eDiscovery - RVM Enterprises, Inc.

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It Pays to Use Formal Discovery

Preparing for litigation comes with a mountain of expenses and challenges —much of which are attributable to discovery. And, as data volumes grow, so too, do those discovery costs. Unfortunately, eDiscovery is often misunderstood by clients and rationalized to be more complicated than it needs to be.

In an effort to contain the rising tide of costs and perceived complexity, some litigants are undertaking “informal discovery” — a process that on its face seems like a cost-effective and ideal option. It allows for the exchange of key documents without the burden of production format, custodian tracking or consideration for defensibility. In a common scenario the client will comb through their own inbox and send the relevant emails to counsel.

Sounds like a good deal, right?

“Clients don’t like the idea of paying money for things that they believe they can do themselves,” says Greg Cancilla, Director of Forensics at RVM Enterprises. “Collecting data can seem more like a job for an intern than an eDiscovery and legal forensics firm.”

Although it might seem like a cost-effective approach, parties that engage this way may be in for trouble.

The Trouble with Informal Discovery

Common Missteps in Informal Discovery
Self-selection of relevant documents
Self-collection of ESI
Emailing documents to counsel as attachments
Copying and pasting files to external media or an FTP site
Producing ESI by a) printing to hard copy or b) converting the files to .pdf
Bates numbering documents individually

A major concern with informal discovery is the risk exposure regarding authentication of evidence and the potential extra time and costs one might incur to correct the collection of data.  While eDiscovery providers have developed systems and technologies that enable them to work quickly and efficiently in an appropriate review environment, an informal approach does not offer those advantages. eDiscovery providers take the appropriate time and use the correct processes to collect data so that it can be done once, efficiently, and defensibly. With informal discovery, if further searches are warranted, the entire process may need to be repeated, adding undesirable costs and time.

Another issue is the likelihood of altering metadata. By using the “copy and paste” — or “foldering” —approach to data collection, you run the risk of modifying key dates such as last opened, last modified, etc. This can make authentication problematic, and makes it harder to sort and de-dupe files that have been modified, again adding to cost.

The most important shortcoming of the informal method is the unnecessary risk of misstating the scope of the production of electronically stored information (ESI). (Applied Underwriters, Inc. v. American Employer Group). In some circumstances, courts have held that self-identification and collection may not even be defensible.

According to Cancilla, “Self-collection puts all the responsibility on the custodian to determine what ESI is relevant. Foldering in particular can be troubling, as even well-intentioned clients may simply not realize that certain sources, a sent mail box for example, need to be included in the folder to be produced.”  In today’s age of electronic information, it is important to note that relevant information is not just the substance of the document, but also the metadata — or surrounding information — of the document.  FRCP Rule 34(b)(2)(E) advises that a party must produce documents “as they are kept in the usual course of business” or must “organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the request.”  “Informal Discovery” adversely impacts that instruction.

Changes on the Horizon

Two proposed amendments to Federal Rule of Evidence 902 are set to take effect on December 1, 2017 that will significantly affect the collection of ESI and its admissibility. In addition to providing a structure for standardizing ESI collection, these amendments, 902(13) and 902(14) demand a stricter, more organized method of collection that is outside the scope of informal eDiscovery. Where the current version of Rule 902 allows for self-authentication of certain types of documents, the new additions allow for authentication of electronic evidence by an affidavit of a “qualified person” who can certify in writing that the document was obtained with the requirements of Rule 902(11) and (12).

“The new rules are changing everything,” continues Cancilla. “It doesn’t make any attempt to disincentivize self-collecting, but by making ESI gained through formal discovery ‘self-authenticating,’ the advantages are well worth any cost to work with the professionals.”

The new rules cover records that can be authenticated using a document’s hash values, which are assumed to be unique. For purposes of authentication, hash values are the backbone of the proof that Rule 902 requires, but not the only allowable method. As the Advisory Committee on Evidence notes, “[t]he rule is flexible enough to allow certifications through processes other than comparison of hash value, including by other reliable means of identification provided by future technology.”

As December draws closer, parties must consider the implications of these rule changes and how they may affect authentication in upcoming trials. If they wish to take advantage of the new rules they must be prepared to track digital fingerprints on any new collection. If they don’t, they stand to spend more time and money authenticating their documents, including having their own in-house IT and network administration staff called to testify.

Says Cancilla, “Using the informal method of discovery is like driving with too little insurance: you’ll save money for a while, but if anything bad happens, you could wind up paying for it. Companies should remember that a well-documented and formalized data collection process is a small investment relative to the overall eDiscovery spend, but can significantly affect accuracy and defensibility.”

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Greg Cancilla, EnCE, ACE is a Certified Computer Forensic Engineer and the Director of Forensics at RVM. He has performed countless digital forensics investigations since entering the field in 2003. Additionally, Greg has offered testimony in numerous cases, including presenting a key piece of evidence in Ronald Luri v. Republic Services, Inc., et al., which rendered the largest verdict in the State of Ohio’s history.

4 Questions About Media Preservation & Restoration

Last month RVM announced that it had acquired The Oliver Group – experts in collecting and preserving data stored on tape and other offline media.

Anyone involved in litigation discovery and collection understands the critical nature of electronic data. Long gone are the days of collecting paper from centralized file cabinets. Instead, companies are challenged with collecting data from multiple sources, such as email, hard drives, file shares, cell phones, social media, and older media including backup tapes. At times these backup tapes and offline media, often found tucked away in storage closets, can be the most burdensome and expensive to collect and process.

Unfortunately, with so much attention on cloud solutions (e.g., SAN and NAS storage, and other easy data storage options) there just aren’t as many companies capable of handling this kind of data properly. However, collection and authentication of offline files in a defensible manner is just as critical as for their digital brethren.

That’s where RVM and The Oliver Group come in. To learn more about the acquisition and why it’s such a game changer, we spoke to Chief Operations Officer, Sean King.

 

Sean KingWhat was the impetus for this acquisition?

RVM was interested in meeting its clients’ needs by becoming a one-stop shop for forensics, media restoration, and eDiscovery services. We saw The Oliver Group and the services they offer as a great partner that is very well-known and respected among clients and competition in the industry.

How will media preservation/restoration be folded into the work that RVM currently does?

Media preservation and restoration are a natural extension of RVM’s services. We’ve actually had a long working relationship with The Oliver Group, so we’re familiar with them and how they work. Our goal has always been to manage our clients’ eDiscovery needs – from data collection through document review and production – and this acquisition makes that possible in such a way that clients benefit with a streamlined process and lower costs.

With so many tech and media companies in the market what makes The Oliver Group’s work special?

The Oliver Group is one of the select few companies that understands media and its application to legal discovery requirements. RVM and The Oliver Group are both focused intently on the defensibility of the data that are collected – that means having policies that indicate compliance with a comprehensive audit trail and chain of custody. We have to be able to track the movement, access, and location of the data in question throughout the life of the evidence, and that is not something that a commercial media firm is equipped to do.

What do you see as the long-term future of media preservation/restoration?

There will always be a need for media preservation and restoration as companies respond to disaster recovery, compliance requirements, and litigation needs. Data management continues to evolve, and being able to support all storage mediums is a requirement for service providers looking to offer clients a cost-effective and defensible offering.

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Keeping in Step with eDiscovery

Like many people, I am obsessed with my fitness tracker.

Not only do I participate in weekly challenges with friends and strangers alike to see who takes the most steps per day, but I also rely on the heart rate monitor to initiate breathing exercises in order to alleviate stressful situations (hello airplane turbulence!). And, while my collection of non-smart watches gathers dust in the dresser, I’ve added classier bands to accessorize my tracker. Through a smartphone app I can generate a report on how many miles I’ve walked, stairs I’ve climbed, calories I’ve burned and when I’m active or inactive. And for those who haven’t hopped on the fitness band-wagon, the handy iPhone can often collect all the same data as a wearable.

smart watch

The Gartner research company forecasted earlier this year that “8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.”  That’s a lot of information!

So what’s the takeaway from this story? Evidence.

Since the advent of email, litigators have been required to think literally out of the box for discoverable evidence. And, as technology advances, attorneys are increasingly expected to be “sufficiently versed in matters relating to their clients’ technological systems to discuss competently all issues relating to electronic discovery.” Gone are the days when a simple forensic collection of email and loose files from the company network were sufficient.

In 2014 a Canadian law firm set a legal precedent in a personal injury case by using data from a Fitbit fitness tracker to prove that their client suffered detrimental effects from an accident that resulted in decreased physical activity. In that case, the key data came from a Fitbit, but the same principles can apply to data from apps, social media accounts and more. Already criminal law practitioners are looking to use data from pacemakers, key fobs, interactive smart speakers and electronic personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. Connectivity is the new norm, and as a result lawyers have an ever-expanding pool of potentially relevant information to sift through.

Having an acute awareness of these new potential sources of electronically stored information (ESI) is only the first step in staying on top of your eDiscovery game. Amendments to Rule 902 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, set to take effect December 1, 2017, give preferential treatment to ESI “collected in a forensically sound manner,” which preserves the audit history and maintains a strict chain of custody. So resist the urge to have your client self-collect.

Going into the holiday season, amid the flood of advertisements for the latest gadgets and gizmos, keep in mind those very same devices could hold critical evidence for a future case!

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RVM to Participate in the 2017 NAMWOLF Annual Meeting & Law Firm Expo in September

In alignment with our dual passions for education and diversity, RVM is pleased to be a sponsor and CLE presenter at the 2017 NAMWOLF Annual Meeting & Law Firm Expo September 17-20, 2017 in New York City.  The National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms, founded in 2001, is committed to promoting diversity in the legal profession by fostering successful relationships among preeminent minority and women owned law firms and private/public entities.  The event is full of networking opportunities and continuing legal education sessions on provocative and poignant topics that face legal professionals today.

RVM’s Manager of Education & Development, Talia Page,  will be moderating an esteemed and diverse panel of attorneys from around the country on a topic entitled OMG, There’s Evidence in My Pocket!? How the Proliferation & Accessibility of Data Affects Discovery, & What You Need to Know about the New Federal Rules on Monday September 17th from 1:45pm-2:45pm.  In this session, we will address hot topics and trends in eDiscovery using recent case law to work through some of the challenging issues litigators face in the digital age in light of the new Federal Rules.  For more information on NAMWOLF and other CLE opportunities, visit www.namwolf.org.

Corporate Counsel Magazine Recognizes RVM as a Top Provider in Litigation Services

The votes are in, results counted and RVM Enterprises, Inc., a leader in the eDiscovery industry, takes the top spot in six of Corporate Counsel Magazine’s “Best of Corporate Counsel” annual supplement, it announced today.  RVM was recognized as a top service provider in nine categories across its service offerings in total.

Corporate Counsel Magazine Recognizes RVM as a Top Provider in Litigation Services

RVM took first place in the following categories:

  • Best End-to-End Litigation Consulting Firm,
  • Best Technology Assisted Review eDiscovery Solution,
  • Best Managed eDiscovery & Litigation Support Service Provider,
  • Best Data & Technology Management eDiscovery Provider,
  • Best Data Recovery Solution Provider,
  • Best Information Governance Solution.

It was also recognized in the areas of Expert Witness Provider, Managed Document Review Services, and End-to-End eDiscovery Provider. Voting was conducted via online ballot and was limited to those working within in-house corporate legal and compliance departments. In total, 1500 votes were cast. The results are published in Corporate Counsel’s special supplement, Best of Corporate Counsel.

“We are thrilled to be recognized in nine categories across the full range of RVM’s services. RVM is honored to have ranked first in six of those categories, and remains focused on enhancing and innovating our services,” said Vincent Brunetti, Chief Executive Officer of RVM Enterprises, Inc. “I am extremely proud that our clients, the readers of Corporate Counsel, have bestowed RVM with this honor.”

RVM Recognized Amongst The “20 Most Promising Legal Technology Solution Providers 2017” by CIO Review

RVM Recognized Amongst The “20 Most Promising Legal Technology Solution Providers 2017” by CIO Review

CIO Review Magazine released their Legal Technology special edition and have recognized RVM Enterprises, Inc. in an elite group of the 20 Most Promising Legal Technology Solution Providers 2017.

RVM’s Chief Technology Officer, Geoffrey Sherman, was interviewed in honor of the recognition and spoke about RVM, our products, and the eDiscovery landscape. As CTO, Geoffrey is committed to innovating the architecture, security, progression and maintenance of RVM’s corporate infrastructure. He leads a team of engineers and support administrators that serve RVM’s staff and clients.

“The eDiscovery ecosystem is transforming like never before. Technology-enabled eDiscovery solutions and tools are simplifying litigation processes and minimizing errors. However, with the profliferation of data, organizations are struggling to identify, collect and manage electronically stored information, impeding their ability to make informed decisions,” says Geoffrey Sherman.

Read more here.

RVM is proud to be recognized for our services and is committed to excellence for our customers.

 

 

RVM Announces Enterprise Release of the RVM Tracer

 

RVM Tracer LogoRVM Enterprises, Inc., a leader in the eDiscovery industry, today announced the launch of the Enterprise Edition of their signature product, RVM TracerTM. The Tracer is an early assessment solution used to quickly view any suspicious activity on a user’s computer. The RVM TracerTM doesn’t replace a full forensic investigation; but is an easy to use, cost effective first look at determining if there are red flags in a user’s history that would spark a full forensic investigation.

Since its introduction last year, the existing offering of TracerTM now being called Tracer Standard Edition has been used by clients worldwide to triage a user’s computer and determine whether there’s been any potential corporate intellectual property theft.

Based on the success of Tracer, large organizations have requested more control over the tool to generate reports immediately, retain all investigatory information locally, centralize collection information, and to provide a licensing model for enterprise use. As a result, RVM has simplified the challenges that large organizations face by allowing them the ability to manage investigations behind their firewall. RVM TracerTM Enterprise Edition provides enterprise reporting, collection device management, and introducing subscription based licensing.

“The release of the Enterprise Edition of RVM TracerTM will allow clients to have more control over their Tracer implementations. Clients will be able to quickly deploy Tracer and receive reports without any information ever leaving their organization,” said Greg Cancilla, RVM’s Director of Forensics and New York Law Journal’s four-time “Best Individual Expert Witness.”

The RVM TracerTM Enterprise and Standard Edition offerings is part of RVM’s commitment to bring innovative products and services to our clients in a continuous effort to better assist their business needs and interests.

In June 2016, RVM was awarded first place as the Best End-to-End eDiscovery Provider and Best End-to-End Litigation Consulting Provider in the inaugural Best of Corporate Counsel. In 2015, RVM was named Best End-to-End eDiscovery Provider by both the New York and New Jersey Law Journals

eDiscovery Technology Training for the Diverse Adult Learner

eDiscovery Technology Training for the Diverse Adult Learner

Being born in 1980, I’ve struggled with a bit of generational identity crisis. Growing up, I longed to be part of the Generation X that represented all of my tall-haired, effortlessly cool celebrity icons of the 80s. Alas, my year of birth fell right on the fence between Generation X’s punk rock cool and the technologically-obsessed, mistaken-as-entitled Millennials.

In the workplace, as Manager of Education and Development for RVM, I still find myself riding that line, at times struggling to reach and influence such a diverse community of clients and coworkers in my training programs. Depending on who you’re talking to, technology is seen as an exciting advantage over past methodologies or an intimidating but necessary evil. Especially in the realm of litigation support. Sometimes, a person’s take on technology is influenced by their generation and habits they’ve developed throughout their lives. However, the unavoidable truth is if you want to stay competent and competitive in litigation support, you’ve got to understand the applicable technology.

Best Practice

Full disclosure, I’ve studied Andragogy, which is the method and practice of teaching adults. What I’ve found to be most applicable to the challenge of training attorneys and litigation support staff in eDiscovery technology is the concept of Self-Directed Learning (SDL). To successfully incorporate SDL, an eDiscovery training program must:

  1. Meet the trainees where they are, respecting the extensive breadth of knowledge that each trainee brings to the table
  2. Include sufficient resources and support following training and
  3. Include an opportunity for trainees to evaluate and provide feedback on the training program.

Lawyers, Paralegals, and legal support staff are generally highly educated, hard-working, and successful individuals who have already established traditional ways of doing things such as legal research from books (gasp!) or paper document review (double gasp!!) which worked well for them in the past. There’s no doubt that technology has changed the legal industry, and continues to do so.

eDiscovery Technology Training for the Diverse Adult Learner

The Plan in Action

One way I gauge the temperature of my training audience is to send an information gathering survey in advance asking what they want to get out of the session, and what they absolutely don’t want to cover. This way, I can customize the content and not waste their valuable time covering topics they don’t need. For support and resources, we at RVM pride ourselves on the skill and responsiveness of our Client Services department, making ourselves available by phone and email to answer follow-up questions or provide troubleshooting on any of the applications we support. This helps minimize the frustration that typically comes with learning a new technology.

Finally, the most humbling component of this process, and arguably the most important is the evaluation process. I seek honest critical feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and what the trainees would like to change for future training programs. This gives my trainees an opportunity to contribute to future training success by sharing their feedback, perspectives, and experiences.

One Last Thing

eDiscovery technology is not going away, and in fact it is becoming more sophisticated. Legal professionals are staying in the workforce longer and as younger generations enter the industry, they strive to become contributing members of the team. Which means it becomes imperative that continuing education and training programs adapt to meet the needs of our varied and diverse adult workforce. In my opinion, there is no magical formula for successful eDiscovery training, but if I can at least convince my training resistant colleagues that it is a challenge worth tackling, I have won half the battle. I’d like to leave you with a quote from the education scholar, Deborah Meier “Teaching is listening. Learning is talking”.

RVM Offers Affordable Way To Simplify The Discovery Process: Eclipse

We’re proud to announce that RVM Enterprises, Inc. now offers Eclipse, the web-based review component on Ipro’s integrated workflow platform called Automated Digital Discovery (ADD). RVM will be employing Eclipse’s analytics capabilities, including Technology Assisted Review and ADD workers, for fully automated processing. By using the applications within the ADD platform, data can be automatically copied, processed, filtered and loaded into Eclipse to be reviewed quickly; providing fully interactive Early Case Assessment capability.RVM Eclipse

“By utilizing components of Ipro’s ADD platform with Eclipse, we can offer clients a more affordable way to process, track, review and produce evidence,” said Geoffrey Sherman, Chief Technology Officer of RVM.

“We are honored to be a part of the long-term growth strategy at RVM,” said Geoff Schmidt, Ipro’s Regional Vice President. “By leveraging the ADD platform, RVM will be able to simplify the discovery process while passing along savings to their customers.”

With our long history of serving a diverse clientele with expansive global operations and eDiscovery demands, RVM remains dedicated to innovation and addressing the ever-changing business models in today’s legal and corporate environments.