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Lowering the cost of electronic discovery in business lawsuits

A company can't just turn over everything in its databases because they've been hit with a discovery order in a lawsuit. Only relevant information should be turned over in order to make certain that the company is both protected from unnecessary exposure and to keep down final costs -- the more documents that the opposing counsel has to filter through, the higher legal fees are going to ultimately be for both sides.

Electronic discovery (or "eDiscovery") costs can be tremendously expensive for a company to handle -- and more than 70 percent of that cost is due to review.

Here are several ways to reduce your costs when eDiscovery happens by doing a little advance planning:

1. Remember that email is part eDiscovery -- so make certain that employees keep private emails on private accounts and business emails on business accounts. Nobody needs to pay a filtering service to discard 40 copies of the same Thanksgiving joke that went around the office before it goes forward into evidence.

2. Back up email anyhow -- even if you think it isn't useful. Spoliation is generally thought of as willful destruction of potential evidence -- but you don't want to take the chance that you'll pay the price of being accused of willful destruction of potentially damaging evidence (somewhat like those missing minutes in the Watergate Tapes) when it is so easy to keep backup drives these days.

3. Talk to your internet technology (IT) department -- They can ultimately give you the best advice regarding document management -- including systems that can be built into the programs and prepped for eDiscovery processes. It's all a matter of asking the right questions and explaining to the right people what you may need down the line.

In today's era, everybody specializes in something -- so take your problems with eDiscovery directly to the people that can help you find the answers: your IT department and your legal team.

Your legal team can help you understand what documents would be important in different types of cases, such as lawsuits from disgruntled employees or against embezzlers. Your IT team can help you figure out how to separate the wheat from the chaff to make sure that your eDiscovery processes are smoother and less-expensive down the line.

Source: FindLaw, "How Companies Can Reduce the Costs and Risks Associated with Electronic Discovery," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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