Today's business disputes are not measured in bankers’ boxes of paper, but in gigabytes and terabytes of data. Information is stored in a multitude of formats and locations. As courts and regulators expand the reach of electronic discovery, the need to cost-efficiently manage and preserve eData increases. However, the larger objectives are qualitative. The risks associated with failure to retrieve and produce electronic information — and the inadvertent production of protected information — have grown substantially. A company that fails to properly manage its electronic data in litigation risks exposure to greater liability than the liability caused by the underlying claim itself.
Stites & Harbison is a leader in eDiscovery and the handling of electronically stored information. Our Pretrial Practice & eDiscovery team works with clients to develop sound document management policies before a claim ever arises. And once a claim is filed, we use initiative and experience to reduce unnecessary costs and fees associated with discovery. Stites & Harbison is now recognized as a leader in developing a document retrieval and discovery management system that handles our clients' litigation needs in a variety of ways, including:
- Preparing and supervising hold notices;
- Identifying our client’s obligations for preserving and producing electronic information;
- Drafting and opposing electronic information and document requests;
- Developing plans for locating, reviewing and producing requested information - this can include selection of tools and vendors for database loading, as well as document handling and review;
- Designing protocols and search tools that allow faster, more efficient searching of documents and electronic storage media;
- Defending our client’s chosen eDiscovery and records management methodologies;
- Developing, in partnership with our clients, systems to increase productivity in reviewing and preparing documents during litigation. Internally, Stites & Harbison can store several terabytes of data. Depending on the size of the case, we use off-the-shelf and proprietary technology to manage voluminous amounts of paper and electronic data effectively.
Our firm has also designed several offsite document management centers to manage large volumes of paper and electronic documents in a cost-effective manner. Since our clients' electronic information often requires us to work with outside vendors to process and prepare the information for review, Stites & Harbison has relationships with the nation's largest electronic document vendors.
Where circumstances permit, we can also use our in-house IT department to process and prepare electronic data—bypassing the cost of an outside vendor.
- In one situation, we worked with the IT department of one of our foreign clients to develop an online review process—bypassing the cost of an outside vendor—to review approximately 10 terabytes of text. Our own IT department established a link via Citrix with our client's network databases overseas, allowing Stites & Harbison attorneys to conduct the document review online in their individual offices. Because this information resided at several locations worldwide, extracting this data for delivery to a third-party vendor would have been extremely time-consuming and costly.
- In this same case, our review team traveled to remote locations around the world to collect and review more than four million pages. Using state-of-the-art scanning and electronic equipment, we were able to compile and review this data in a matter of months.
- In another case, we assisted a client in responding to Department of Justice subpoenas. We worked with our client to retrieve and review voluminous corporate paper records, along with approximately 250 gigabytes of electronic data. Part of the process required our firm to produce the original of each requested paper document and place copies back in the client's files. Using the skills we have developed over the years, we were able to complete this task before the deadline, without disrupting our client's ongoing business.
- When a client was involved in trade secret infringement suit, Stites & Harbison lawyers and IT professionals used computer forensics to recapture once-deleted files and recreate the "creation of the business method" at issue in the litigation.
- When defending a products liability matter, Stites & Harbison collected, processed, and produced two terabytes of data by working with our client to develop a strategy that turned the plaintiff’s overbroad discovery requests to our client’s benefit.
- Our team processed, managed, and stored more than four million pages, and accomplished the initial document review in less than four months. A staff of attorneys (one member of the firm and seven associates) and more than 50 paralegals and document clerks set up a temporary document "war room" in an offsite review center. From this initial review, the team created six compact disks containing approximately 75,000 images of what were judged to be the "hot" and "benchmark" documents for the case.
- In another complex commercial litigation matter, our document management team created 89 compact discs containing almost one million pages, with a retrieval of 1.5 gigabytes. The database included both scanned text along with coded data, keyed in for reporting functions.
The litigators and paralegals of our Pretrial Practice & eDiscovery group can represent you in any litigation or investigation where electronic information is involved. We can also work as eDiscovery advisors in cases where other counsel has already been retained. In this capacity, we work with existing counsel, bringing our particular knowledge and experience in handling complex electronic discovery issues.
In recent years, as courts have become more congested and business dealings have grown more complex, mediation and arbitration have grown in both prevalence and popularity as alternatives for civil litigation, both locally and across the country.