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Mobile Device Forensic Collections

Mobile devices are everywhere. Within the last decade or so, smart phones have become not only a staple in our society, but arguably a necessity. There are two major players in the smartphone game, Android and Apple. Android devices make up the majority share of the smartphone market followed by Apple. There are others out there, like Windows OS phones and Blackberry, but they make up an incredibly small amount of the total smartphones.

Forensic Tools used for mobile device collections include Cellebrite, Encase, Axiom, and Oxygen. Preserving data from a mobile device can be much different than from a computer, and forensic software and hardware companies, like Cellebrite, specialize in creating tools for mobile device forensic collections and analysis.

There are a few different types of collections you can perform on mobile devices. Physical collections are bit-by-bit preservations of mobile devices, including the unused space. Logical collections preserve the user data only and not the free space of the phone. FileSystem collections preserve just the file system, which is very similar to the Logical collection, but could possibly pull some different data. The last resort in mobile device collections would be a manual collection. This is often used when a forensic tool can’t gain access to the device due to age or operating system restrictions. A manual collection consists of going through the phone manually and literally taking pictures of each screen. Not very efficient, but it’s a last resort option.

The type of data you can pull from a mobile device can be incredibly beneficial to a case. Some of the most sought-after data sets include messages, call logs, contacts, and photos, but there are many other pieces of information that can be discovered within a smartphone, including location data, calendar events, notes, website/application credentials, and many other useful bits of data. As such, mobile device forensic collections are becoming a staple in litigation discovery.  To learn more about how Lexbe can assist with your next Mobile Device Forensic Collection, contact sales@lexbe.com.

Legal Depts are increasingly Relying on AI in eDiscovery

The 12th annual Law Department Operations (LDO) survey found that effective use of technology in law departments has been slow to accelerate. Artificial intelligence has been wildly growing among several markets, but is just beginning to saturate the legal market–however, it is expected to continue. In general, AI has the potential to introduce new sources of growth, changing how work is done and reinforcing the role of people to drive growth in business. As Reese Arrowsmith, vice president, head of legal operations for Campbell Soup Co. states, “I do see AI and other technology advances having an impact on the way lawyers work. New technology will augment ways of working and may impact who completes legal work. I also see the legal industry utilizing data analytics to make decisions and to predict outcomes.”

One survey revealed that nearly half of those asked, said their law department does not use AI at all.  And, when law departments do use AI, it is most likely for e-discovery and document review. Twenty-seven percent of respondents sometimes use it for these areas, and 7% always use it.

To download the full report, click here

Judicial Advice on On Meeting your Rule 26(f) Obligations

Our recent webinar, Avoiding Spoliation Sanctions in 2017 Under the New FRCP Amendments, featured the honorable Judge Xavier Rodriguez, a United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas. One of the questions we asked Judge Rodriguez was “Are judicial expectations shifting as to what the parties should accomplish in early case conferences and the scheduling order before discovery commences?” He offered some valuable insight into what best practices he is seeing from the Rule 26(f) meetings and which elements are still missing.

Rule 26(f) obligations have been the source of much confusion and hand-wringing. There are several key agreements which must be met during ‘meet and confer’ sessions early in the case, which at a glance can appear daunting. Proactive approaches to the challenge are best.  With the sheer amount of electronically stored information (ESI) exchanging hands in a complex case today, and the possibility of some ESI to be not preserved, damaged or lost, Rule 26(f) forces us to do the necessary work early in the case, rather than waiting for problems to arise.

We wanted to bring you our key takeaways from the webinar on Rule 26 obligations to keep in mind as you prepare for your next document complex case.

    • Schedule your Rule 26(f) meeting with opposing counsel prior to your Rule 16 meeting with your Judge. By coming prepared to your Rule 16 meeting with agreements in place and disputes ready for the Judge to rule on, you can expedite discovery and dispute resolution.
    • Prior to your 26(f) meeting you should survey the probable ESI in your case.
      1. Interview custodians to determine key players.
      2. Each side should work with their clients to determine what document retention policies are in place, and modify as needed.  For example, are there automatic deletion systems that need to be turned off for preservation?
      3. A best practice is to prepare a “data map” of your ESI prior to your Rule 26(f) meeting.  A data map is an inventory of potentially responsive ESI by custodian, device, location and content.
      4. Put an ESI Agreement or protocol in place. Lexbe provides a sample ESI order/agreement/protocol as a starting point. Download it for free HERE.
    • Goals for the 26(f) meeting are to come away from the conference with the following structure laid out, to the extent possible:
      1. Define the scope of the eDiscovery requirements. Identify dates, custodians and places where data may be kept.
      2. Discuss how ESI will be preserved. Will all devices be imaged, or will there be a directed collection? An important consideration here is to consider what metadata should be preserved and transmitted with production.
      3. Who will handle collection?  Possibilities are an outside vendor, company IT staff and custodial self-collections.  What safeguards will be in place depending on the risks with each methodology.
      4. Identify deduplication and culling methods to reduce reviewable documents and ESI.
      5. Set reasonable deadlines for when data exchanges need to happen.
      6. Parties should agree on how they will receive opposing counsels ESI. (Lexbe and many eDiscovery experts recommend that you ask for produced, non-privileged ESI to include files in native format. We offer a checklist on Requesting Production in Native File Format HERE.
      7. Be reasonable and cooperate. Judges increasingly expect all parties to negotiate in good faith, making reasonable requests and offering reasonable accommodations.
    • Write it out.  A best practice is to recap agreements via written correspondence post-conference. Beyond ensuring that you are on the same page with opposing counsel, a written account gives you a defensible position to follow-up in court if needed.
    • Reach out to your judge for a ruling when you need it. Judges expect that you will cooperate and compromise in good faith, but if you truly find yourself at an impasse with opposing counsel you are better off reaching out to your judge early rather than waiting until the last minute.
    • With a substantive, well planned 26(f) meeting, you will resolve potential discovery issues before they arise.

‘Above the Law’ features Lexbe for Cloud Document Management

Lexbe was recently featured in the leading legal blog: ‘Above the Law’ in a post entitled: Today’s Tech: A Litigation Attorney Uses Technology To Level The Playing Field.

A practicing litigator was interviewed and noted that technology in general, and cloud computing in particular, helps a small law firm to stay competitive in today’s constantly changing legal landscape. “Technology is the great equalizer between solo and small law firms and large firms. For smaller law firms it puts you on a level field with law firms many times your size. I can now handle 2 or 3 complex construction litigation cases at one time and it doesn’t take over my practice.  I can get through 30,000 documents quickly and narrow them down to what I really need to look at.”

Above the Law noted that Lexbe helps small firms handle the big cases. The interviewed attorney noted that “I handle a lot of cases where upwards of 30,000 docs are produced. These documents used to fill the room. Now I buy access to Lexbe on a case-by-case basis and then search the documents using Boolean logic.”

Lexbe speeds up review and allows for attorney, case and time leverage. Above the Law continues: “So a process that used to require six associates days to read through the documents can now be accomplished in minutes. Because of the Lexbe software, the entire playing field has been leveled for my firm.”

Read the entire post at Above the Law.

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