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Planning for Later in eDiscovery

During a recent ILTA webinar on coordination between outside counsel and a legal department on eDiscovery, I noted that a couple of the final points that were discussed were things that I think frequently get overlooked in the beginning of an ediscovery project.

Phyllis Strader and Caroline Sweeney talked a lot about choosing whether to host data with a vendor hired by the client, the law firm itself, etc. but one of the things that didn’t get discussed until later was what to do with productions received.

We don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about that up front, but I guarantee you, it’s an issue that should be planned for. Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say the client, a large corporation, has an agreement in place with a vendor to host their eDiscovery data. So data is collected at the beginning of a project, sent to the vendor and the outside lawyers are granted access to it there. They get the initial review and production done, and the other side does the same thing. Only the other side sends their production to the law firm. Not the vendor.

What’s the firm supposed to do with that?

If you’ve discussed it and planned for it, the process can be pretty simple. If you haven’t, what happens with that data?

Yeah, there are a few possibilities, and any one of them is likely,

The final thing we don’t plan for is what happens after the case is done. Again, if you don’t have a plan in place, that data will sit.

And sit.

And sit….

This is not ideal. This is one of the reasons many of those clients are handling this with their own vendors, they can direct what happens to the data. Firms aren’t going to return it or get rid of it if they don’t get a strong message from their clients. Having that be part of the plan would go a long way towards making sure it doesn’t just sit.

So while the initial rush to get going on an eDiscovery project can be chaos, take the time to plan this stuff out. Not having one will leave everyone free to do what they think is best.

That might not be what you want it to be.

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