In the legal world, it has been the traditional paper-based approach used to conduct and further pursue legal findings.  But given the way the world is now in terms of a virtual sense, making use of paper documentation is no longer a choice.

It can be costly to send paperwork to different parties, there is no guarantee in its integrity as it is being shipped, and then there is the administrative nightmare of parsing through all of them to find what is needed.

Thus, the legal community has now adopted a newer framework called “eDiscovery.” This concept can be defined as follows:

“[It] is the electronic aspect of hunting for electronically stored information in case of a lawsuit or investigation. It also relates to legislation which regulates this aspect.”

(SOURCE:  1).

Office 365 includes an upgraded eDiscovery tool, known as the “Advanced eDiscovery Solution,” which capitalizes on the strengths and advantages in the existing core (legacy)  eDiscovery Platform.

What It Is All About

It should be noted that the Advanced eDiscovery tool from Microsoft is designed with what is known as the “Electronic Discovery Reference Model,” or the EDRM for short.  Essentially, this is a framework that provides for a listing of the best practices and standards that should be used in an eDiscovery process, no matter what the legal case or proceeding might be.

An illustration of this can be seen below:

(SOURCE:  2).

The Advanced eDiscovery solution from Microsoft works closely with the EDRM in the following ways:

1. Identification of witnesses:

As the legal case or proceeding is further unraveling, there could be more witnesses that are involved, in which their testimony will need to be documented and/or recorded.  They are known as “Data Custodians,” and they can be added at any time in this process with Advanced eDiscovery.

2. Preservation of data:

As the lawyers are combing through the evidence and find something particular of interest, there is a mechanism in Advanced eDiscovery that allows you to put a legal hold on these pieces of evidence as they are further examined.  You can also send out automated notifications to other parties that have placed legal holds reminding them to release the information/data once their review time has been reached.

3. Collection of evidence:

You can use the advanced functionalities to search for and examine any type or kind of live evidence collected in the eDiscovery process.  You can also create customized keywords and conditions to find those other pieces of evidence (especially that of Emails) that are also relevant. Multiple search strings can also be made that can run simultaneously with each other.

4. Processing of information:

Once all of the information has been collected from the Data Custodians and other witnesses, it can be placed into an Azure-based storage location (this is known as the “Review Set”).  The primary advantage of this is that the needed information can be called up quickly and efficiently, with pre-established queries that you can use.

5. Review of the Electronic Documentation:

With the Advanced eDiscovery, specific documentation areas can be further tagged and annotated as areas of further interest in a legal proceeding or case.

6. Analysis of the data:

With the advanced set of analytical tools available in Advanced eDiscovery, the legal team can quickly determine which pieces or sets of information and data are relevant and/or irrelevant to a specific situation.

7. Presentation of documentation:

Once you near the end of the last step, Advanced eDiscovery will allow the legal team to export the electronic documents into a specified format by the EDRM framework so that it will be interoperable with any other third-party application.

Other Sophisticated Functionalities

There are other robust features of Advanced eDiscovery that are also available to help in the legal process, and they are as follows:

  • Job Management: If a proceeding or case is going on for much longer than expected, you can easily manage the legal team’s workflows so that things will get done more expediently.
  • Case Configurations: Large cases can be quickly configured by making doing the following:
    • Adding/deleting attorneys or other legal personnel
    • The automatic closing and/or deletion of a case at a subsequent point in time;
    • The custom creation of other relevant search and information/data analytics settings, including reindexing categorization.  Advanced Indexing is also available to sift through images and other file types that may not be traditionally supported.

 The Licensing

To acquire the Advanced eDiscovery from Microsoft, you will need to have an M365 E5 Enterprise Subscription.

Conclusions

More detailed information about the other functionalities of Advanced eDiscovery can be seen here.  If you need to acquire and deploy this solution, contact us today.

Sources