Tag Archives: E-discovery

ATTORNEYS’ GUIDE TO PRE-TRIAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Attorneys’ Guide to Pre-Trial Project Management

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “Project Management?”  We all know that it pertains to handling the overall elements of a particular venture – but what goes into proper management during the discovery phase of Litigation?  Are your expectations in-line with those of the professionals managing the data in your matter?  They should be – in fact, according to ABA Rule 1.1 (Competence), thoroughness andpreparation account for 50% of the characteristics of a competent attorney.

ABA Rule 1.1 – Competence

Here are 5 tips to ensure that your project manager is acting in the best interest of your discovery milestones, and your overall litigation goals.

Data Collection Efforts

Your team of project support personnel should have a comprehensive understanding as to potentially responsive data.  This includes – the subject matter of the case, where potentially responsive data may reside, how much data may be anticipated, the proper method for collecting such identified-discovery, and means for pre-collection culling of the data-set(s).

Today, data presents itself in multiple formats and can reside all around us.  It is not uncommon to have more data reside in the proverbial cloud, than stowed locally on servers and/or office workstations.

A good discovery project manager will know the right questions to ask in order to quickly identify the relevant sets of files, and suggest means to assess and reduce the data by using mapping exercises, keywords, domain-exclusions, de-duplication, analytics, and more.

Preparing the Data for Review

Once the data has been pre-culled and collected, your project management team should be able to inventory the files collected and prepare the data necessary for processing.

Processing is the phase in which technology, and case-by-case human process, is applied to files, to – expand, de-duplicate, deNIST, extract & isolate text/images/metadata, report on errors/exceptions/encryption, and more.

Once the data is properly prepared for hosting, the project management team should be able to suggest a logical order as to load the data in the system.  During this time, counsel will want to confer with the discovery project manager(s) as to anticipated methods of review-attack, and determine if data needs to be isolated, coded, tagged, etc., in advance of the document review phase.

Choosing the Document Review Platform

Today, there are numerous options when it comes to reviewing documents/data during discovery.  Frankly, some cases warrant a quick, cursory review of hard-copies or loose files, in minutes.

Still, other reviews warrant the use of web-based tools that allow for secure, remote user access, offering all the bells and whistles of advanced culling, tagging and analytics, over the course of months.  This will come down to the proportional relationship between – case-exposure, scope, budget, volume of data, and time.

Regardless of the approach you select, a valuable project manager will save you time and money in coming to a more informed decision, based on the aforementioned factors.

Producing the Responsive Data

When it comes time to produce, you will want to work with a discovery management team that understands the nuances of production.  For instance, what court orders and/or stipulations depict the method of production?  Are files to be produced as images, or will all (or some) files require a native-production?  Is there a production deadline, and can the data be produced on a rolling basis?

Some attorneys do not consider these items when meeting/conferring on the matter, early on, and having a competent pre-trial project manager at your side can easily alleviate the stress that may come, down the road.

When it comes to productions, it is also imperative to document items that were flagged for potentially responsive at the outset, however, do not make the production protocol.  This could be because of corruption, password protection, third-party proprietary files, confidentiality issues, privilege, and more.

In these cases of production-exceptions, a good project manager will be able to establish a detailed log (typically one for each hold-back reason), and ensure that placeholders are applied to the production set(s) to maintain a proper notice of items withheld.  The logs should be descriptive enough to support your withholding, however, not giving up actual privilege or confidential text, itself, whether redacted or removed in its entirety.

If the tribunal eventually requires the production of some data withheld, your discovery support team can reference the log details and correspond the entries with the exact document, securely hosted, using unique file identification.

 

Project Management Reporting

ALL project managers should have a good and comfortable practice with reporting the actions taken during their litigation support services.  Whether an initial milestone report, data inventory logs, exception sheets, or a close-out report; regular recurring reports are crucial to maintain a record for good reference in the case, and securing the defensibility element of good litigation practice.

Today, most litigation support tools afford convenient ways to kick-out reports, pertaining to inventory, exceptions, data-hosted, and production logs.  However, these reports tend to be unpolished and raw, and not easily digested by the end-clients.  A helpful discovery project manager will be able to interpret these metrics and draft a more understandable report(s) that will meet the requirements of counsel and their team.

After all, some folks prefer to be briefed via teleconference, while others will want 24/7/365 access to a shared report, regularly update.  Pre-Trial management teams should be able to understand, and adapt to, the differences between the attorney firms they support, and make attorneys’ lives easier during litigation.

Attorneys’ Guide to Pre-Trial Project Management

At LITeGATION, we know the process of Pre-Trial Support and how important it is to manage data in an efficient, cost-effective way.  We pride ourselves on intimate case-by-case dealings with our clients and have extensive experience during the discovery phase of litigation.  For Pre-Trial Project Management or any litigation support service, contact us today for a free consultation.

 

James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi brings nearly 20 years of eDiscovery experience to his practice as a leader in litigation support and eDiscovery coordination. Mr. Cortopassi has managed thousands of cases involving forensic collections, data processing & hosted solutions, managed document review, ESI productions, trial technology services, and workflow-innovation. Mr. Cortopassi is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).
Tagged , , , , , ,

Forensic Collection of Electronically Stored Information

Forensic Collection of Electronically Stored Information

A forensic collection is the acquisition and preservation of digital data. The collection is an integral part of the eDiscovery process, and collections can be full (bit-for-bit) or pointed to a subset of all data, depending on the case requirements. Once validated, a defensible collection workflow can be offered for one’s case. The collected electronically stored information (ESI) will then be culled, analyzed, and further validated, as needed. Now, the culled data-set(s) can be prepared for review, coding and production during litigation.

Where does the data come from?

The collection can be compiled from various sources. Anywhere that data can reside, data can be found. Data can be collected from devices such as but not limited to; servers, desktop computers, laptops, external hard drives, smart phones, and tablets. Additionally, cloud-based applications (e.g., social media, web-share platforms, and certain email) can be accessible by forensic professionals. Today, even deleted data can be recovered and made available for review and analysis.

ediscovery nj

How is data collected?

When litigation presents a need for the collection of ESI, there are a several different methods that can be exercised by a forensic professional.

  • In-Person ESI Collection
    This method involves an in-persona meeting with a forensic professional. The forensic professional will be able to acquire data from multiple sources, simultaneously, and immediately address any shifts in collection-scope. The client’s IT team will typically assist in mapping the data retention infrastructure prior to the acquisition taking place, in order to allow for a more seamless, efficient approach to the collection efforts.
  • Self-Collection Kit
    This method is becoming more common amongst forensic professionals and their clients. Like the in-persona approach, this method of collection can range from a specific pointed location of interest to an extensive, broad acquisition of all ESI available. This method is viewed favorably for its quick delivery, convenient hours of collection, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Remote Data Collection 
    Similar to Self-Collection Kits but requires a secure remote internet connection to a designated server. This method must overcome the barriers of company security policies restricting such access, and typically requires more oversight and IT compliance than a self-guided kit.

Regardless of the method of collection one implements, all forms of forensic acquisition will produce comprehensive reports and details as to the data-management approach best suited for the matter. Typically, the forensic collection team will confer with the attorneys as to the findings, and how the recovered data should be treated, considering the scope, budget and exposure of the case at bar. Once data has been collected, data culling methods can resume in order to narrow the review set even more.

The Benefits of a Certified Computer Examiner

There are many advantages of contacting a Certified Computer Examiner (CCE). The data collection process can be overwhelming to some and, accordingly, should be conducted by trained professionals. These trained professionals use the latest forensic tools and procedures, as to avoid data-manipulation or spoliation. A CCE will be able to guide through the data and present an outline. Those who contact a CCE for their services should feel assured that they are moving forward in a legally defensible manner.

Educated:

In order to have become certified, these professionals must have completed courses and have at least 18 months experience with collection tools. Every two years the professional must re-certify their certification.

Fair:

As per The International Society of Forensic Computers, a CCE must “Provide a fair, vendor neutral, uncompromised process for certifying the competency of forensic computer examiners. ” This requirement will benefit any party looking for a CCE to validate information for their case.

Defensible:

A CCE will be able to draft reports in-line with their independent findings. As a result of the data acquisition efforts; such reporting will include details regarding the data sought, location(s) where data was stowed, method(s) of collection, findings as to the clients depicted scope and requirements, and the ability to defend such procedures at the trial or hearing (by the way of testimony, if necessary).

Preservation and Security

Password Data Safety Abstract Internet Technology Concept Illustration with Closed Padlock Icon and Digital Data Background.

When it comes to the integrity and authentication of the collected data, a proper chain of collection/custody log will be established. The purpose of the log is to present documentation of how the data originated. The log will detail how the data came to be collected, the analysis of the data, and how the data was kept preserved until trial. The chain of collection/custody log will corroborate the authentication of the evidence, as any altercations to the data will need to be logged.

At LITeGATION we know the process of eDiscovery and how important it is to gather forensic collections. No matter what the platform or device, our Certified Computer Examiners (CCE) are prepared to help you develop a collection workflow, initiate the proper data-acquisition, and get you prepared for the analysis of you responsive data.

For forensic collections or any litigation support service, contact to us today for a free consultation.

James Cortopassi
James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi brings nearly 20 years of eDiscovery experience to his practice as a leader in litigation support and eDiscovery coordination. Mr. Cortopassi has managed thousands of cases involving forensic collections, data processing & hosted solutions, managed document review, ESI productions, trial technology services, and workflow-innovation.
Tagged , ,

What is E-Discovery? By James Cortopassi

With the advent of the technological age, many centuries-old professions have altered and evolved; the legal profession is no exception. Many law firms now include a department or process devoted to e-discovery (electronic discovery), which is a necessary component of litigation. E-discovery takes place during the initial phase of litigation when legal professionals begin gathering all relevant information to the case. The process involves the collection of all electronic records, including word documents, audio and video files, e-mails, spreadsheets, and more. E-discovery can be an extremely complicated and time-consuming process, due to the vast expanse of electronically stored information (ESI) and records created and stored in a variety of manners, including network drives, personal computers, websites, and cell phones.

E-discovery was officially added to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 2006 through amendments and revisions and additions to already existing rules. The idea of altering the Federal Rules was first introduced in 1996 and thoroughly investigated by the Advisory Committee on Civil Rights in 2000.

About the author: James Cortopassi has more than 15 years of experience in the legal profession. James Cortopassi is a leader in Litigation Support and eDiscovery Services in New Jersey. Mr. Cortopassi services litigation that is voluminous in ESI and require advanced search techniques, including, sophisticated culling process, latent semantic analysis/indexing and predictive coding.
E-discovery was officially added to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 2006 through amendments and revisions and additions to already existing rules. The idea of altering the Federal Rules was first introduced in 1996 and thoroughly investigated by the Advisory Committee on Civil Rights in 2000.

About the author: James Cortopassi has more than 15 years of experience in the legal profession. James Cortopassi is a leader in Litigation Support and eDiscovery Services in New Jersey. Mr. Cortopassi services litigation that is voluminous in ESI and require advanced search techniques, including, sophisticated culling process, latent semantic analysis/indexing and predictive coding.

Tagged ,