With today’s prevalence of electronic documents, e-discovery is easily the largest single line item in any company’s litigation budget. It can often consume more than half the allotted funds and even exceed the actual dollar amount at issue in the dispute. Ironically, since more than 90 percent of all cases filed eventually settle, the budget for e-discovery can often approach 100 percent of the cost of a litigated matter.
With so much money at stake, the role of technical experts to guide parties through the e-discovery process is becoming more and more essential. The e-discovery liaison can play a significant role in helping parties and their counsel navigate a process that is often at odds with the typical adversarial system of litigation. Due to the unique quality of information that is contained in electronic form, transparency in the process of preservation, collection, processing, review and production is critical. That means that planning is critical and requires a high degree of cooperation among all parties, which is more easily facilitated by a technical expert.
The value of an e-discovery liaison is evident from the very first meeting between parties and counsel on discovery issues. Whether that meeting is the Rule 26 (f) meet-and-confer or its state law equivalent, it is likely the most critical event in the discovery process and should be approached with careful planning.
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