eDiscovery Daily Blog

6 Tips for Managing eDiscovery for Access Requests for a State or Local Government Organization

By Catherine Ostheimer

Being responsive to the growing number of Access Requests and DSARS as a local government organization can be daunting.

First, there’s the data management challenge. State and local groups generate and store vast amounts of data across numerous departments, committees, and systems. Managing and processing this volume of data for eDiscovery for litigation, investigations and public records requests across multiple departments can be overwhelming. There is also the issue of dealing effectively with different formats and sources during the discovery process, such as emails, documents, social media, collaboration app chats, and more.

Privacy and security concerns with sensitive and confidential information and staying compliant with jurisdiction-specific laws and regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is an ongoing challenge. Other burdens are resource constraints, including limited budgets, staff, and access to affordable technology.

Here are tips for managing the eDiscovery side of Access Requests for those working at a state or local government organization:

  1. Understand the legal landscape. Obviously, you need to familiarize yourself with applicable local laws and regulations governing eDiscovery, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and any other state-specific rules. But you also need to stay on top of ever-changing regulations governing eDiscovery in your jurisdiction.
  2. Develop policies. Two important processes to establish for anyone handling eDiscovery for a local government organization are 1) documenting an eDiscovery protocol outlining your organization’s procedures for identifying, preserving, collecting, reviewing, and producing electronic evidence, and 2) implementing a document retention policy, including collaborating with your IT team to put technical measures in place to support the policy.
  3. Educate and train staff. Conduct regular training sessions for employees to increase their awareness of eDiscovery requirements and their responsibilities for preserving and producing relevant data, especially emerging data types like texts, chat, and social media data.
  4. Engage in Early Case Assessment (ECA). Performing ECA for any cases involving potential litigation will help you evaluate the scope and costs of eDiscovery so that you can make informed decisions about litigation strategy, settlement negotiations and the need for outside experts. Read more on putting an ECA process in place.
  5. Regularly evaluate and update processes. Continuously assess and refine your eDiscovery processes based on learnings from previous cases and stay informed about industry best practices and emerging technologies, and technology alternatives that may be easier to use and less expensive than your current technology.
  6. Be prepared to scale your eDiscovery work. Beyond Access Requests, it is the unforeseen litigation matters that can catch eDiscovery teams off guard, and in the government area, these cases often involve gathering and reviewing data from hundreds, if not thousands of individuals. Do your research and identify technology and service partners who can help you scale during workload surges.

The CloudNine team has deep experience in handling Access Requests and eDiscovery effectively and efficiently for state and local organizations. Contact us to find out how we can help support your needs with our on-premise and SaaS eDiscovery solutions and an array of professional services.

Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 8+ years.