Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023

    Defining eDisclosure

    Background Note: The term “eDisclosure” is often used in the context of the UK legal system, where it refers to the exchange of electronic information during the pre-trial process of a lawsuit. However, it’s important to note that the information and guidance provided in the 2023 edition of Andrew Haslam’s eDisclosure Systems Buyers Guide can be applied more broadly to the fields of eDiscovery and Litigation Support. The Guide takes a holistic approach to the management of electronic information in the legal process, encompassing not only eDisclosure, but also eDiscovery and Litigation Support. Whether you are working in the UK or another jurisdiction, the Guide provides valuable insights and intelligence to help you plan, procure, and perform projects and programs related to electronically stored information (ESI). By recognizing that eDisclosure, eDiscovery, and Litigation Support are related yet distinct disciplines, the Guide enables professionals in the fields of cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery to make informed decisions and take effective actions.

    eDisclosure, eDiscovery, and Litigation Support are interconnected but distinct disciplines that are becoming increasingly important in the legal and corporate worlds. They are used to manage, analyze, and present electronically stored information (ESI) in legal proceedings, internal investigations, and regulatory inquiries.

    Defining eDisclosure #

    eDisclosure* refers to the process of disclosing ESI in response to a legal request or as part of a litigation process. It involves identifying, collecting, processing, analysing, reviewing, and presenting ESI in a manner that meets legal and ethical standards and is defensible in court. eDisclosure requires an understanding of the legal framework, data privacy and security laws, and the technical aspects of managing ESI.

    Defining eDiscovery #

    eDiscovery, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses the entire process of discovering ESI in response to a legal request or in preparation for litigation. It includes eDisclosure, but also encompasses the early stages of data collection, data processing, data review, and data analysis. eDiscovery requires a multidisciplinary approach that involves legal, technical, and business professionals working together to manage the challenges of identifying, collecting, and analyzing large volumes of ESI.

    Defining Litigation Support #

    Litigation Support refers to the technology and services used to support the litigation process. This includes eDiscovery, but also encompasses other aspects of the litigation process, such as document management, case management, trial presentation, and legal research. Litigation support requires an understanding of the legal process and the technology used to support it.

    eDisclosure, eDiscovery, and Litigation Support are related but distinct disciplines that are essential for managing and analyzing ESI in legal proceedings and other contexts. They involve different stages of the process, different types of professionals, and different types of technology. However, they all share the goal of managing and presenting ESI in a manner that meets legal and ethical standards and is defensible in court.

    Background Overview: eDisclosure #

    *A simplistic definition is that eDisclosure is all about the disclosure of electronic material. However, we need to dig a little deeper into that statement of the obvious.

    There are two parts to the definition; the words “disclosure” and “electronic material”. Let’s explore the second one in a little more detail. Electronic information refers to the “stuff” that is within emails, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slide shows. This is the level that most readers will need to interact with for eDisclosure. The term also includes databases, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), digital audio such as recorded conversations in deal rooms, support centres et al., images, mobile phones, tablet devices (i.e., iPads and their ilk), and a host of other increasingly more exotic types/locations. All of this is known as Electronically Stored Information or ESI.

    The definition of eDisclosure then becomes the process of identifying, collecting, processing, analysing, reviewing and presenting ESI for legal proceedings.

    Because so much of the software in this area comes from the United States, it is as well to recognise the synonym eDiscovery, which is the American term for eDisclosure.

    Faith Based Discovery

    For the sake of completeness, eDisclosure is NOT the process of agreeing the electronic media by which information will be transferred. When disclosure was all about transferring images of pieces of paper between legal entities, there used to be discussions on format might be used for the images, and which kinds of physical media could be used to hold the images and their data, be it “floppy disks”, tapes or a memory stick. This discussion used to be incorrectly labeled as “eDisclosure”, and is mentioned here to dispel any legacy misunderstandings.