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.