In an industry where technological advances permeate every aspect of the business, staying one step ahead of new trends is key to growth. For some players in the legal services field this means adding new tools to a pre-existing tool belt of high quality offerings, while for others it means working with outside vendors who are already ahead of the curve.
In the competitive and ever-evolving court reporting industry, those who embrace advances in the litigation process will remain leaders in the marketplace by continuing to offer their clients premiere services.
I have outlined a brief examination of various services currently being offered by court reporting agencies that have their finger on the pulse.
Electronic discovery, better known as eDiscovery, is the electronic aspect of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request for production in a lawsuit or investigation. ESI most commonly consists of emails, documents, databases, voicemail, audio files, social media, and video files. The collection of information, which exists only in digital format, may seem abstract, but as the world continues to move away from physical and tangible documents, the importance of electronic discovery in legal proceedings can only continue to grow.
This process requires professional expertise and experience due to the evolving nature and sheer volume of electronic data produced. Electronic documents are more complex than hard-copy evidence, containing metadata that includes file properties, time-stamps, author and recipient information etc. For this reason, preserving the original content and metadata is required to prevent claims of tampering or spoliation of evidence later on in the litigation.
After the relevant documents are identified by both sides, they are placed under legal hold, ensuring that they cannot be modified, abridged, deleted or otherwise destroyed. Data deemed to be potentially relevant is collected and then extracted, indexed and placed into a database. At this point, the data is put through a funneling process to segregate the non-relevant documents and other forms of ESI, in turn saving clients hours of labor and cutting costs. The data is then hosted in a secure environment whereby reviewers (contract attorneys and paralegals) code the documents for their relevance to the legal matter. These documents are then converted into a static format, making redaction of privileged and non-relevant information possible.
The sensitivity and complexity of the process highlights the importance of working with a reputable and experienced eDiscovery specialist who is knowledgeable of the legality and processes surrounding data storage, collection and distribution. Court reporting agencies offering eDiscovery services can help consolidate the pre-trial process for their clients, and offer the best available services throughout the entire litigation life cycle.
Another exciting and waste-reducing service being offered to clients is paperless exhibits via split screen. This allows an attorney in possession of digital exhibits to host a viewing session to iPads, Kindles and laptops during a deposition. Clients logged into the session via wireless devices can view the exhibits without downloading or saving the files. For those familiar with Realtime technology, paperless exhibits also involve viewing information via a wireless device during a deposition without the need to be in possession of any physical files. Each document is given a digital stamp during the proceedings to guarantee that it is uniquely marked. At the end of the deposition the stamp is locked in. With paperless exhibits, the need to wait for scanning the physical documents is no longer necessary as exhibits can be obtained immediately.
PDF Case Bundling
Efficiency and convenience are the driving force behind the PDF Case Bundling tool. This service consolidates the complete body of material for the entire case into one file. The Case Bundle unfolds and users can access all transcripts, condensed and full-size, complete with linked exhibits for their case. The file is updateable and can be viewed and annotated in both Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Court reporting agencies offering PDF Case Bundling save their clients time, money and resources.
In a marketplace where staying ahead of the technological curve is the cost of success, companies who offer the latest services will maximize the value of their relationships with their clients.
John Hadden, Production Exhibit Specialist