What is Electronic Disclosure?
Electronic disclosure, or e-disclosure, is the process of compiling, storing and securing digital information for evidence in a lawsuit or legal investigation and showing (disclosing) this information to a defendant so that they are aware of the evidence against them before trial. While disclosure once focused primarily on paper documents scanned into PDFs, this area has now expanded to include other areas such as email, social media, instant messages, texts, voicemail, e-calendars and even embedded graphics.
With the explosive proliferation of smartphones and social media, many law firms and legal departments may struggle to find the best way for document capture and management of so many potential sources of information. Yet failure is not an option, especially when you consider that any of these assets could mean the difference between failure and success in litigation or legal proceedings. All of this means law firms or organisations must implement effective strategies for how they capture, retain and manage digital information.
The implementation of new technologies makes e-disclosure challenging. For example, employees’ increasing adoption of social workplace platforms such as Microsoft Teams, and the ubiquity of texting have led to exponential growth of digital information. Not only do law firms and legal departments need to factor this into their e-disclosure plans, but they also need to make sure they’re compliant with regulations.
With so many new types of digital content to manage, what can today’s law firms do to best create and manage their e-disclosure processes?
Support legal workflows with existing solutions
First, they can look to extend existing business processes to an increasingly mobile workforce and make sure they are intuitive, easy, and secure. For example, document management systems can make it easy for lawyers, paralegals or other employees to produce requested information quickly and make it available for fair use. These systems can integrate digital assets into the firm’s workflows, enabling functionality such as full-page indexing for easier access to critical information.
Additionally, digital content and critical documentation can be accessed “on-the-go” by employees out of the office. For example, employees can retrieve critical documents and electronic files from the cloud using mobile document capture solutions. They can even print them securely to make sure confidential and sensitive information is protected at all times.
As a result, lawyers can be confident that they are fully informed about their case while the overall organisation can rest assured it’s effectively managing all types of digital assets into its e-disclosure process.