystery of the PST”

ediscoveryinfo.

Many who are new to e-discovery miss the fact that Microsoft Outlook PST files are simply a container file that holds e-mails and their attachments. It’s not really a “native” format. This article by Brett Burney explains, discusses and references some great resources to help you to understand exactly how PST files work and what that means to your production format options.