What is eDiscovery?

Simply put, it is the collection, review and production of documents that are stored in electronic format. These documents are not just e-mails - they can be spreadsheets, memos, reports, presentations, minutes, etc. - any type of document that has been created electronically. Given that over 97% of business documents are created electronically and that more than 35% never reach paper, one begins to see the importance of "reasonable search" with regard to electronic data. A UK commercial litigation lawyer recently described eDiscovery as “...about being clever with the way you do document reviews. It’s about picking the right search terms, using a good provider and having a proper hosting platform.

I can advise on what services are required, if any, on a litigation case, or an arbitration or regulatory investigation including competition cases. I appreciate that these matters have strict deadlines which need to be addressed as early as possible. The ever-increasing volumes of data and documents mean that it is impossible for lawyers to look at every single document and therefore clever ways of eliminating non-relevant documents are essential.

What happens if there is no data and all the relevant documents are in hard copy?

This would be unusual but most cases do include an element of hard copy and I have considerable experience in how to deal with hard copy documents which may include, scanning, coding and then hosting in a database platform for review. However, here in SA it is likely that for some time there will be more paper than data and I lived and worked through this scenario in the UK until the industry and clients became more educated and accepting of the need to manage and handle electronic data. 

What is the value in using an independent Consultant?

I do not collect, process or host data/documents and therefore I can give completely independent advice as to the best course of action; the most appropriate providers; and I can help with costings and work with the provider if required. Furthermore, my significant experience in this field allows me to advise on the most appropriate solutions, with a library of worldwide contacts in all aspects that can be utilised to deliver efficiency. I can also “cut through” the jargon and bridge the gap between lawyers, end clients and their service providers.

How can we deal with a matter which involves data/documents in other countries?

This is known as cross border and it is important to consider matters such as Data Protection laws in each country. I can advise on these and if necessary recommend providers in other countries to work together or find suitable providers who are able to work in different global locations.

How do we receive and handle the other side’s discovery?

Depending upon the Rules and requirements for discovery in the relevant country, I can assist with a protocol to give to the other side detailing how they should discover their data/documents. Once received I will advise as to how review that discovered data.

Why do I need to use technical services as most cases settle?

My experience is that if a case is to be settled then you need to settle from a position of strength and you can only do that if you know precisely what is contained in the data/documents in your possession.

How is the cost of technical services justified?

The highest cost in any case is the lawyers’ time in reviewing data/documents. Using technology can drastically reduce that time as well as assisting with a lower cost of initial review.