Discovery was once a relatively straightforward process. Interrogatories, document exchanges and depositions took place based on information found in accordion files or banker boxes. There were exceptions, of course, and some cases required sifting through a warehouse of documents, but the process was still fairly simple. Once the age of ubiquitous corporate computing and electronically stored information appeared, however, electronic discovery (e-discovery) became anything but straightforward. Electronically stored information became so easy to create that the sheer number of electronic documents began to far outweigh the number of physical documents that were ever created. As a result, e-discovery has typically been complicated, voluminous and, at times, downright difficult.
E-discovery requires a fair amount of technology to combat the complications electronic data has introduced. Time saving techniques such as optical character recognition, culling, similarity analysis, email threading and technology assisted review have greatly reduced the burdens inherent with e-discovery. These modern tools have helped us navigate millions of virtual documents accessed by inside counsel and outside counsel alike. Such techniques have started to make the process manageable again. There are so many choices in e-discovery tools and techniques, however, that it is often difficult to navigate the waters of modern e-discovery software.