Rob gets pretty geeky and math-y when it comes to risk, probability, and how it impacts DNA testing, but he makes a valid point as well:
“In considering one potential risk factor and its probabilistic impact of interjecting error into the discovery process, I hope the following short overview provides legal professionals – both consumers and vendors alike – a new appreciation and consideration of the importance of integrated technologies and platforms in the conduct of electronic discovery.”
In a nutshell, Rob’s theory seems to be that the more data has to be handled by human hands, like DNA evidence, the more likely a mistake will be made.
In the eDiscovery world, he’s right. The more times your eDiscovery data has to be “handled” the more opportunities for someone to do it incorrectly, even people who know what they are doing. Things happen.
Now, for Rob, that is an argument for integrated technology tools. It’s a good argument too. If I’m using various tools to collect, process, review, produce and then present data at trial, each step becomes a place for that data to get mishandled.
What raises my alarm more than that, however, is when we turn over the collection of data in the first place, to unskilled humans. That’s a real danger, and yet I feel like it’s something we do quite frequently. Telling the client to collect without any sort of confirmation that they know what they are doing, is introducing even more risk, for no reason.
Now, let me also just say that while I consider myself to be pretty skilled at handling data once it’s been collected, I’d count myself in the number of people who are fairly unskilled in the art of collection as well. I’m neither a forensic expert, nor a network search and collection expert. I may understand more about the risks, and technology, involved in moving data around, but I’d hardly be the person you want on the stand defending how data was collected.
So, maybe we can start there, and understand how much risk we actually add to the process when we don’t take the identification and collection steps seriously enough, and don’t have the proper humans handling it. .
Because if that’s wrong, that mistake in the data can’t get corrected later. No matter how skilled your eDiscovery people and tools are.