Information technology is an essential component of every lawyer’s practice and every client is dependent upon IT. It should not be a surprise that more than 95 percent of information is electronic. Consequently, nearly every lawsuit today has, and in the future will involve electronically stored information (also referred to as ESI).
Special Masters in E-Discovery
Over the past 20 years, I have served as a “special master” about IT and ESI, and my personal experience has been that the lawsuits become less complicated for the parties and the judge. As well, often times the mystery of ESI becomes clearer sooner and cases can be resolved less expensively. So when there are complex e-discovery issues to resolve in litigation, you want to keep costs down, and the judge does not have the IT expertise, you might request a special master who understands the law, evidence and IT. There are a number of excellent lawyers with this experience who can assist most any judge with perplexing ESI issues.
Selecting an E-Discovery Consultant
Since there is no licensing or certification in this area, the selection process for an e-discovery consultant can be confusing and complicated. The consultant you interview today may have been a plumber last month, but if that person can talk the talk and walk the walk, how can you tell the difference?
Verify the qualifications of an e-discovery consultant by asking for references — as many references as possible. Call and/or visit as many as possible and ask probing questions about the successes (or failures) and as much else as you can learn.