Background - Practices (Details)

E-Discovery & Information Management


Given the increasing risk and rising costs of litigation, a great command of e-discovery has never been more important to businesses. Crowell & Moring's E-Discovery & Information Management Group is at the cutting edge of this evolving discipline. We have substantial experience with the full range of issues businesses face when confronted with demands for the production of electronic information. We regularly counsel clients on best practices for maintaining, preserving, collecting, and producing electronic information. Our lawyers are at the forefront of this field and actively provide thought leadership through participation in leading industry groups, speaking engagements and conferences, and publishing on a wide variety of topics related to electronic discovery.

Our clients understand that preparing for electronic discovery in the ordinary course of business is critical and provides significant cost savings and enhanced efficiency, as well as important strategic advantages. Our comprehensive practice encompasses all aspects of e-discovery services, including discovery readiness planning for litigation and regulatory compliance, a robust and experienced Practice Technology Group, and state of the art document review services. We also serve as discovery counsel for numerous firm clients, ranging from Fortune 50 diversified firms to smaller businesses with dramatically different challenges and resources.

Discovery Readiness Planning for Litigation and Regulatory Compliance

Cost-effective management of discovery begins with a plan developed to prepare for litigation and regulatory compliance. We start with a thorough understanding of a company's unique information technology infrastructure and assets. Our experience helps clients align their document and records management strategies with their compliance and litigation risk-reduction needs in a way that is consistent with evolving legal requirements and that uses the most efficient and cost-effective technologies available. In addition, we help our clients analyze corporate litigation vulnerabilities, map corporate information management infrastructure — including inaccessible, legacy, and back-up information — and identify custodians and sources of data most likely to be relevant to high-risk litigation.

Based on the results of this assessment, we offer tailored solutions to reduce the potential for loss of electronic information (and the accompanying risks that could result, including sanctions) and advise on updated document management policies, legal hold protocols, and the adequacy of security, privacy, and appropriate usage policies. We also work with clients to develop customized protocols for document preservation, collection, review, and production, which can dramatically reduce the overall burdens of complying with e-discovery requests.

Discovery Counsel

Developments in law and technology make it imperative that discovery be handled consistently, defensibly, and efficiently across a company's portfolio of legal matters. Accordingly, more and more clients see the value of treating discovery counsel as a carve-out area of legal competence that provides a streamlined and consistent discovery approach across the enterprise.

By consolidating discovery and coordinating preservation strategies, litigation positions, and tasks across different matters, we assist our clients to leverage overlapping discovery requirements, to reduce costs and burden to the organization, and to reduce the risks associated with inconsistent positions and practices. Additionally, our familiarity with our clients' systems, technologies, legal hold processes, discovery practices, and IT personnel ensure effective and efficient discovery response efforts and swift determination of issues related to preservation, privilege, and form of production. We routinely participate in meetings and negotiations with regulatory agencies and opposing counsel regarding the scope of discovery, and we have substantial experience with discovery motions practice and with the taking and defending of depositions of information technology experts.

Document Review Services

Manual review of documents is the most expensive part of any e-discovery project. Crowell & Moring has made a significant investment to help our clients reduce these costs in a number of ways. First and foremost, the single most effective way to reduce cost and burden is in negotiating the scope of the request. Our lawyers have extensive experience negotiating e-discovery issues in federal and state courts, as well as with many federal agencies in a wide variety of contexts. Second, we understand that advanced technologies can significantly reduce the volume subject to manual review, and we use them to our advantage in designing document reviews to achieve greater cost savings. Third, the firm provides in-sourced document review at the most competitive rates. Working with our clients, we employ innovative staffing models that allow for flexibility and creativity in order to sharply reduce costs. We have reviewed and produced electronic documents on a wide variety of matters, ranging from several thousand to more than one hundred million pages, and our facility is staffed with professionals trained on the most cutting-edge review technologies and best practices. Together, these advantages give us the capability to offer alternative pricing and shared-risk approaches to the total cost of document review services.

Practice Technology

Crowell & Moring's cutting-edge Practice Technology Group is fully integrated with our E-Discovery and Information Management Group. Both groups work seamlessly together to design and implement document review processes that take full advantage of the most appropriate, effective, and cost-efficient technologies. Our Practice Technology Group has experience in document review and case analysis software, computer forensics, CaseMap, TimeMap, Ringtail, Concordance, and vendor-hosted web applications, as well as emerging and advanced e-discovery technologies, which we use to find the most cost-effective ways to serve our clients. Our project managers, many of whom are lawyers with extensive technical and project management experience, are assigned to a case early in the process in order to assess the technical needs of the case as well as to evaluate the potential costs associated with an e-discovery project. In addition, we have developed preferred relationships with a wide array of qualified services and technology providers in this highly competitive and dynamic environment to ensure the best quality of services at the lowest cost for our clients.