ESI, Electronic Discovery and Computer Forensics


Once a Litigation Hold has been issued, both parties in a legal matter or investigation are, of course, prohibited from destroying any documents or electronically stored information (ESI) that might be pertinent to the matter at hand. Still, ESI does have an uncanny knack for disappearing. It isn’t always a deliberate attempt to destroy evidence; it could be as simple as someone deleting an email or text message that seems irrelevant to the case. Whatever the motivation, it can actually be surprisingly difficult to permanently destroy ESI, at least without a trace — thanks to computer forensics.

Computer forensics includes the practice of identifying and collecting electronically stored information in a way that is legally defensible. Computer forensics is an essential part of electronic discovery (e-discovery) that allows us to trace all types of ESI — even information that has been deleted.

Even after someone has deleted or hidden ESI such as computer files, emails, text messages, voicemails or social media posts, these pieces of information can often be recovered through computer forensics. At a minimum, computer forensics can often determine what was deleted, when it was deleted and by whom. Whether you simply need to find all of the e-discovery materials applicable to the case or investigation or you suspect that the opposing party may be withholding discovery materials, the team at Precision Discovery is here to help.

When it comes to e-discovery and the collection of ESI, perhaps the most crucial factor is that any evidence collected must be relevant and defensibly collected. And, of course, a computer forensics examiner can help identify data sources and to leave no stone unturned. As a result, our computer forensics team can help you evaluate your data landscape and then collaboratively determine with you which data sources to collect. This can include searching through hard drives, servers, backups, robotic storage systems, mobile devices, tablets, Cloud sources, and even data from GPS systems and vehicle computers. During this process, we can also search for any hidden or “missing” data, and evidence of any data that has been deleted or copied to external drives or cloud-based services.

Computer forensics is more than simply sorting through a few emails or memos; it is a branch of forensic science whereby the laws of the United States are applied to computer science and the acquisition of electronic data. We use highly sophisticated tools and methodologies to collect electronically store information and evidence pertinent to your case or investigation.

Hiring computer forensics experts is essential in order to ensure that all of your electronically stored information is collected and preserved properly. Additionally, you need experts who can evaluate all of this data and determine which items are necessary for a case or investigation. At Precision Discovery, our teams include computer forensics experts and IT specialists as well as expert litigators. All of our experts can testify in court or at depositions as expert witnesses if needed, and each holds a wide variety of certifications, including ACE, EnCe, GCFE, GCFA, CCLO and CCPA.

Computer forensics is needed for a wide variety of legal matters as well as internal corporate investigations. When intellectual property theft occurs or perhaps a company has employee harassment issues or any type of white-collar criminal matters, computer forensics can be used to document the evidence of malfeasance or theft. Additionally, the experts at Precision Discovery can evaluate IT systems and help you assess risk and improve security in general.

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Kinny Chan, VP, Consulting Services

Kinny Chan is the lead eDiscovery Consultant for Precision Discovery. He enjoys taking complex challenges and explaining them in simple and understandable terms. He is inspired by the intersection between technology, business and the law.

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