eDiscovery Assistant Makes Litigation Easier and Smarter
BY Kerrie Spencer
The eDiscovery Assistant app is the first iPad application to assist attorneys with ediscovery. It takes the pain out of the ediscovery process by providing a step-by-step guide and a simplified learning curve.
One of the app's greatest virtues is its source: it was created by litigators, not software vendors. eDiscovery Assistant is on offer from Colorado-based ESI Attorneys, headed by ESI attorney and litigator Kelly Twigger.
What does it do, and how is it different from other eDiscovery software?
eDiscovery Assistant is not a tool in the sense that most existing ediscovery software follows. Typically, those programs help you comb through and extract information from documents more quickly.
Instead, eDiscovery Assistant provides information and detailed steps to guide you through the ediscovery process itself. According to early adopters, it is easy to learn and filled with comprehensive, plentiful detail that makes the e-discovery process less painful.
Why do I need an app to teach me about discovery?
Ediscovery is one of the most difficult tasks today's attorney has to perform. The volume of information now stored and regularly available is staggering, especially compared to the libraries and files that dominated discovery less than 20 years ago. Some attorneys have been known to refuse cases involving ediscovery entirely.
But roughly 99 percent of all content generated today is electronically stored information (ESI). ESI includes, but is not limited to, spreadsheets, emails, texts, social media, documents from word processors and databases, and it can no longer be avoided. ESI's overwhelming prevalence has made a necessary matter of law, and many lawyers now need to master its details as quickly as they can.
To help make the process manageable, eDiscovery Assistant provides attorneys with a roadmap for a given case, gives advice on logistics and shows what order of operations needs to be followed. Like a virtual encyclopedia or lessons from an experienced litigator, this application teaches, shows and demonstrates. Most software offers instructions, but leaves the learning up to the user, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.
What are the benefits of this particular app?
To start, it consolidates a lot of scattered information. eDiscovery Assistant lays out regulations from the 39 states that have enacted rules relating to discovery for electronically stored information. It offers guidelines for the FRCP and 43 district courts with individual rules and/or orders relating to what parties are required to do for the ediscovery process. The necessary forms may be downloaded directly from the application or added to any case you are working on within the application.
The iPad app features over 3300 specific ediscovery cases that can be filtered by jurisdiction, by judge or by issue, laid out in an easy-to-read format that puts practicality first. The database also features digests and case studies.
Is it just for learning, or will it actually help me do the task?
The app features a number of very effective, efficient reference tools that litigators need to do their jobs. For example, users have access to checklists, templates, two ways to store information (My Library or My Cases), eDiscovery-specific rules (updated with any change implemented), a glossary to smooth the general learning process and digests of eDiscovery case law.
Surprisingly, the checklists are one of the app's best selling points. Some checklists are nice to have but not terribly effective. eDiscovery Assistant’s are in-depth, informative, and extensive -- right down to the how-to specifics of telling a client to gather ESI for a case.
Lists are also customizable, according to user reviews. If you need details on every step from pre-litigation forward, eDiscovery Assistant can provide checklists with exhaustive precision. Or, it can create a grounding, higher-level outline with an overview of steps for those already versed in e-discovery.
E-Discovery Assistant™ also allows litigators to filter live social media posts using app-unique codes relating to ediscovery. This feature could save you massie amounts of time spent hunting for cases in jurisdictions across the U.S. or attempting to guess what keywords judges may have used in their decisions.
The app also comes loaded with a variety of templates addressing ediscovery issues and guidelines, like sample duty of preservation agreements and record retention policies. Whether you are first-time user or an experienced litigator familiar with the ropes, this application provides you the assistance you need.
Where do I start?
The initial download is just under $30, and it includes the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), multiple templates and checklists, over 40 key cases and complete access to the glossary, resources section and use of My Library and My Cases features. There are further options available for different levels of access.
And to keep up with changing case law and newly enacted or proposed rules, eDiscovery Assistant updates weekly.
According to a University of Southern California study, an estimated 295 billion gigabytes of data were in storage globally in 2011. Researchers estimated that figure would increase by 23 percent each year, indefinitely.
The scale of ESI's takeover is staggering, and it is crucial for attorneys to manage the ediscovery process. Curated by litigation attorneys, the information in this application short-circuits the usually difficult learning curve associated with ediscovery software.
It may be just the right fit for your law firm.
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