Early on, it is critically important to discuss the goals of the data review project with your expert, as this is where the true time and cost savings can be found. Of paramount importance is identifying the relevant:
- Litigation hold policy
- Custodians (users)
- Time frame(s)
- Document types (email, text, spreadsheet, etc)
- Data storage locations (physical and network)
Additionally, relevant search terms, communication relationships and conditions, along with privilege issues should be discussed early on to prevent unnecessary delays as the project progresses.
Ediscovery collections should be performed by qualified personnel able to properly document and later recount exactly what was collected, the locations collected from, and the conditions under which the data was collected. Additionally, collection personnel should be aware of the state of the metadata (data about the data) associated with the collected files. Often this metadata is as important as the content of the actual files. Proper care should be taken to differentiate data from multiple custodians, locations and even collection time frames, as these factors may become important later in the process.
Of importance during an Ediscovery collection is whether you anticipate needing to substantiate a spoliation claim. One or more of the subjects you identify as custodians for data collection may have tried to remove relevant information from a computer you will collect data from. In the event that spoliation is a legitimate concern, Peak Forensics recommends a Forensic Data Collection be performed for those custodians and their respective devices.
Once your data is collected it is then culled per your criteria set forth in the planning phase, indexed for fast searching and categorized according to your needs. All this is accomplished in a scalable format that accommodates the size and specific needs of your data set.
Whether you are looking for a ‘smoking gun’ email or hundreds of documents related to a particular subject, reviewing your processed data can be a daunting task. Hosted, online review simplifies this considerably by allowing you to review when and how you prefer. Considerations include whether to personally review or use a review team, how to properly tag documents for future reference, privilege issues and relating relevant documents to each other in a useful manner. Often, the review phase leads to new search terms and possibly further collections. If you prefer your own review tool, load files can be generated for many common review tools.
When the time comes to present the data that is crucial to your argument, having it in the format you need and ready for presentation to other parties or the court is the final step. Do you need digital or hard-copy, with or without metadata, Bates stamped or custom marked? If you are using presentation software, be sure you have your final document set in a format compatible with your software.
Peak Forensics can assist you with each phase of the Ediscovery process, guiding you to cost effective results that provide what you need, how you need it.