By Helen Geib, QDiscovery
Preservation in eDiscovery is at the intersection of law, technology and strategy. It must fulfill the party’s legal duty. It should be technologically feasible and cost-effective. And it offers the best return on investment when it is treated as part of – not apart from – the litigation plan.
Parties to a dispute have a legal duty to preserve relevant information. The duty attaches when litigation is known or reasonably anticipated. Preservation applies to file content and metadata. The legal duty extends to physical evidence and paper files as well as electronically stored information (ESI), but ESI rightfully gets the lion’s share of the attention. Electronic data is both far more voluminous and far more challenging.
As a precursor step, the identification process is used to determine what ESI needs to be preserved. (Read my three-part series blog series on identification, beginning with this overview of the purpose and process of identification.) The question at the preservation stage is how to ensure that relevant data is not lost, destroyed or altered.
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