Five Things Every General Counsel Should Know About eDiscovery and ESI

You want to know who has a busy job? The president of the United States. That guy’s busy. You know who else has a packed schedule? Just about every general counsel I’ve ever met. So where does understanding and managing eDiscovery needs fit into general counsels’ work lives? Sometimes it doesn’t, which is why they turn to providers like us. To help our in-house friends along, we’d like to share a handful of tips about electronically stored information (ESI) and the eDiscovery process.   1. Know where your company’s electronically stored information is located. In a perfect world, it’s all on one central machine in a locked server room. But in today’s mobile data-driven world, that’s frequently not the case. Employees have laptops and smartphones with company data floating around outside the office–and outside the network. Make sure you know where all your company’s ESI is located, and more importantly, where it’s backed up. (You’re backing everything up, right?) 2. Ask your employees where they are keeping relevant information. Even data kept on an employee’s personal computer or in a personal account can be covered under a demand for ESI. Having a document storage policy in place from the start may limit the amount of information being kept on personal devices outside of the office and off the server. 3. Understand your archiving system. Some back-up systems have procedures in place to save space—they may automatically delete data of a certain age. If you receive a demand for ESI, make sure any relevant information is not in danger of being “aged out” and automatically deleted. It’s also important to know if your archiving system is backing up your live data in its entirety, or only partially. Consult your IT department to understand how your system works. 4. If you receive a demand for ESI, you want to gather and review the data in its entirety the first time around. A complete and organized collection will save both time and money, allowing your litigation team to be as effective as possible as early as possible. 5. If you’re operating internationally, be aware of data privacy laws. Privacy laws in many countries may prevent the exchange of information between countries, even if it is between satellite offices and corporate headquarters in different countries. Know the law. 5+. Call us! We’ll walk you through what you should know. We’re never too busy to take your call.

About the Author Chris

Author Avatar Christine Chalstrom is the Founder, CEO, and President of Shepherd Data Services, Trustee, Mitchell Hamline Law School and Adviser, Center for Law and Business. She has spoken widely on the Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, Digital Forensics, and eDiscovery best practices. Her credits include presentations to the American Bar Association, Association of Certified e-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), Corporate Counsel Institute, MN Association of Corporate Counsel, MN Association of Litigation Support Professionals, MN CLE, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute. She is an attorney, programmer, and forensic examiner.