Discovery costs have increased significantly due to the proliferation of email and other electronic documents. Our approach to e-discovery reflects the need to limit these costs for our clients while meeting the requirements of discovery requests. Accordingly, in addition to our internal litigation support applications, we have developed close relationships with outside vendors to provide scalable e-discovery services. Hollingsworth LLP has developed extensive expertise in managing electronic discovery collections from a few thousand pages to productions of over 30,000,000 electronic images.
Hollingsworth’s E-Discovery team assists the Firm’s clients with electronic discovery by focusing on two critical areas: meeting a client’s discovery obligations and preparing a client’s defense in litigation. Hollingsworth’s approach to e-discovery is not simply to identify and produce documents to meet litigation obligations; it is also to know and understand the documents being produced as part of the overall litigation strategy. The E-discovery team is comprised of professionals who accomplish both.
E-discovery is in a dynamic phase right now, but there are core litigation principles to which we adhere whether that discovery is electronic or paper. We employ a comprehensive – yet case-specific -- strategy that encompasses identification of key employees, identification of their relevant documents, collection and preservation of those documents, and the review and production of responsive, non-privileged documents. To apply these principles in practice, we work with our clients to develop case-specific strategies to meet their discovery burdens and to prepare their defense. This includes the use of efficient, discovery-tested technologies and technology tools, and members of our E-discovery team and outside vendors (as necessary) to perform document review. The value-added nature of Hollingsworth’s E-Discovery team is that as they review documents for production purposes, they are simultaneously identifying key documents that will be used in case preparation, including depositions, motions practice, and trial. Our goal is to create the proper balance between cost-effectiveness and case preparation. Our history of success with this strategy bears witness to its effectiveness. But working closely with our clients is paramount.
Incomplete and undocumented electronic discovery collections can be costly to both the client and their legal counsel. Therefore we work closely with our clients and their IT staff to fashion a comprehensive, cost-effective approach for identifying, retrieving, processing, reviewing, and producing materials originally stored electronically. Whether handled internally or via an e-discovery vendor, we discuss with the client proper planning and file collection methods at the beginning of each case. When collecting electronic discovery, we ensure the use of processes and applications to create defensible and verifiable electronic discovery productions and evidence.
We have worked with numerous vendors across the country as well as forensic experts to preserve and analyze electronic materials. Our lawyers are equipped to guide our clients in making decisions concerning the costs and benefits of different methods of data acquisition and preservation, including dealing with metadata, electronic mail, instant messaging, voicemail, and voice-over-IP telephone systems. We develop methodologies in individual cases for processing material for review, including “hashing” of the electronic file and de-duplication of the population. We have relationships with vendors who have developed sophisticated online review systems that utilize artificial intelligence algorithms and linguistic analysis to organize email and related documents into “conversations” and threads as well as other techniques that allow us to access the relatively more important information sooner and more cost effectively.
Because of our close relationships with vendors, our E-discovery team ensures quality control of the vendors' work and assists in managing difficult discovery matters such as dynamic databases, spreadsheets, and legacy systems. Our E-Discovery team is able to adapt quickly to changing privilege and responsive review strategies to the needs, constraints, and challenges of specific clients and projects. These include mastering new document review platforms, adapting review protocols to meet time constraints and requirements of discovery orders, managing review through direct contact with reviewers and through remote contact with vendor review team supervisors, differentiating between high-scrutiny and low-scrutiny review projects, and understanding that privilege QC includes the QC of the scope of what is being withheld, which is a crucial part of drafting an effective, accurate, and defensible privilege log.
Finally, our E-Discovery team works with the case-specific litigation team to ensure that a comprehensive document production protocol is in place and that a confidentiality agreement has been entered by the court in which a case is being litigated. Protection of confidential information is critical, and the proliferation of e-documents creates challenges not necessarily faced in a paper-discovery world.