June 26, 2018 Articles

Making Sense of the ESI Madness

Instead of combing through physical files and making copies for discovery, lawyers nowadays review ESI.

By Samuel T. Smith and Chelsea J. Glynn

The dramatic increase in email communication has created an exponential rise in the amount of electronically stored information (ESI). Nevertheless, in the discovery context, parties still have an obligation to search for and produce all responsive documents pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26 and 34. This means that instead of combing through physical files and making copies, lawyers nowadays review ESI. This change brings good and bad news. The bad news is that lawyers and technology don’t usually mix. The good news is that effectively using electronic search terms means instant results and less manual sorting and reviewing of physical files. Because ESI can be a complicated undertaking during an already stressful litigation process, understanding the ESI systems and formulating a plan early on can make for a much smoother discovery process.

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