In our last post, we told you why you shouldn’t collect your own email for discovery purposes. In this post, let’s talk about the advantages of having a forensic collection and discovery expert to conduct collection of email and other electronic evidence for you.

“…the custodian has an online meeting with one of our expert staff where they provide us access to their account through granted permitted access – not by providing their credentials to our team.

Advantages of Using a Forensic Expert for Evidence Collections

There are several advantages to having a forensic expert conduct collection of email and other electronic evidence, especially when that forensic expert can support you through the entire discovery life cycle of the case. Here are just a few advantages to using a forensic expert for evidence collections:

  • Provide up-front consultation to develop a customized plan for collection for each case: Forensic experts can assist at the beginning of the case to provide guidance in scoping the collection effort to support the needs of the case and minimize the burden to you.

  • Ensure data authenticity and admissibility: As we discussed in our post about metadata, handling collections improperly can result in loss of metadata, putting the entire authenticity of the evidence in question. Forensic experts ensure the data is collected in a forensically sound manner, preserving all metadata.

  • Chain of custody documentation: Another benefit of collection performed by a forensic collection expert is that the chain of custody is tracked and documented from collection through the entire discovery life cycle.

  • Expertise leads to collections conducted quickly: Because they’ve done it so many times and understand the steps, forensic experts can conduct the collection quickly, as opposed to having someone else “figure it out”.

  • Comprehensive collection process: Forensic experts know where to look for potentially responsive evidence that others might miss, such as individual Outlook PST or MSG files on a local hard drive.

  • Forensic experts can provide testimony: Because they ensure data is collected in a forensically sound manner, forensic experts can (and often) provide testimony to that, if needed, eliminating questions about the collection process in court.

  • Reduction of the collection before review: A forensic expert who also provides discovery services can apply mechanisms to reduce the data collection before review, including de-nisting, deduplication, filtering of clearly non-responsive email domains and application of search terms.

  • Setup of review sets: A forensic expert who also provides discovery services (including hosting services) can load the data into the review platform and even create review sets to support attorney reviews for responsiveness, privilege, issue coding, etc.

  • Production Support: Once responsive, non-privileged evidence has been identified during review, a forensic expert who also provides discovery services can generate the production set according to the parameters of the agreed-upon ESI protocol.

Five Easy Steps to Collection, Review and Production

There are several advantages to having a forensic expert conduct collection of email and other electronic evidence, especially when that forensic expert can support you through the entire discovery life cycle of the case. Here are just a few advantages to using a forensic expert for evidence collections:

  • Online meeting and account access: the custodian has an online meeting with one of our expert staff where they provide us access to their account through granted permitted access – not by providing their credentials to our team.

  • Targeting files for collection: Emails and other evidence files are targeted by the forensic email examiner for collection either by all emails, by date range, or by label and/or folder.

  • Conducting collection and tracking results: Emails and other evidence files are collected and a collection log is generated that details what was collected, how it was collected and if there were any errors.

  • Preparation for review: Once the files are collected, the forensic and discovery expert proceeds to load the files into a review platform, apply filtering to remove duplicates and clearly non-responsive files, apply search terms as discussed with counsel and prepare review sets to enable the review team to begin review of potentially responsive files.

  • Produce responsive ESI: Once review is complete, the forensic and discovery expert can prepare the production sets for inspection by counsel and even support transmission of the production in a variety of delivery mechanisms (e.g., secured hard drive, secured FTP transmission) once the set is approved to be produced.

Conclusion

The advantages of using a forensic expert for collections who also provides discovery services not only provides several advantages over self-collection of email and other electronic evidence, but it also streamlines the entire discovery process in a straightforward and defensible manner.

For more information about Forensic Discovery’s Computer Forensics services, click here.

Published On: May 19th, 2021 / Categories: eDiscovery, Image and Collection /

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