Electronic discovery, commonly referred to as e-discovery, is the process of collecting and producing electronically stored information. This includes e-mails, documents, presentations, databases, social media, and other sites. In comparison to hard copy evidence, electronic documents often contain additional metadata such as time-date stamps, author information, and file properties. With e-mediation and e-discovery becoming popular, new questions are arising about the process and why it is so costly.
Why is E-discovery so costly?
When working with clients through litigation, it is easy to see account balances grow when reaching the e-discovery process. With so many forms of electronic communication and electronic data, many firms aren’t always sure what to look for and thus use a blanket approach when requesting electronic data. The high costs then come from the time it takes to sift through all of this information. A more efficient alternative open to litigators is e-mediation.
How does E-mediation work?
During a case, attorneys from both sides agree to hire a mediator to formulate a mediated discovery plan. The process is completely confidential and is used to resolve disputes that arise over e-discovery. This type of mediation can be employed at any point during e-discovery, but is usually most effective when used at the commencement of this type of discovery for it establishes a “meet and confer” between parties.
When using e-mediation both parties must be open and honest about their confidential disclosure of information to the mediator. Taking this process seriously can save both parties time and money for it is meant to establish specific search parameters. These parameters might include: search terms, process for preserving information, who’s data will be searched. Finally, unlike regular mediation, e-mediation must reach a resolution before the case can proceed in court.
How can I start E-mediation?
Typically an e-mediation statement is created in which both parties provide position statements. These position statements include information such as who will be available to participate in the mediation, all relevant discovery requests, objections, or responses, and protective and discovery orders, as well as recognizable issues, any cost or timing restrictions, production format matters, and privilege issues or concerns. With this the hope is that good, efficient communication on the part of the mediator will facilitate effective e-discovery and eliminate any unforeseen surprises for either party.
As the use of electronic data increases, we will simultaneously see an increase in the use of electronic discovery. With this change coming in the near future, e-mediation can be seen as an effective tool in the e-discovery process. Not only can it help lawyers save money and time, it will also help clients during with their cases.
Source referenced: CDS Legal