Litigation Readiness & Playbook Design
Corporate clients are trying to take control of their e-discovery programs, but don’t always have the internal expertise to overhaul what they are currently doing. Our team can assist by augmenting the in-house team and developing a discovery playbook.
Having a road map and guidelines helps with predictability and defensibility. The discovery playbook can be immediately issued to Counsel (in-house and outside) at the onset of a case, to help ensure that every matter is handled proportionally to its value. Primary sections of the Playbook include:
- Data Source Inventory
- Preservation Standards & Legal Holds
- Collection Standards
- Processing & Review Standards (Workflows & Technology)
- Production Standards
Key Business & IT Interviews
We work with Counsel to identify key business and IT personnel who will be able to provide insight into potential data sources (official and unofficial), standard uses, business workflows, etc. The goal of this is to understand the movement of data throughout the various systems.
Data Source Identification (Data Map)
We document the various sources as they apply to business divisions, departments, teams, with input and direction from Counsel and IT. This will enable Counsel and their teams to quickly identify potential data sources via the business unit (or product) at issue in potential litigation.
Review of Retention Policies
Essential to understanding what data must be preserved, and for how long, retention policies must be routinely evaluated so that Counsel can guide legal holds appropriately. This must be done after initial interviews and data source identification so that the flow of information is considered in conjunction with the applicable policy(s). Our consultants can help assess current policies, and provide recommendations for improvement as appropriate.
Review Current Litigation Response Plan (Preservation Standards)
A preliminary evaluation of how Counsel is currently responding to investigation and litigation needs is a critical component of preparedness. Working with Counsel, IT and business unit leaders, we assess current activities and approaches, and outline a comprehensive response plan to improve efficiency, minimize the impact on daily business, and promote thoroughness and accuracy.
Understanding the landscape of ongoing litigation and investigations helps to ensure that recommendations won’t increase Counsel’s obligations in other matters, or add unnecessary complexity to existing matters. As our consultative engagement proceeds, we consider the impact of each proposed change, and offer transitional solutions to allow improvements to be absorbed with minimal impact.
Corporations and law firms alike are increasingly enlisting the support of specialized experts that can help support their discovery and litigation management needs. e-discovery Liaisons can assist in developing protocols, conducting technical custodian interviews, identifying data sources and creating matter specific data maps, participating in meet and confers, and appearing in court when necessary. Many courts encourage use of an e-discovery Liaison, especially the 7th Circuit (due to their pilot program initiative).
ESI Protocol Review
Drafting the ESI Protocol is an early and critical stage of discovery management. Foreseeing challenges and potential pitfalls is what our experts do best - working with your knowledge leaders and counsel, we'll help you draft a protocol that is appropriate for the matter, meets industry standards, and proactively addresses likely areas of risk.
Meet & Confers
Altep’s team is available to support Counsel during meet and confers with opposing counsel, and speak to the methods, protocols, and practices which were employed throughout the discovery life cycle. This may help avoid unnecessary motions and disputes due to misunderstandings.
As needed, our consultants can provide expert witness testimony, presenting details about the efforts undertaken by the client. Given the intricacies of e-discovery and the Court’s preference for efficient handling of disputes, an e-discovery Liaison can be a powerful ally in the courtroom.
At times, it may be prudent for an organization to use an outside 30(b)(6) witness as an unbiased observer of the discovery efforts for a matter. In many instances, an e-discovery liaison may be asked to serve as a 30(b)(6) witness because he or she has become very knowledgeable about the client’s systems.
Database Discovery is a common area of effort which requires particular expertise. Many data sources are now cloud-based, requiring substantive meet and confers and negotiations with opposing counsel to gain an in-depth understanding of what is truly available and reasonably acquirable.
Additionally, organizations are looking for more efficient review methods, but decision makers don’t always understand the technical intricacies of Technology Assisted Review. While advanced review techniques are gaining acceptance, the court will often request validation of the methodology by an expert. Altep's consultants offer subject matter expertise in this area, and can assist your organization in setting up and defending technology assisted review workflows.