The Downside of DIY Data Collection

In today’s cost-conscious legal environment more and more attorneys are being faced with clients that insist on collecting electronically stored information (ESI) themselves.  While it might seem like a good idea in the beginning, there are some challenges that arise from the DIY method of collection. 

While they are wonderful at their job, IT departments and support staff might not have the legal knowledge and tools necessary to collect data using defensible methods and could end up costing the firm more money in the end.  Possible pitfalls include: 

  • Collection not being done by an independent third party
  • Clients’ collecting their own data without a proper data mapping plan may overlook key sources of data such as deleted files
  • Improper collection can alter or change valuable metadata – for example, Modified Date and Date Last Opened
  • Individuals might not be experienced with forensic applications and damage source data
  • Chain of custody requirements might not be observed, invalidating evidence
  • Opposing counsel could argue about methods and tools used for collection at trial
  • Inadvertent spoliation that would be harder to defend against
  • Individual performing collection might not be recognized as an expert witness to testify


Involving a trained forensics company in the early phases of the Litigation Cycle starts the case off on the right path and can actually save you money in the long run.  Rainmaker has partnered with Digital Discovery to serve our client’s collection, preservation and investigation needs.  Since 1998, Digital Discovery has combined the science of computer forensics with the blend of technology and art to turn back time and paint a vivid picture of what a system was used for yesterday, last week, last month or last year.  Digital Discovery will track down data that was moved, copied, deleted or compromised while adhering to strict rules of evidentiary preservation to avoid spoliation and maintain the chain of custody.  Their certified investigators and practitioners bring a broad range of experience in information technology, information security and forensic investigation in both civil and government matters. As a result, they are recognized as subject expert witnesses in US State and Federal Court proceedings.

Have a new case that involves eDiscovery and not sure where to start?  Rainmaker and Digital Discovery can help you create a data mapping plan and locate potential sources of information that may otherwise be overlooked.  Working together we can collect, preserve and process your data for further review.  After filtering and searching we can provide you with a production set that meets your exact specificaitons.  Our partnership results in an end-to-end solution from a staff that are experts in their field.  If you are interested in learning more about how Rainmaker can help you, please contact us at 512.472.9911.


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