Magnifying Glass ComputerI started an e-discovery-focused practice because, well, e-discovery is foreign or even scary to many lawyers. But here’s the thing: you have to engage with the process. All the information that your clients need you to have to represent them effectively exists electronically, and you’re probably missing the boat by not being involved in the process.

Sure, you can hire an e-discovery vendor or litigation support firm, or delegate tasks to a paralegal or a “tech guy,” but there’s an important difference between them and lawyers: the former aren’t lawyers. To paraphrase what a colleague of mine (a “tech guy”) said when I worked for an e-discovery vendor: “To technologists, the stuff we’re collecting is just data—ones and zeros. The content doesn’t mean a thing to us.”

As a lawyer, my response was along the lines of, “The content is what this process it all about. It’s, you know, evidence, and it certainly does matter to our clients.”

I do not mean to knock the professionalism, skills, or dedication of non-lawyers in the e-discovery world, but, for the most part it’s true that they simply don’t think like lawyers. You likely haven’t told them much detail about the causes of action involved in the case, what you know about the facts, or what you need to prove to win or successfully defend your case. You just told them to handle the data and set it up for review. You may have even had them do a first-pass review of the data for you.

Now, some may be very, very good. But how effective can they be when they don’t have all the information or training to make decisions with respect to this specific case? How well can they conduct a first-pass review if they don’t realize that an e-mail that doesn’t directly address the product in the case is nonetheless relevant because it could actually trigger a whole new cause of action or defense to the allegations? Those are legal decisions. And if you aren’t participating, you are leaving them on the table. Is that really doing your best for your client?

You, the lawyers running the case, need to be involved and see what’s happening with the data from the case at the outset. You need to be involved in the process of deciding what is needed, what to collect, how to collect it, where to put it, etc.

Or you need experienced e-discovery counsel to do it for you after gaining in depth knowledge about the case. That’s me. I can help you navigate the process so that you can gain a deeper understanding of both the substance of your case, as well as the process. This will lead to a more cost-effective approach for the matter and your client and get better information faster by looking at the data early in the case.

David has more than 20 years of experience as a litigator and trial attorney. He knows how to assess, build, and resolve cases to the satisfaction of clients in challenging legal matters. Throughout his career he has had a keen and abiding interest in the discovery phase of lawsuits and investigations…

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