Have you heard of Hawa v. Coatesville Area School District? This court case involves a claim of racial discrimination by members of a school district against another employee. The case is ongoing, but the judge just handed down a decision that can teach many companies and law firms a valuable lesson about ESI (electronically stored information).
In this case, the school district made a motion to shift costs for retrieving information requested by the plaintiffs. As it turns out, the school district had used proprietary software to store its electronic information using images. This made the information hard to search, and retrieval costs were an estimated $15,000 to $20,000.
The judge denied the motion, citing the school district’s lack of foresight. Keeping a database of electronic information means nothing if you cannot easily search that data. Convincing your clients of this is an important principle that will save them money and your law firm headaches.
Check with your clients to see what software platforms they are using to keep track of their ESI. Are these platforms easy to search? Are they compatible with formats commonly used by courts? If not, it may be a good idea to recommend they switch platforms. It’ll be cheaper now than it will be after a preservation letter comes. Another method that can help your clients is asking them to make a data map. These maps help track at what points data is generated by a client and can help them track down requested information faster and at a lower cost.
These tips will not only help your clients, they will also help your law firm. Having systems that are compatible with courts and knowing where your firm’s data is stored is an invaluable tool for legal practices too. Data management is also one of the legal tech solutions provided by the IT professionals at Exactify.IT. Feel free to send us a message to see what we can do to help improve the way your firm handles its electronic information.