Bobby Malhotra, eDiscovery counsel with Munger, Tolles & Olson, addressed key considerations for handling structured data in the discovery process in a December 30, 2015 podcast.
The American Bar Association’s “Sound Advice” program included the following takeaways:
- Structured data exists as data elements in columns and rows often in larger enterprise wide database systems and not in pre-existing and self-contained physical files. As a result, producing information contained in complex structured database systems can present unique challenges.
- Enterprise-wide database systems are often the lifeblood of a company and the system of record for many business processes. As such, they can provide a rich source of discoverable information that counsel may need to tell the full story in a litigation.
- Often times, it is faster and more cost-effective to harvest data from structured databases as opposed to collecting, processing, reviewing and producing information from a plethora of custodians.
- Counsel should consider using the meet-and-confer process to define the scope of what will be produced and should try to work together in a collaborative manner.
- Counsel should consider conducting witness interviews of key client contacts. One such key contact may be the end user or users who are the subject matter experts for particular databases.
- Counsel should also consider interviewing key information technology personnel. These technology contacts may be able to help counsel understand the structure of the database, the accessibility of the underlying structured data, and how the data can be queried and extracted for production purposes.
The program is featured on the “Sound Advice” website.