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E-discovery: Know thy IT department

Leveraging your knowledge of company IT systems can result in more efficient discovery

By now, we all know that e-discovery can be expensive, time consuming and disruptive. But it can also deliver a treasure trove of important information. Of course, we also know that e-discovery is a two-edged sword. Although it is relatively easy to seek relevant email information from the opponent, it is often difficult to have to produce the same. And when discovery requests are overly broad, the amount of information produced may be so large that it hinders rather than advances true discovery.

So what can counsel do to most effectively respond to e-discovery requests?

  1. Know your company’s IT systems and procedures inside and out
  2. Become best friends with the personnel involved with those systems and procedures
  3. Learn the language of your company’s IT department (for example, the difference between WAN, LAN and VPN)
  4. Understand how your company maintains and backs up electronic information, as well as how the company stores, acquires and archives it.

As counsel you must be able to speak intelligently with the IT staff. If you can do so easily, you can develop a good, working relationship with IT and everything in connection with e-discovery will work much more smoothly.

Another benefit to understanding your company’s technical systems and procedures is that it will be much easier for you to argue proportionality and describe what it takes to produce electronic information when responding to e-discovery requests. Any counsel can claim that producing certain e-discovery information is unduly burdensome and too expensive for the issues involved in a case. But to be able to say why, and to say it persuasively, is a huge benefit. This knowledge will also help you point out to the court why particular information may be irrelevant or privileged.

The importance of knowing your company’s IT systems and procedures cannot be overstated. It can be virtually impossible to respond properly to e-discovery requests without it. Armed with the necessary information you should be able to navigate the tricky waters of e-discovery safely and effectively.

Contributing Author

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Anthony Valiulis

Anthony C. Valiulis, a Principal in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution group and a member of the Management Committee at Chicago-based law firm Much...

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