E-discovery Tips for Attorneys and Paralegals
By Holly Sheriff, MSLS and Edited by Jennifer Dudenhoeffer
E-discovery is a tricky subject for both attorneys and paralegals. The concept of E-discovery is still in its infancy and depending on what jurisdiction you are located; there may not be any local rules or civil procedures enacted . It is important for all attorneys and paralegals to think about how E-discovery may affect the discovery process of new litigation in their office.
This blog post is not intended to be a checklist of any required procedures, legal opinions or legal advice. This blog post is only intended to help my fellow paralegals and attorneys to think about how E-discovery might influence and/or benefit the overall discovery process in today’s law offices. In light of E-discovery, all paralegals and attorneys should know that in most jurisdictions this term is referring to any electronically-stored information, (“ESI”) that may relate to a case. As a paralegal (under the supervision of an attorney) there are two things I do for my attorneys immediately upon the retention of a new litigation case, which is aimed at E-discovery identification and preservation.
The first thing I think about when a new case is opened is that all the documents, which may relate to the case should be persevered—regardless whether the attorney works for the plaintiff or the defendant. Understanding that some of the attorneys that employ me do not know all the places that could store documents; I compile a generic list of all the people, places, things, and rules which may affect the discovery or E-discovery process. I typically do this in steps, but my attorneys get all the information in one report.
I research and gather all the rules that may apply to the discovery process. Typically, in terms of E-discovery, I look for rules that tell my attorneys how to facilitate the collection, analysis and the preservation of any electronically stored information, (“ESI”). Depending on my attorneys preference I either; summarize the rules and information, or I print out and attach the actual rules to my report for them.
In this step, I have a meeting with my attorney or I review his or her notes from the intake from meeting the client to identify the main claim and/or defense. Once I understand what it is the case is about, I start a list of all the major players who may have information about the case and the issues at hand. I make sure that by the end of this step, I know who all the primary and key players are, and the time frame for all E-discovery materials.
After I understand my attorneys thought process as to his/ her case strategy, I create a matrix of questions that my attorney may want to ask the client to assist us in defining the target scope of the E-discovery. Remember that the questions on this matrix may vary based on the local rules of the jurisdiction.
Come back tomorrow and I will share with you the questions and extra information all attorneys and paralegals should obtain from clients to assist with E-discovery.
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: This blog and its writer are not held liable for any content republished or used by others. This blog has been edited by Jennifer Dudenhoeffer. Any personal information is made private and cannot be shared by third parties. . This blog is not intended to be legal advice. Further, this blog is the personal opinions of the writer and is not intended to be a legal analysis of any legal topic and should not be a substitution for an attorney. If you have come to this blog with a specific legal issue or problem, seek the advice of a licensed attorney of your own choosing. This blog article is for general information only. All paralegal tasks should be supervised by a licensed attorney.