The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

E-Discovery seminar promotes the importance of cooperation and proportionality

September 7th, 2012

The importance of proportionality and cooperation were key messages to come from the Auckland District Law Society’s seminar on E-Discovery which I spoke at last week. Joining me as speakers at the seminar were Judge David Harvey and Kiri Harkess from McElroys.

The seminar was designed to look at the basics of E-Discovery, but also an opportunity for practitioners to raise any queries they have had with the E-Discovery since the new discovery rules commenced in February this year.

In addition to promoting the importance of proportionality and parties cooperating on all aspects of the discovery process, some further themes from the seminar were –

The importance of native file production – To achieve greater efficiencies with e-discovery, parties should look to exchange information in native electronic format whenever it is possible.

Move away from scanned paper – If firms are continuing to deal with paper, then requiring to scan and code documents then discovery will still be a costly and time consuming process.

Cooperation is an ongoing obligation – The obligation to cooperate does not end as soon as the discovery order has been agreed. Parties need to ensure they cooperate early enough in the proceeding and then continue to discuss the practical arrangements of the discovery exercise. 

No one size fits all approach – It is important to come up with a method to identify, review and produce information that is specific to the individual matter.

But I’m a small firm with small matters

Too often I hear that I am not a big firm, or we do not have large matters so what do we do ? The Court rules are the same whoever you are, regardless of how many employees you have. Do not think, just because you are a small firm, or only deal in small volume matters there is no option for you. Since the seminar I have fielded many queries along the lines of what ediscovery software is around that can assist firms that primarily deal with small volumes of documents.

There are many e-discovery software options available – it is just a matter of finding the right software to suit your individual requirements.  Gone are the days that firms had to make an expensive capital investment, as there are many options available that can start from as low as a few dollars per month. Software is available that can suit all matters, obviously it depends on what you are looking to achieve. If you have to trawl and cull through large volumes of electronic information then some of the more sophisticated options will be more beneficial.

Deploying suitable technology can give smaller firms the ability to more effectively compete with larger firms that may have more resources at their disposal.

Obviously finding the right solution to suit firms requirements, does take a bit of thought to get the most suitable solution. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, it is important to find the best solution to suit your specific requirements. To effectively do this independent advice about the e-discovery options available can be invaluable.


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