knowledge | 10 March 2021 |

Five Reasons to Engage with us Early on Discovery

Discovery in Ireland can be protracted, from scoping and collecting the right data, to review and production.  Early engagement with your lawyers to preserve, scope and collect relevant data before the clock starts ticking for that looming discovery deadline can reduce costs and make the process less painful for your organisation.

Here are five reasons to engage with us early on discovery.

1.  Data Preservation

Speak to your lawyer about document preservation as soon as litigation is likely to make sure you comply with the duty not to destroy potentially relevant documents.  Issue a ‘legal hold’ notice to everyone who might have relevant information.  Keep everything, because social media, text messages and voice messages may be relevant and can sometimes be overlooked.

2.  Deep Dive

We help you do a ‘deep dive’ of your data sources and prepare a robust data map.  Speaking to the right people in the organisation to find out where information is held is key to ensuring you can meet your discovery obligations.  This may involve input from internal IT personnel and any third party service providers where IT services are outsourced to understand how and where data is stored, and how best to search for it.  Don’t underestimate how long this might take, particularly if the systems used are bespoke to your industry.

The dramatic increase in mobile data and social media for business communications caused by remote working has led to us dealing with new types of data.  You might need input from expert e-discovery service providers.

3.  Identify Custodians

A custodian is anyone who holds potentially relevant information.  Early engagement helps you work out who does and does not have potentially relevant material.  Bespoke custodian questionnaires and custodian interviews are useful scoping tools but the process can take time, particularly where the custodian list is extensive and busy diaries can make the scheduling of interviews a challenging task.

4.  Informed Negotiations

Having a comprehensive data map in place and understanding the nature and number of documents held will really help your legal team to negotiate the scope of the discovery your organisation has to make.

5.  Getting on with the Review

Completing the scoping and collections before discovery categories are agreed or ordered can help reduce the lead in time for the review phase.  Having new data added during the review will increase cost and lead to delays, so making sure the collections are completed before the review starts can alleviate some of the pressure to meet a court ordered deadline.

Understanding your organisation’s data not only provides invaluable information for assessing your case but also allows for a more comprehensive briefing for the discovery review team, which reduces the overall review time and cost.

Changes ahead – Report on the Review of the Administration of Civil Justice

The report on the Review of the Administration of Civil Justice in Ireland, which was published in October 2020, recommends that parties be required to produce documents after the initial pleadings have been produced.

If this change comes into effect, early engagement will be essential to comply with the new production requirements and is therefore likely to be a feature of Irish litigation in future.  Now is the time to get ahead of the curve and engage with us early where litigation is contemplated or is in the early stages of proceedings.

Our Project Services Team has extensive experience in advising clients on data preservation, scoping and collections. Let us know how we can help. Alternatively, your usual contact at McCann FitzGerald will be happy to assist.

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