The parents of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye have filed a federal law suit against officials of the Cincinnati Public Schools district; but it has nothing to do with failure to educate, oversized classrooms, or discrimination, which are common reasons for legal action involving schools. Gabriel’s parents blame the school officials for allowing and even covering up the bullying at school that led their son to commit suicide.
According to a report from the Associated Press, his mother was unaware that her son had been bullied until lawyers discovered an email from a police detective gave details of an encounter outside the boys’ bathroom where Gabriel was knocked unconscious, two days before he hanged himself.
The parents’ attorney stated, “If CPS had been honest with her about what happened in the bathroom…and the dangerous school environment Gabe had to navigate each day of third grade, she would never have let him return to [school]”.
However, school officials claim that Gabriel told staff responding to the bullying incident that he had simply fainted, without mentioning anything about suffering bullying or assault.
As this case approaches trial, attorneys on opposing counsels are collecting evidence and preparing their cases, each with the goal to communicate effectively to the jury. On one side, the attorney represents a grieving couple who will spend the rest of their lives wondering if they could have saved their boy of they knew about the bullying. On the other side are school officials who are struggling to provide quality education with decreasing government budgets. Losing this lawsuit would be devastating to both the plaintiffs and defendants.
If you were asked to present in this trial, how would you prepare? Which tools would you use? What methods would you follow? How would you present your exhibits?
Advancements in legal technology can seem daunting and distracting, but it is engineered to have the opposite effect. New technologies help you to streamline your data review and presentation processes, allowing you to be more efficient and effective. Legal software is designed to offer lawyers the tools to provide the jury with understanding and their clients with justice.
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There’s no question any organization can benefit from new eDiscovery technology. However, it’s still important to keep in mind this requires more than just making a purchase. To fully reap all the benefits (and avoid disrupted productivity), there are best practices that an organization should keep in mind when bringing in the latest technology.
Because organizations today vary so much in size and scope, we will discuss a few of these best practices from a high level. There might be one or more practices specific to your own organization, but the following concepts are universal.
1. Outline Your Objectives
For starters, simply replacing your old products is not an adequate objective. Similarly, it’s not sufficient to implement new eDiscovery technology, then send out a company-wide email to announce it, and then hope your team adopts the new software. Instead, apply a project-management approach. Set tangible goals to define your success, e.g.:
Check Workflow Compatibility
Deploy Role-Specific Training
Perform Comprehensive Testing
Ensure Proper Migration
When you’re measuring concrete objectives against tangible metrics, determining success is less of a mystery. It also makes setting future objectives, which might depend on technology integration, much easier.
2. Check Workflow Compatibility
Most organizations are unique in the way individuals go about doing their jobs. New eDiscovery technology is usually deigned to mirror, from somewhat of a high level, these workflows. But don’t assume the technology on your short list will line up perfectly with your own workflow.
Your team is made up of individuals with different responsibilities, and their day-to-day experiences with your new technology will vary greatly. It’s important to tailor training specifically to the objectives and challenges these individuals will face.
For example, it’s very unlikely someone in your administrative group will need to troubleshoot database connectivity. Conversely, nobody on your IT staff is going to be responsible for syncing up Bates numbers. Don’t dedicate too much time to training individuals beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, and don’t leave anyone with a knowledge gap that will hamper their productivity.
4. Perform Comprehensive Testing
Just like sending that companywide email to announce your technology launch, it’s not adequate to simply open up access to users and ask them to hunt for bugs. Instead you should employ a comprehensive search for specific shortcomings by applying established testing methods:
Organizational Testing — Audit your organization to ensure necessary resources are available, such as online training and technical manuals, people well versed in the new technology, and a forum or wiki for sharing information.
Feature Testing — Before you add to or modify your new technology, run features through likely scenarios to ensure users are prepared to have them in workflows.
Performance Testing — It’s important to be aware of your technology’s limitations, so deliberately attempt to max out its performance to discover those limits.
Testing, obviously, prepares your organization for any missteps that might occur once your technology is fully implemented. I can’t overstate how important it is to clear these obstacles in testing environment, rather than having them stumble through them during your real-world operations.
5. Ensure Proper Migration
Once your previous technology is completely phased out, it’s going to be very difficult (if not impossible) to recover any data phased out with it. Gain peace of mind you’re retaining any data you’ll eventually need by performing a full-scope migration for new eDiscovery technology. Think of this as a checklist reminding you to gather up important items like:
Historical Data — This often-archived data, when re-examined, can guide future efforts through insights into activity, contextual factors and trends.
User Information — Avoid duplicating setup tasks by checking information related to how individuals work within an environment.
Work Product — Perhaps most importantly, protect that critical data prepared specifically ahead of litigation.
With these data sources checked off, you can more confidently sunset the technology you’ve been using without worrying that critical resources are vanishing alongside it.
Get Answers Today
If you have any questions about the material in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact Ipro Tech. An experienced eDiscovery professional is standing by ready to deliver the answers you need.