How E Discovery Law Has Changed The Legal Profession
E Discovery law is a concept that many law firms do not use as much as they should. That is a shame since it is extremely beneficial. It is no longer necessary for people to use paper documents as much, which can make them more effective when working on a case.
For those who are not familiar with the term, e discovery is the idea of using evidence that has obtained through the use of electronic means. This may include, but is not limited to, emails, faxes and Web research.
There are several benefits to using this method of discovery as opposed to the typical evidence that is used during a case, and they are:
SPEED – It can be difficult to try certain cases due to the amount of time it takes to gather evidence. Long hours spent doing research can take a toll on a lawyer’s ability to think clearly and represent their client well. When using e discovery, you can compile evidence with speed. This means you will have more time to dedicate to other aspects of the case in question.
EFFICIENCY – When a case goes to trial, having solid evidence leads to success more often than not. Having a case that is presented well makes a huge difference when it comes to convincing a judge and jury you wholly believe in the case at hand. If you try the traditional method of gathering paperwork and it is not organized well, it can lead to a negative outcome.
COST – In case you were unaware, using e discovery law is less expensive than using other evidence gathering methods. Since you will not have to pay for things like document and shipping fees, it can actually be quite economical. The more money you are able to save while prepping for a case, the better you will be viewed by all of those around you.
Now that you have a better understanding of e discovery and how it affects court proceedings, here are some examples of the impact it has had on different cases:
The ECHR Ruled E-Discovery Termination Was Illegal
There was a recent case where an employee of a Rumanian company used their business email account to have private conversations with friends and family. Based on the content of these messages, he was terminated. He took legal action, claiming that they were violating privacy laws when using his private communications to be used against him.
Surprisingly, the case went in his favor. Even though the information was obtained through electronic means that are owned by the business, it does not mean that they can be terminated. The reality is that employers can monitor those who work for them, but there is a line they are not supposed to cross. If the private messages do not have a direct bearing on the job and there are no violations of set rules, there is nothing that can be done about what one chooses to say to people via email.
On the surface, this may seem a little frightening since it appears that employees can say what they wish without fear of being fired, but this is not the case at all. Business owners have to be more careful about the way the information is gathered and which items are considered privileged.
Attorney’s E-Discovery Mistakes Led To Data Breach
One case where e discovery law came into play involves the popular bank Wells Fargo. They were dealing with legal action by one of their adversaries and their lawyers used e-discovery in order to uncover details and evidence for the case. The problem is that this information was not properly vetted and scrubbed before being sent to the opposing party. As a result, private customer information was divulged.
The lawyer explained her mistake by pointing out that the document only appeared to have 1,000 pages, when in fact there were quite a few more. After reading what she believed was all the information, she passed it on to the other side, which she is legally obligated to do. There were no redactions and nothing done to protect customer privacy. As a result, names and asset information was shared with others.
This is very alarming in some ways, but the reality is that e discovery law is not something that is going away anytime soon, Instead of allowing this to have a negative impact on the way that people choose to gather evidence, it is a lesson on being thorough and making sure that you are aware of what kind of information is being passed along.
Oxford Comma Led To Positive E-Discovery Ruling For Maine Drivers
There are some farmers in Maine who sued their employer for making them work many extra hours without additional pay. According to them, they were not paid as they were promised and they wanted what was promised to them when they agreed to work for the company. The business in question pointed out the fact that they have a clear overtime policy and they did not violate any laws when they required their workers to complete more hours without a pay boost.
The lawyers for the drivers looked through some of the e discovery that was presented to them during the trial and they found something strange. The way that an Oxford comma was used in the work documents was very interesting to them. Basically, it was very clear that the information could be interpreted more than one way.
When you have people working for you, it is essential that all policies are strikingly clear to them, and this was not the case here. In fact, it was the main reason for the confusion between the workers and the company. After presenting this to the judge, it was found that the drivers were entitled to all they were asking for in accordance with the way the comma was used in the documents.
As you can tell, there are times when electronic evidence is great for the purposes of winning a case. There are also occasions when it is used in a way that was not originally expected. Nonetheless, this is a solid method of gathering evidence and it will not be going away in the foreseeable future.
FINDING AN E DISCOVERY COMPANY TO ASSIST YOU
If you are put in a position where you have a case that could benefit from e discovery, it is wise to find a company that can help you gather the information needed. There are numerous companies available, which can make it hard to choose one. Make sure that the company you select meets the following criteria if you want to be successful:
There is no way you should hire a company that does not have a proven track record. While it is possible for a new company to do a great job, is this really something that you want to take a chance on? Your best bet would be to find a well-established company, like the one at barristerdigital.com, to handle things on your behalf. This particular business has been around for 14 years, which shows that they know what they are doing and they are good at it.
No one wants to choose a company that no one is familiar with. If people are not beating down their door to work with them, isn’t this a sign that they may not be as good as they claim to be? While every company does not have to have an unlimited roster of famous clients they have worked with, there is something very wrong if they cannot tell you the name of at least one. Companies like Barrister Digital are great because they have worked with a number of clients that are considered high profile.
– Employee Experience
Not only do you want the company to have a proven track record, but having employees with a wealth of legal knowledge is very important. The reality is that people do not want to hire companies that have green employees. The more individual experience each contributor has, the more efficient they will be when getting the job done. Ideally, they should have at least 5-10 years of experience in some legal capacity.
In case you could not tell, it is not likely that any cases will be tried in the future without using electronic evidence. In some cases, it will be used exactly as planned; to help a legal professional plea their clients’ cases in the best possible manner. Unfortunately, there have been times where things did not go as planned. The best way for someone to avoid this fate would be to find a company to handle this on their behalf. By hiring someone who specializes in this type of work, it will reduce the chances of having all of the e-discovery methods used to come back and bite them in the rear and tank the case in question.