By now everyone knows how important ediscovery is. Most information is now stored mainly in electronic form, so ediscovery is an essential part of any lawsuit or arbitration.
Legal departments know this. IT departments know this. So why is there still tension and acrimony between the departments when it comes to ediscovery issues?
Part of the problem is the lack of a shared language and background. Different cultures, in other words. IT departments concern themselves with performance, uptime and disaster recovery since their primary responsibility is to provide computer services to employees whenever they need them. Legal departments, on the other hand, focus on building cases, making arguments and gathering evidence. Since the two departments have different goals and speak different
languages, they often clash when the stakes get high during
ediscovery. Lawyers often complain that "IT doesn't understand legal," and vice versa.
But you know what? A lot of the time it's true. The sides just don't get each other.
That's why it's important to reach out to the IT department, learn about what they do and pick up on their language.
At the same time, you should also help to educate IT about what it is that you
do. Lawyers often forget that legalese is a bewildering mess of dead
words and obfuscating terminology. Thinking like a lawyer doesn't come
naturally - that's why people have to go through three years of
expensive postgraduate education and pass an excruciatingly difficult
test to become attorneys.
To that end, there's a good article in the E-Commerce Times
today that can give the IT folks a little insight into the forces and
concepts that shape your world when it comes to ediscovery. Circulate
it in an email, pin it up to the bulletin board in the breakroom - it
could make your next trip down ediscovery lane feel like a Sunday drive.