Proper preparation and documentation during the Rule 26(f) meet and confer process is crucial for ensuring an efficient discovery phase of your litigation. Follow this checklist to get on the right track for a successful conference.
1. Define relevant custodians, i.e. determine who has access to discoverable information
2. Determine what types of discoverable information are available in:
- Local computers/hard drives
- Cloud storage and remote servers
- Billing, purchasing, and/or invoicing software
- Social media, websites, and/or mobile devices
3. Investigate and understand your client’s IT structure:
- Email set-up (Outlook, Gmail, Office 365, etc)
- Be aware of any data retention policy that is in place
4. Set up a 30 (b)(6) deposition for the opposing party’s IT manager to learn about their email setup and data retention policy.
5. Draft a preservation request defining at least the minimum scope of relevant information.
6. Define what is privileged and confidential in your data, and negotiate terms for a clawback agreement in the event privileged material is inadvertently produced. (Rule 502)
7. Agree on metadata fields to be produced in the load file. (Click here to view Nextpoint’s Production Specifications)
8. Determine if you want to include native (original) files such as spreadsheets, databases, and audio/video files in the production, or if images of these files will be sufficient. (Native files may add context that can be useful to an argument, but reviewing them is less straightforward and may drive up costs.)
9. Begin compiling a list of keyword search terms and date ranges, that may produce relevant data. Successfully arguing for a reduced scope of review can have a huge impact on final cost.
10. Determine format of delivery. (Nextpoint electronic exchange? CD/DVD? Hard drive? FTP?)