Written By: Bobbie J. Manson

During litigation, state and federal courts require parties to participate in a process called discovery. This involves each party exchanging all relevant documents and data with all of the other parties to the litigation. Depending on the subject of the litigation, this can be either a short process or an extremely large search and production effort.

The use of technology in business plays a large part in the discovery process. Technology has become a necessary and useful tool in running a business. Emails have replaced letters, text messages are now commonly used for work communications, and printing documents or receiving hard copies is practically a thing of the past. Additionally, we use all of these tools in our personal lives, frequently supplemented by one or more social media accounts. This has brought on a whole new set of challenges for electronic discovery.

While there are lots of pros to using technology, there are also some negatives when it comes to legal disputes. Previously, when a legal dispute arose, clients would gather their hard copy files and send it to their attorneys. Now, clients must navigate the following issues when attempting to gather the relevant documents and data:

• identifying where data is kept. For example, laptops, tablets, smart phones, servers and remote servers, social media sites, back-up tapes, and cloud accounts;
• collecting data without altering the metadata;
• spending the time to collect the data;
• keeping costs down;
• collecting data kept in special or proprietary software; and
• organizing and sending the data for review.

These are just a sample of some of the problems that parties may encounter when complying with court rules regarding e-discovery. Law firms commonly handle these types of issues, and work closely with clients to offer as much assistance as needed to make the process as painless as possible.

At Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot, we have resources to assist clients with:

• locating all relevant data;
• safely managing the collection without altering metadata;
• addressing data kept in special software; and
• analyzing, organizing and reviewing data for relevant documents.

Identifying the location of data at the outset of a claim helps keep costs down when clients receive additional discovery requests throughout the litigation. At Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot, we work hard to reduce the burden of e-discovery for our clients so they experience as little interruption to their business and personal lives as possible.