Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Amber Scorah. Published: 2012-02-21 06:37:31Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. With budget constraints and reduced internal staffing putting pressure on in-house corporate departments that analyze and make decisions on an ever-increasing pool of potentially discoverable material, creating a solid in-house eDiscovery team is a big challenge.

Even so, there are ways to leverage your current corporate organization structure to create a solid in-house eDiscovery team. In part one of this two part article, we offer some good strategies for getting multi-department collaboration, and advice on how to determine which eDiscovery procedures are more effectively and economically handled internally.

What is a good strategy that a company could adopt in order to get multi-department collaboration for eDiscovery – something that is a big challenge?

The best place to start is with educating all employees that every piece of data is potential evidence in litigation.  That usually wakes them up and starts to bring their attention to the fact that they need to manage all information they create or touch, in such a way as to be reproducible and non-embarrassing.

For the management message, this wake up notice can also be augmented with word that finding relevant data for litigation is very costly and one of the ways to reduce this bottom-line expense item is to set up effective cross-functional litigation eDiscovery teams that include Legal, the business, IT and Records Management.

Also, a key piece of groundwork is to implement effective policy on records retention, privacy, computer usage and electronic messaging.

Some questions to ask in determining which eDiscovery procedures are more effectively and economically handled internally:

Starting with the left side of the EDRM model entitled Information Management, look at your IT systems first.  Some questions to ask:  Do you know where key pieces of data reside that is typically required for litigation?  Do you usually have to produce inventory data, emails, customer service response data, or clinical trial results?  Have you set up key point persons who know where the data is, how old it is and how to gather it up?  Have they taken the time to document their processes for doing this work so it is reproducible by others should they suddenly become the next lottery winner?

Of these key data types, email is certainly the smoking gun in most litigation.  Do you have a way to centrally manage your email storage and archives?  Are your records retention policies and procedures in place to properly minimize, if possible, the amount of email that is retained in your environment?  Can you centrally search your email repositories and those of your non-structured data stores such as shared and departmental file servers?  If the answer to one or more of these questions is no, it is time to invest in the software, IT infrastructure and staffing to enable this as it will pay you back in reduced costs for eDiscovery and minimize the amount of data you handle for in-house review or pass along to outside counsel for hosting and review.

Stay tuned for part two, where we talk about the appropriate EDRM stage to which the in-house team will take discovery, and some proactive strategies to help reduce costs and improve results when eDiscovery is required.

For more on this topic, visit www.e-discoverypharma.com or email amber.scorah@iqpc.com.

eDiscoveryJournal Contributor:  Amber Scorah, Legal IQ

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