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Understanding and Preparing for eDiscovery

by on October 20, 2008

There is more and more buzz in the industry about eDiscovery. In fact, as I noted in an earlier post, companies are beginning to feel the effects of eDiscovery non-compliance on the bottom line.

I thought I would take a few blog posts to explain eDiscovery and perhaps offer some strategies in becoming compliant. So, let’s start at the beginning.

It all started in 2006. That was the year that marked changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) created the buzzword “eDiscovery,” causing companies to scramble to determine whether they were effectively managing their electronically stored data.

So what is eDiscovery?

The FRCP were amended in December 2006, for the tenth time, to declare a company’s electronic documents admissible as evidence in court and to enforce the obligation to produce such electronic data as part of the discovery process during litigation (hence, eDiscovery).

While this may sound straightforward, and on some level intuitive, the effect of the amendment has been daunting. eDiscovery encompasses all electronic data that can and should be stored: Word files, databases, spreadsheets, emails, voicemails, images, instant messages, even electronic calendars.

The sheer volume of this data is staggering; not only is the final saved version admissible, but all iterations of a document may be considered evidence. As a document is virtually passed from hand to hand, the amount of admissible material becomes mind-boggling.

So what exactly are you responsible for concerning the mountains of data you are producing? In a word, everything.

I’ll look into your reposnsibilities concerning your data in my next post.

I’d be curious to know about your experiences with eDiscovery. Send me an email and let me know how you’re dealing with your data.

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