Five myths about forensic collection

Forensic collection has come a long way over the last few years. Take a moment and get caught up on some of the myths that cause confusion and slow progress to a crawl.

MYTH 1: The client can’t collect their own data

As a blanket statement this is completely untrue. Blindly dismissing the clients role in most parts of the litigation process, especially discovery and collection is just plain ridiculous.

The client has the most intimate information about the company’s content and the behaviors that created it, not to mention critical understanding of business process in relation to organizational content creation.

However, it should be recognized and common knowledge for all attorneys today, that situations of the fox guarding the hen house do happen, which is yet another reason why the client should be included in at least initial discussions about the collection itself. In many cases, the client is well-equipped to collect some or all content in a forensically sound matter. This does not mean that it’s regular practice for clients to cull, reduce or even review their own data; unless it can be done in a supervised way, by attorneys supervised by outside counsel.

Client self collection can work. But you’ve got to make sure you’re asking the right questions. 

MYTH 2Forensic collection will return too much data

And you think that’s a bad thing? Having mountains of data at your disposal should never be considered a problem.

However, it’s important to follow a strategic process rather than a blind tactical decision to collect everything is employed. There will be obvious, important characters in your matter that should be Forensically captured. Most  custodian content involved in the matter can be reviewed in with email harvesting. The majority of the content created by the employee is email and as much as 95% of work product is reported and delivered through email.

Combined with a legal hold strategy that’s well executed, this gives the reviewing council the platform to go back and collect more if important clues are found about data while reviewing email.

Email from an organizational standpoint is highly duplicative which is a big bonus from an eDiscovery standpoint, because as much as 20-40% of content can be de-duplicated across the review before content or date filtering even begins. Email is also lightweight from an eDiscovery processing perspective and can produce reviewable results almost immediately.

MYTH 3Forensic collection is way too expensive.

Forensic collection is an extraordinary weapon in your arsenal as a litigator. But like any valuable resource of this kind, if used frivolously out of fear or ignorance it can be very expensive, time-consuming and interruptive to your entire initiative.

The key to a successful forensic collection strategy is to collect what’s really important up front, and implement a legal hold program that keeps the door open and presents opportunity to collect more if it’s necessary.

Follow a repeatable process and keep cost under control. The process should be simple. 

  • Ask the right questions.
  • Understand your clients need.
  • Understand the risks involved with producing the data.
  • Understand the entire scope of the data your’e working with.
  • Understand what custodians are important, and what custodian might be important (these are two completely separate categories.)
  • Build a plan with  budget.
  • Involve a really good vendor.
  • Insist on project management throughout your collection and discovery process.
MYTH 4Collection is interruptive to business. 

If executed poorly, this can happen. Fortunately, the vast majority of email servers and even company document repositories are moving to the cloud. From legacy business applications like Microsoft’s Sharepoint, all the way through sophisticated organizational integrations like Google apps or even lightweight, do-it-all applications like Dropbox.

With cloud, collection becomes much easier and can be done behind the scenes. Even non-cloud email services can be easily harvested through legacy systems like Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino mail servers.

For company data that exists outside of the cloud. It’s important to discuss whether or not it can be collected by the client or actually requires on-site forensic collection. If on-site is required, it’s important to narrow the scope of who is affected by it and to move quickly. 

Nothing affects organizational morale than litigation, except for investigators collecting data on-site for weeks on end. That can be more memorable than than last year’s christmas party when Pete from accounting had a bit too much egg nog and sang Suffragette City on iPhone Karaoke.

The takeaway: Cloud collect where you can, narrow your scope of on-site collection and move quickly.

MYTH 5: I just don’t know where to get started.

But thats not true! You’ve got Platinum! There’s thousands of eDiscovery vendors out there but you found your way here. We’ve been managing successful collection initiatives since 2001 and we’re ready to go to work for yours.

Do yourself a favor and reach out to our team using the form below. We’ll connect you with an eDiscovery expert that can help you navigate the waters of forensic collection with ease. We’ll discuss all of the options and even interrogate your team’s plan free of charge. Take 30 seconds and start your next matter off on the right foot with a successful eDiscovery collection initiative.

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