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Electronic Discovery and Content Management Discussions and Issues

Marshalling Your Team


When confronted with a discovery request or a reasonably good chance of a discover request forthcoming, it is time to circle the wagons. What is needed is to assemble a cross-functional crack team as quickly as possible. Many clients don’t include team members until it is absolutely necessary. I cannot impress upon them enough to think about this prior to any legal matter and build your team. Just like any emergency, preparation is key. Every member needs to know their role.

Typical Team roles:      

eDiscovery Project Manager: a Project Manager who will facilitate tight timeframes and keep costs and schedules in mind.

Collection Manager: Assist the IT staff technical expert on gathering data given the volume and location of potentially relevant data. Assist with the production of data due to the variety, rarity, and complexity of current and legacy software applications. With the Subject Matter Expert and the IT manager, the Collection Manager will analyze backup tapes to support an argument that the tapes should not be subject to discovery, or try to limit the number of backup tapes based on analysis. The Collection Manager assists in copying of relevant data in order not to interfere with business operations.

Subject Matter Expert: technical expert on the industry and request area. Manage foreign privacy and data transfer issues, testify as to the defensibility of the collection and processing procedures.

Paralegal: Liaison with counsel and scribe to all proceedings.

Outside Counsel: The Outside Counsel has oversight of the preservation and collection. This includes assisting in the creation of the Questionnaire (See earlier post for further details on the Questionnaire)..

In-house Counsel: help identify personnel and facilitate with other departments keeping in mind the ongoing business requirements. Identify privileged information, such as names and emails of attorneys involved. Assist in developing searches to identify relevant data collection candidates as well as process and review the relevancy of data.

Communication Manager: Since this is a sensitive matter and will need to occur in haste, thorough and explicit communication is imperative.

IT manager: Provide IT topology, system architecture, historical and current practices for computer systems and policies for deleting e-mail messages, location of data regarding the litigation, location of backup and number of backup media with potential information. Assist in preservation policies and suspension of routine destruction of potentially relevant data. Data Mapping excise should have already been in place, if that needs to be done quickly. Often clients will include Data Mapping when on-boarding a server into the enterprise.

Directory of Data Security: Identify security issues such as online review tools and issues revolving around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Records Manager: Understanding document Life Cycle procedures and policies. The Records Manager role will be significant in an on-going basis. This role may also determine types of tools that will help alleviate documents out in the wild and bring them in from the cold by the introduction of a records management system coupled with content management. A system in place to manage data will limit exposure to litigation by the lawful disposition of records.

Judge Scheindlin noted in Zubulake V, that the burden is placed upon both outside and in-house counsel for collections and preservation. Therefore getting your team in place reduces risk, reduces cost, and saves time.

This is a process that will most likely occur again, reviewing the process by conducting a post-mortem is time well spent. This will help determine what can be done to make this process easier, more cost effective, and less stressful.

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6 Degrees of Discoverability

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