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Pre-Litigation and Early Case Assessment

eDiscovery refers to the process by which electronically stored information (ESI) is sought, identified, preserved, secured, searched, and produced with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal trial. ESI is broadly defined, and includes text files, emails, images, databases, spreadsheets, audio files, animation, websites, and computer programs. Email, and its associated metadata, generally proves to be a valuable source of ESI in civil and criminal litigation because users tend to be less careful in email exchange than in hard copy format.

Social media interaction continues to grow in popularity as a communication medium. As more companies transform their business models to achieve paperless practices, digital information dominates the pool of discoverable evidence. ESI is now undoubtedly implicated by all legal disputes. The need for lawyers who speak this language and understand clients’ obligations to opposing counsel is necessary to avoid sanctions by courts for spoliation of evidence which could lead to draconian results on the disposition of a legal dispute.

Watson LLP has broad experience with developing eDiscovery protocols for clients from engagement through litigation, and case management plans to govern digital evidence and its intentional or inadvertent production. We have worked with leading vendors nationwide in the eDiscovery industry to implement best practices for clients who receive discovery requests for digital information either as a party to litigation or as the recipient of a subpoena duces tecum. We are active in in legal developments nationwide in eDiscovery law through our blog, TechLawLogy™.

Our eDiscovery practice is divided into two areas: Pre-Litigation Consulting and Early Case Assessment Consulting.

Pre-Litigation Consulting

Every sound business plan should contemplate litigation from a business competitor…someday. The firm’s Pre-Litigation Consulting practice is focused entirely on working with clients to develop best practices that prepare their company for unforeseen litigation. Through our review of both federal and state case law, we design a custom plan for our clients that addresses all facets of eDiscovery, from proper litigation holds, document retention policies, ESI system maps, identification of key custodians, information governance, cross-border issues, and education and training.

Early Case Assessment Consulting

Lawsuits are won by identifying a clear litigation objective that is focused on achieving pragmatic results. Our Early Case Assessment (ECA) Consulting practice is focused on providing services to other law firms who need assistance understanding their eDiscovery obligations and exposure under the applicable procedural rules. Our ECA services differ from those provided by eDiscovery vendors because we are focused on litigation strategy, not project management. We work with law firms to perform risk benefit analyses of complying with eDiscovery requests, or opting for an early settlement. Through our ECA Consulting, we quickly analyze and synthesize digital evidence from multiple sources, collaborate with law firms and their clients, and formulate a plan that will lead to a successful resolution of the merits.

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