When managing the legal discovery process in preparation for litigation, one must be aware of the growing use of alternative workplace communication tools. E-discovery and document review would be simpler if every document was in PDF format, or was from well-known word processing software such as Word, or used a standard email file type. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. The reality is that alternative workplace communication and networking tools are continuing to grow in popularity, which has led to a corresponding growth in the complexity of electronic discovery.
Cloud-based instant messaging, group chat, and collaboration tools like Slack, WeChat Work, Wrike, Spark, Skype for Business, and others help foster internal communication and expedite organizational workflow. Collaboration software makes it easy for people to share links, documents, and other file types, and to discuss what they are sharing. In organizations where these cloud-based solutions are routinely used, the software can produce large amounts of data.
People increasingly use social networking platforms for personal communication, and similar types of workplace communication are a natural extension of that communication trend. These alternative methods of communication can benefit organizations. However, these tools also pose challenges for legal teams, especially when legal or compliance departments need access to review documents and messages at a later date. During legal discovery, it’s not always as simple as pulling an individual file for document review. Because of the nature of collaboration software, one thread or entry may include numerous versions of files and records, with comments and annotations from multiple sources. And the data may be stored with the company providing the communication tool, instead of on the company’s own servers.
Ultimately, firms handling discovery should not overlook cloud-based collaboration tools as potential data sources. Experienced e-discovery service providers can assist organizations in identifying, collecting, preserving, and reviewing alternative document types and collaboration software data.
Baer Reed provides document review and other LPO services for law firms and corporate legal departments. To learn more, contact us today.
- On September 3, 2019
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