e-Discovery Processing
Supervisory Collection

Electronic data and electronic evidence. Finding it, accessing it and acquiring it can be a daunting process. As the role
of electronic data becomes increasingly more critical to the litigation process, it is imperative to develop rigorousprotocols and procedures for data acquisition, as it is the first of many critical components of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) discovery.

Companies have invested in large and versatile IT organizations, many with the technical ability to collect data. While these organizations may possess the capability in terms of personnel and equipment, there are significant drawbacksto self collection. Key items to consider include:

  • Does the IT organization have access to, and the training associated with, forensically sound tools?
  • What is the experience level of the IT team that will collect the data?
  • Are the IT personnel well versed in the legal issues associated with metadata preservation, spoliation, chain of
    custody, and other core processes?
  • Will the IT personnel be employed by the company when needed as a witness?
  • Are there protocols for documentation at every step of the process?
  • Is some form of 3rd party attestation beneficial or required from a legal standpoint?

The Oliver Group (TOG) has developed a Supervisory Collection service for those companies with large, expert IT
organizations that promotes the use of internal personnel while also providing an expert who will develop protocols, suggest best practice methodologies, employ detailed documentation and oversee the collection effort ensuring it is performed in a cost-effective and defensible manner. For matters where TOG is engaged to perform supervisory acquisition, the components of the engagement may include:

  • Initial rules-of-engagement development
  • Identification of project stakeholders
  • High level goals and objectives development
  • Incident handling and escalation paths
  • Status meeting scheduling and coordination
  • Initial documentation/information request list
  • Client and data source-specific collection protocol development
  • Ongoing monitoring of the collection effort

The TOG supervisory collection service provides corporate clients with the ability to use internal resources where
appropriate, for some or all of the data acquisition efforts, in conjunction with a data acquisition expert who can oversee the effort and become an expert witness if required.

Examples of The Oliver Group Supervisory Collection experience include:

International – High Technology
The Oliver Group assisted with a complex patent royalty project. The task consisted of the creation of an in-depth protocol for custodian self-collection, collection of data from custodians in the Netherlands, and remote collection between their New York and California locations. TOG provided collection oversight for remote custodian self-collection for locations in China and India. Additionally, TOG duplicated and searched all data in advance of delivery
to the law firm client.

International – Insurance
Spanning dozens of custodians in the US, UK, The Netherlands, Mexico, Bermuda, and Guernsey, TOG worked closely with a US-based legal team on an intellectual property theft matter. TOG engineers identified all sources of data relevant to the matter (laptops, server data, personal email, blackberries), and developed a collection and sequestration plan which involved collection by TOG and protocols for collection by client’s IT staff. Data was acquired, keyword searched and date filtered and then, post-attorney review, TOG sequestered/deleted all documents from every identified data source. This effort contributed to a favorable settlement by the plaintiff.

Domestic – Financial Services
A large financial services institution involved in three separate regulatory and litigation related matters, one being an SEC investigation, engaged The Oliver Group via a trusted channel partner. TOG provided supervisory services including initial assessment of on-site resources and methodologies, protocol creation, project management and oversight through the life of the matter. Data sources included desktop images, server home and group shares, live Lotus Notes email, archived Lotus Notes email, EMC email archives, enterprise databases, and miscellaneous loose media. Key aspects of this engagement included: TOG oversight to ensure that data for custodians involved in multiple investigations was collected only once, saving money at the collection phase and downstream processing and review phases; TOG provided forensic services including file decryption; and lastly, the TOG Data Acquisition team seamlessly integrated into client’s IT and E-Discovery groups. TOG’s involvement enabled the client to utilize internal IT resources where appropriate, and have TOG serve as trusted advisor regarding the use of proper methodologies, quality assurance, and overall project management.

International – Publishing
The Oliver Group provided hybrid data acquisition and supervisory services for a large publishing company. TOG worked closely with two sets of outside counsel, one for each distinct matter. One matter involved the client taking proactive measures for data preservation in advance of issuing a breach of contract motion, and the other matter involved the client requiring data acquisition as part of a discovery request by an opposing party. By combining the data acquisition effort, TOG maximized data acquisition efficiency, and reduced overall travel costs. Centralized systems such as MSExchange email and network shares were acquired by TOG and de-centralized systems and custodian data were collected by client IT under the supervision by TOG data acquisition experts. For the preservation matter, TOG provided guidance to the client prior to their 26F Meet and Confer, arming them with information about data sources collected, volume of data, estimated costs to process, and estimated relevancy/duplicity of certain sources.