Aim: In the identification phase the legal team develops and executes a plan to identify and validate potentially relevant ESI sources including people and systems.

The identification step provides a logical and auditable framework for discovering potentially relevant sources of ESI.

Develop a plan. An Identification Plan sets out the process that will identify potentially relevant ESI sources. Even in the simplest cases a plan can ensure that all the bases are covered to demonstrate a defensible process.

Establish a team. The Identification team is essential and has overall responsibility for identifying the key players, data custodians and data relevant to a matter. This team is accountable and responsible for various aspects of the identification process and may be consulted with, as necessary. The Identification team is made up of legal counsel, Human Resources, IT, business leaders, and outside consultants with expertise in electronic discovery.

Identify potentially relevant sources of ESI. Identifying potentially relevant sources of ESI starts with interviewing key witnesses and custodians. These interviews will help the identification team to understand what format relevant data will be in, the time frame of relevant data, and further important witnesses and custodians.

Certify ESI sources. An identification process must be reasonable and defensible. Certifying ESI sources involves creating documentation to this effect, noting the disclosures, requests, responses and/or objections for ESI.

Status and progress reporting. Having a structure for status and progress reporting provides the discovery team with a clear framework for judging the effectiveness of their project.

Documentation for a defensible audit trail. Documentation of the identification process can be valuable throughout the case when questions arise regarding additional sources of information. More importantly it can be used to demonstrate the identification process was defensible should it come under question.

Validation. Before calling the identification step complete, a meeting should be organised with all the discovery team present to go over the whole identification process and assure its quality.

Incident Response Solutions’ staff are available to travel anywhere in New Zealand to help you identify relevant ESI sources on location. Our rapid response means relevant documents are more likely to be discovered intact. Our team of experts have experience in all steps of ESI identification and can bring that knowledge to support you in your eDiscovery.