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The Time for Reactive eDiscovery has Come and Gone

by on March 5, 2012

When regulatory sanctions or civil lawsuits require companies to reproduce their records, they are no longer looking in desk drawers and file cabinets. Nowadays, corporate information is stored on smartphones and laptops, thumb drives and hard drives, backup tapes and cloud servers. The search isn’t restricted to contracts, leases and ledger books either. Everything from social media posts and emails to transaction histories and insurance claims are fair game in corporate litigation.

With so many bases to cover in the dynamic world of eDiscovery, waiting until the court serves you papers is no longer sufficient. Instead, it will take proactive planning to keep costs low and outcomes positive.

eDiscovery by the numbers

According to EMC, North American businesses spent nearly $5 billion on eDiscovery technologies in 2011. Not surprisingly, much of this spending was defensively motivated. Almost 90 percent of all companies faced litigation, with one in three large companies encountering between six and 20 new lawsuits each year. For 40 percent of firms with annual revenues above $1 billion, this translated to more than $5 million in litigation expenses.

Compliance is also a pressing concern, according to EMC, as approximately four out of every 10 companies faced one or more regulatory proceedings in the past 12 months. To navigate these complex matters, nearly half of all large companies were forced to allocate additional spending on outside counsel to address any potential liabilities.

Although the aforementioned figures may seem like cause for alarm, underfunded and ill-prepared eDiscovery strategies could send costs soaring even higher.

Getting it right the first time

A number of eDiscovery frustrations and expenses can be eliminated by establishing solid data management fundamentals from the start and accounting for information at all stages of its lifecycle. This means knowing who is creating the data, how it is being stored and how long it needs to be preserved. With this knowledge in hand, information strategies can be aligned to ensure sensitive data is appropriately protected and easily located.

Tools of the trade

With document review processes now requiring litigants to review petabytes of data, discovery strategies from even a few years ago are now null and void. Having the right software in place can help companies locate relevant information faster, reducing eDiscovery processes by weeks or months and cutting down on the hours logged by counsel.

Knowledge is power

State-of-the-art technology is of little use without an expert hand to guide it. As the stakes of corporate litigation grow higher each year, a number of companies are bringing eDiscovery experts in-house. For firms relying on outside counsel, understanding how to locate and secure attorneys with a record of eDiscovery experience and success is imperative. With new rulings and developments changing the landscape seemingly every week, having the right people in the room can help litigants avoid costly road bumps or overlook important considerations.

From → eDiscovery

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