eDiscovery Levels Playing Field for MDL and Class Action Plaintiffs
Electronic discovery, also known as eDiscovery, replaces the discovery exchange of paper documents to that of electronically stored information (ESI). The eDiscovery process involves targeting, finding and securing electronic data, thereby making relevant documents readily available for attorney review.
In this digital age, eDiscovery has become the rule, not the exception. And this is a very good thing! The days of having to physically sift through mountainous piles of paperwork with highlighter in hand are over. Now, some plaintiffs’ attorneys, particularly those involved in multidistrict litigation (MDL) and class action lawsuits are turning to eDiscovery experts to expedite the document review process. These experts can quickly and efficiently locate information that is crucial to the plaintiffs’ objectives, significantly cutting down on the time and cost involved with high-volume document review projects.
Many corporate defense firms have dedicated eDiscovery Counsel (eCounsel), database experts, IT professionals and artificial intelligence (AI) tools specifically designed to aid in their end of the defense production process. Most plaintiff firms, however, do not have the resources for in-house experts or for these types of advanced analytic tools. That is where a plaintiff eDiscovery firm comes into play. Outsourcing for these advanced services offers plaintiff firms access to cutting-edge technologies and people to assist with all aspects of electronic discovery, including eCounsel support, AI based issue coding and review, foreign language document production and e-translation, computer forensics, plaintiff ESI production and discovery case management.
In most cases, less than 10 percent of defendant-produced data is relevant to the plaintiffs’ objectives. In the past, getting to that 10 percent could take months or even years, because plaintiffs’ counsel had to pore through each and every document to find the relevant information. Electronic document discovery streamlines the review process into mere weeks. Cutting-edge artificial intelligence quickly finds the data that is important to the case. With eDiscovery, it doesn’t matter how many documents the defense team turns over —counsel can now get to the information they need faster than ever before. This levels the playing field between smaller plaintiff firms and mega defense firms, making the size of the firm a nonfactor in class action and MDL lawsuits.
Using a plaintiff electronic discovery firm with eCounsel services will help plaintiffs understand the necessary ESI protocols to obtain important evidence. eCounsel services will also help plaintiffs overcome defense-side resistance to turning over documents in specific and necessary electronic formats. Legal and IT specialists work closely with clients to overcome claims that their discovery requests are burdensome, unnecessary or impractical, thus ensuring they get the information they need in the specific electronic format they are entitled to receive it in.