Evolution is paramount to the overall progress of technology as well as business. In this world, it is befitting that companies explore new and efficient models of business processes depending on the need of the hour. This applies to the world of ‘eDiscovery’ as well. eDiscovery or Electronic Discovery refers to the discovery in civil litigation or other investigations dealing with electronically stored information (ESI). This includes structured and unstructured data i.e. electronic messages, emails, databases, voicemails etc. Traditionally, the EDRM model of eDiscovery included the stages of Identification, Collection, Preservation, Processing, Hosting, Review and Production of all the relevant documents stored in electronic formats. This essentially means the research and documentation of facts & precedents, subject to local rules and agreed upon processes, to be produced as legal evidence as required in a legally acceptable and defensible manner.
eDiscovery is a crucial part of litigation support for both internal corporate compliance investigations in organizations (Supply Chain Integrity, Procurement Analytics etc) and multi-geography external regulatory compliance (US FDA / DoJ / US FCPA / UK Bribery Act / European MEA / SEC/ SEBI etc). It is particularly important in industries with strict regulatory oversight such as Pharma, Health Care, Financial Services etc.
Considering that regulators and courts have increasingly adopted the use of ESI in legal procedures, there has been a massive uptick in requests for electronic information in current litigations.
However, companies with a history of requesting information and ongoing discovery requirements are finding it necessary to maintain the slew of trained attorneys, discovery specialists, technologists and certified project managers on their rolls. Companies which have already gone ahead and made the investments in sizeable teams are also grappling with challenges around flexibility and economic attractiveness. The workload of disparate teams may vary with the ongoing requirements and they tend to have staggered periods of overwork and underutilization. This affects the productivity and performance. Hence, companies are increasingly looking at ‘Managed eDiscovery’ to avoid issues related to maintaining a large group of professionals.
Simply put, ‘Managed eDiscovery’ refers to corporations and law firms availing the support of specialists for the eDiscovery function, infrastructure hosting and application support. One of the primary benefits of using Managed eDiscovery is that it eliminates challenges related to technology obsolescence for organizations as the onus of maintaining the technology requirements falls on the services provider.
Document review is a crucial part of eDiscovery and in many cases also be the most time-consuming and expensive aspect of an investigation. In such a scenario, it makes good sense for organizations to engage specialist firms to manage this for either select parts or the entirety of the cases.
The right combination of people, processes, technology, policies and comprehensive support is the key driver in any project’s success. It is also crucial to ascertain the cost element. Handling this requirement in-house may become a very expensive proposition for companies as they will have to manage and monitor the different levels of staffing, advanced technologies and processes which can effectively take care of their eDiscovery requirements. This is another reason which makes the prospect of engaging specialists to manage end-to-end requirements very attractive.
Organizations signing up for managed eDiscovery services are set to derive immense benefits. These are not limited to just cost advantages but also include quick acquisition of specialized expertise and being eDiscovery ready without trying to reinvent the wheel.