The impact of E-data on business law

The way business approaches litigation has changed enormously over the past decade due to the growth of electronically stored information.

New costs are experienced for data management and some cases are being settled for a shorter amount of time. Both businesses and law firms now have legal e-discovery departments and hire individuals with strong information technology abilities.  Even opposing parties are cooperating more during the early stages of litigation, but simultaneously courts are imposing severe sanctions for those fail to preserve or produce information.

People witness document collection to be transformed from warehouse search for paper to gathering of e-mails and figuring out how to produce it. Therefore, businesses and law firms need individuals with a special set of skills to deal with ESI. Since the cost of e-discovery is the primary drive of the costs of litigation, there has been noted an increase in the willingness of clients to settle. However, it is important to note that if a client spoils e-discovery, regardless of the merits, the case can be lost. Courts are becoming more and more willing to allow some severe relief. Sanctions vary from tough ones, such as case dismissal, default judgment and financial penalties, to more moderate, such as adverse jury instructions and evidence preclusion.

Lawyers had to find new ways to manage the arrival of documents due to the sheer volume of information. Thus, e-discovery has become a specialty and it is vital that lawyers develop and interest and ability to understand technology which differentiates from being a traditional litigator. Now more cooperation among parties can be observed, as well as transparency and desire for proportionality. Also, businesses simply cannot keep everything because storage costs go out of control.

Thus, the growth of ESI has led to the creation of new departments and positions to manage the intersection of law, business and IT. If the e-discovery does not have one person in charge of supervising all the parties involved, timelines will be missed which will cause further costs.

The process of e-discovery itself is in phases and each phase requires corresponding technological tools. The key is the formulation of a strategy and incorporating the use of data analytics and technology to reduce collection and cost.

Algorithms, statistics, key words, e-mail threading, data sampling, and predictive coding help businesses and law firms achieve these goals. Thus, the most cost-efficient e-discovery cases are those that apply a consistent strategy from start to finish.

Business Contracts

Although commercial contracts do not specifically have to be in writing, it makes perfect sense to at least have the basic rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in the transaction written clearly and signed by those involved. This simple written contract may be very important if a commercial dispute is to arise.

Standard contract terms (usually called ‘terms of business’ and ‘terms and conditions’) are normally appropriate when the business is selling goods are services that are the same or very similar.  For other goods and services that may be different each time, you may want to negotiate separate contract for each transaction that take place; typically for services such as software development or one off goods or services.

Basic terms of trade and business will normally outline what each party in the transaction is agreeing to. Clauses must be included that detail the price of the good or service, payment terms, how and when they will be delivered and a description of the good or service.

Commonly, terms and conditions for the sale of goods allow the seller to keep ownership of the product until the full payment has been made to them. This protects the seller from a customer who may initially want the product and receives it, but later defaults of their promise to pay for it. If the seller choses to, they can opt out and decide to give the product to a buyer on finance or credit. The seller is well within their statutory rights to charge an interest rate of late payments. The rate of interest must be detailed on the detailed in the terms and conditions of the transaction.  It is very advisable to consult a legal expert when drafting up any terms and conditions for transactions, whether they are one off or continuous, this is to make sure that as a business, you are honouring legal requirements.

This information was provided by LegalIdiot.