Top eDiscovery Collection Mistakes That Could Be Costing You
When litigation is underway, attorneys rely on the collection of electronically stored information (ESI) to obtain critical evidence. Due to the technical complexity of this process, mistakes are likely to occur without proper knowledge and understanding. Crucial metadata is lost, and the data’s authenticity becomes questionable.
How can you protect yourself against eDiscovery collection inefficiencies and wasted time and money? Avoid the following common mistakes when gathering digital evidence.
Copying & Pasting Files
It’s common practice to copy files from one network drive and paste them into another location or external drive during the normal course of business. However, this is one of the greatest eDiscovery mistakes legal professionals can make when trying to collect legally defensible data. As soon as the files are copied (or “dragged and dropped”), key metadata from the original file (such as the date the file was created or the folder information) is lost, creating discrepancies and overall confusion with the different versions of the files.
Using Mobile Screen Capture Techniques
Just as copying and pasting files across drives results in lost metadata, taking screenshots on mobile devices leaves out pertinent information. When you take a screen capture of a mobile device’s display, you fail to gather data such as the date and time a social media post was published or where a picture was taken. Additionally, screen captures — whether of social media posts, photos, text messages, emails, or anything else — can be easily manipulated, making it an indefensible method of data preservation. Trying to present screen captures as evidence could break your case.
Over-Relying on Keyword Searches
Keyword searches are an effective way to narrow down data sets in review platforms, but it’s important to note that if they are too broad or narrow, you could receive false positives or miss out on gathering key information. Words have varying meanings in different contexts and can be spelled incorrectly, abbreviated, or obfuscated to avoid detection. Because of this, keyword searches take careful consideration. It’s far too easy for law firms to waste time and effort reviewing irrelevant documents after a keyword search.
You can avoid this mistake of over-relying on keyword searches by partnering with an eDiscovery expert. They can help you select pertinent keywords and even use eDiscovery tools that locate documents that may not contain expected keywords but are still vital to the case.
Don’t Rely on Self-Collections!
The eDiscovery collection process is complex and can result in several errors or legally indefensible data if done incorrectly. We do not recommend custodian self-collections because the data will almost always be missing metadata, such as which computer the data came from, which server it was hosted on, and what the folder structure was like. Additionally, courts look unfavorably upon self-collections because it’s likely custodians will not collect any data that reflects poorly on themselves or their organization. Instead of letting your custodians collect their own data, ensure they partner with a highly experienced digital forensics team, like the ones at Cornerstone Discovery.
Cornerstone Discovery Can Help You Avoid These Common eDiscovery Mistakes!
Whether intentional or not, mistakes happen. However, your legal team cannot afford to make any mistakes when it comes to your case. You can avoid making the most common eDiscovery collection mistakes by working with reputable eDiscovery experts in Montgomery County and the surrounding area. Our digital forensic collection specialists will collect all pertinent information, including metadata, in a sound manner so that you can trust your evidence will be admissible in court.
If you need help with your case, contact our team today. In addition to data collection methods, we also offer trial support services to ensure your legal team is ready to make their case.