In this episode of The eDiscovery Trenches, ESI Survival Guide’s Jeff Salling interviews Charmala Anderson, a paralegal with Horwood, Marcus & Berk’s Litigation and State and Local Tax (SALT) Groups. Charmala provides some key tips for how paralegals on the front lines of litigation can ensure that case teams and clients benefit from more efficient, defensible eDiscovery processes.
Survival Tips for paralegals engaged in eDiscovery:
1. The first thing to do when a matter begins is to form your team and draw out your “data map.” Understanding the location of potentially relevant data is a key preliminary discussion that a paralegal must have with the case team attorneys and the client. This conversation helps give you the “roadmap to know where to go with [your] case.”
2. It is imperative for the paralegal to help keep the team’s collective eye on satisfying the preservation obligations and retain all documents that could be responsive to a given matter. Client’s are often focused on the bottom line and attorneys on case strategy at the outset of a matter. A paralegal plays a critical role in making sure that all steps are taken to ensure a defensible preservation process.
3. Notifying records custodians is a key element to ensure process defensibility during preservations efforts. Make sure you document such notification efforts in case you have to defend preservation efforts to the court or opposing parties.
4. Even if paralegals or eDiscovery consultants are not part of the actual meet-and-conferences, it is important to, at a minimum, have phone conversations with any outside consultants that include your paralegal(s). Paralegals often act as the internal point-person between a case team, any outsides consultants and, in many cases, the client.
5. Though case teams need to be flexible to adapt to a case throughout the eDiscovery process, it is imperative to start on the same page. Having a documented roadmap can help facilitate that consensus, which, ultimately, will help a case team control client expenditures, set reasonable expectations regarding eDiscovery and help clearly define the roles of team members during the litigation process.