The Co-Existence of Document Services in Today’s eDiscovery Litigation
The modern day’s litigation heavily focuses on eDiscovery. Electronically Stored Information (ESI) has established a major role within the discovery phase, but there is often a need to normalize paper and electronic discovery. By this, the attorney/firm would work with litigation support professionals to develop a workflow for reviewing, coding, using and producing documents in a similar format during litigation. Most attorneys see a hybrid of formats in; their own client files, what was produced by opposing counsel, and their pleadings and documents in preparation of their client’s defense(s) or claim(s). This is because the legal profession is heavy on reading, research and writing. As a result, it also tends to be heavy on paper.
Unfortunately, paper brings with it a number of disadvantages, such as; the expense of supplies and hardware, time consumption in locating certain documents, costs related to duplicating the physical location of documents, space needed to stow the files, and issues pertaining to organization and accurate filing. Fortunately, database management solutions can help by normalizing the electronic files and hard-copy materials, in a fashion most efficient and organized for the litigator.
The amount of paperwork handled on any given day at the firm could be hefty, and necessitate litigation support services. These services could provide hard-copies of documents, scanning of the documents to be easily retrieved, filtering and searching through coding, and preparing binders or notebooks for keeping the legal team organized throughout the matter.
Proper document management and the hosting of ESI in eDiscovery are complementary. Document services enable the ability to scan the physical information on any given page, sort the files in a manner most appropriate to the case at bar, apply optical character recognition (OCR) – for searching text, field-coding, file-conversions, etc., and the information can be made available in various digital formats. The electronic copy can then be indexed and included in the database management platform, as word processing files, spreadsheets, database files, and HTML documents. This will allow the discovery to be more easily accessible and available in a format in-line with any exiting ESI.
During the scanning process, each page will receive a unique Bates Label for identification, logging, and easy-search ability. Litigation support services will be able to abide to legal labeling standards that attorneys are use to seeing on hard-copies. Additionally, coded data can include such captured information as; dates, names, document types, and more. There is a wealth of possibilities when it comes to imaging documents and capturing the details within, that can prove to be useful during discovery.
Notebooks & Binders
We’ve all seen the movie where the lawyer is presenting the case. They walk in with the briefcase, full of papers. Before the trial begins everything is sorted out on the party’s table, and everything is in the correct place. There will be no scavenging to find document XYZ under the timing pressure from the judge. This creates confidence and preparedness by the lawyer, which can be positively viewed by a mediator or jury, and it is all thanks to the lawyer taking advantage of document services provided by a litigation support vendor.
Towards the end of discovery, an attorney will require binders or notebooks assembled for various stages of the trial. This includes opening statements, direct and cross examinations (usually separated by witness), summation, and general sets for documents that may be relied on during the case (like transcripts and pleadings). The multiple bindings will contain logical breaks (tabs) referencing different thoughts, claim(s), defense(s), and other strategic partitions. A document services team should also be able to coordinate the pick-up/drop-off of such documents at the court, and work with the clerk or court’s technical representative as to all aspects of documents (and equipment) being brought-to and remaining-in the courtroom. Essentially, the litigation support team should serve to assist in all areas of document services, including complete organization of documents in a manner most efficient for trial counsel, as well as the procedural requirements for making the documents available day after day.
Quality and Support Services
With document services from a litigation support vendor, an understanding of the importance of meeting deadlines of filings and productions are taken with the utmost urgency. The expertise offered by a document services team cannot be matched. With a deep understanding of the discovery process, both paper and electronic discovery necessitate the benefits provided by a litigation support professional.
Quality assurance is crucial for all litigation support services, but may prove to have the greatest benefit when it pertains to the documents/data being relied on during case settlement and trial. Be sure to check with your litigation support provider as it pertains to their methods for quality control and ability to remedy any issues before production.
At LITeGATION, we offer documents services including copying, scanning, labeling, coding, indexing, demonstratives, and preparing trial notebooks and binders. With nearly 20 years of experience, LITeGATION welcomes you to contact us to discuss your document services.