What is Computer Forensics/e-Discovery?

Electronic discovery encompasses the identification, collection and production of electronically stored information (ESI) as an answer to a production request that occurs in lawsuits. ESI applies to any type of computer generated information/data that is stored in any recognized storage media such as computers, servers, digital tape, any other virtual or real media devices. ESI includes: digital communications (email, text messaging, voice mail, instant messaging, social media communications such as tweets), email server stores, word processed or word processed type documents, spreadsheets, accounting information data (Great Plains, Quickbooks, Money, Peachtree Accountedge), images and facsimile (PDF, TIFF, JPG, GIF, etc.), audio files, video files, database files (Oracle, Sql, SAP, Filemaker, Access, etc.), contact management files (Outlook, ACT, Evernote, etc.), calendar data, journal application data, online access data (such as Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, and History), presentation files (Keynote, PowerPoint), network access and server log files, project management files, backup, archive file as well as any other relevant information that is electronically stored.

Almost all evidence is created electronically.

Regardless of the increased interest in litigation technology, a significant amount of attorneys and clients do not comprehend the complexities of e-discovery from the technical collection, processing and analysis of electronically stored data. According to the American Bar Association, many lawyers do not understand how advantageous computer forensics/e-Discovery can be for their cases and clients, even for sole practitioners and small firms. While the e-discovery practice advances, the governing case law has embraced the technology with new rulings and new discovery standards for electronically stored information (ESI).

One major factor, which makes e-discovery more complex, is the enormous volume of stored electronic data that needs to be collected and stored. Printed document evidence is static and differs greatly from the more dynamic electronic documents. ESI data is mostly hidden and not categorized. Electronic documents include metadata, which is information that contains author and receiver information, time and date stamps, and properties of the file. Proper safeguard of the electronically stored data protects the content and metadata so as to remove any potential claims of spoliation. Our firm ensures that all metadata remains unchanged on the original data, preserving all of the evidence.

Computer Forensics e-Discovery is not just for large corporate clients anymore.

e-Discovery has become commonplace in general practice such as family law, civil litigation, contract disputes, property law, and many others.Including such issues as:

Why is eDiscovery important to attorneys:

  • Dissolution of Marriage/Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Marital issues where evidence is stored on computers, smartphones, and tablets (iOS, Android, Blackberry).
  • Disposition of marital assets, hidden assets
  • Sexual harassment
  • Duress
  • Financial record tampering
  • Company data/records theft
  • Wrongful/Improper termination
  • Breach of Contract
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Piercing the Corporate Veil
  • Alter Ego Theories
  • Misrepresentation
  • Fraud and Fraudulent Concealment

Today all document discovery is ediscovery. Evidence in employment cases, contract disputes, personal injury suits, and divorce is customarily created and stored in electronic form. Chances are that your hardcopy evidence such as emails, financial data, office memo’s, or postings from social media came from a computer file and printed to use in a particular case. However, without the computer assisted review of forensic ediscovery software, many relevant documents are missed by attorneys due to the enormous volume of data that the attorney would have to review, even in a relatively small case. Collecting, review, identification, and production of electronic information provides a significant edge in assisting attorneys in making connections that they could otherwise miss in finding the most vital evidence, which would benefit their clients.

Technology use in our world has accelerated at such rapid speed that it has become a part of our everyday life. Texting on smart phones and posting updates on social media has added additional ways that we communicate and exchange information. Despite your particular field of legal practice, electronically stored information has become a part of every case.

According to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the Duty of Competence (ABA 1.1) states that a lawyer has, “the responsibility to be reasonably informed about client use of technology.” Further Rule 1.1 states under comment 8 that, “to maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

Therefore, the reluctant, unaware or unprepared attorney will be at a legal, strategic and ethical disadvantage in not knowing how this technology can help their practice.

How our computer forensic e-Discovery team can help you:

Our e-Discovery team will provide you with the best e-Discovery results for your case as well as strict adherence to the Rules of Professional Conduct ensuring a carefully executed and defensible process. This includes:

  • Manage, supervise, and document the legal hold process.
  • Manage, supervise, and document the chain of custody
  • Manage, supervise, and document proper identification, preservation, and collection of ESI.
  • Work together with all parties to provide proper negotiated ESI and production forms.
  • Assess the appropriate technology to be used weighing the risk and benefit for the case including consideration of opposing party.
  • Evaluate costs of e-Discovery based on burden/volume, limit of accessibility and proportionality of ESI.
  • Manage and maintain confidential documents along with protective orders and clawback agreements.
  • Assist with review and analysis of opposing party productions.
  • Evaluate, filter and analyze for review relevant/substantive ESI.
  • Examine, review and produce relevant documents, while maintaining privilege.

In certain cases forensic analysis can provide much more than digital documents, including; linking certain activities with a particular user account, establish a timeline of events, encryption breaking, establish connection/relationship between individuals, locating contraband, recovery of deleted files, and conclude as to whether a system has been compromised in any way.

Our computer forensic e-Discovery team will use their skills, experience and cutting edge tools to help you with your discovery needs.