The following is a summary of a post by Craig Ball in eDiscovery titled Life Lessons for eDiscovery. Mr. Ball outlined five rules uniquely suited to e-discovery that he’s acquired and come to believe in through hard work and experience.

As an expert, courts bring in Mr. Ball when discovery’s gone off the rails.

The first rule and really the most fundamental is: 

  • Tell the truth based on fact. Tell the truth, no matter the consequences.

The second rule is:

  • THINK. It takes a commitment to study, question, pursue and explore information about information and a commitment to THINK about how people communicate, what tools and software they use, their language, what metadata matters, and where data lives.

The third lesson is:

  • Have a plan. When you come with a plan, it’s clear you thought about what must be done. 

Number four is: 

  • Never attribute to guile that which can be explained by incompetence. When an intent is genuine, it tends to manifest as efforts to conceal the screw-up—it’s the cover-up that kills you, not the failure itself. Most screw-ups are just screw-ups. 

The final lesson is one of human nature:

  • Remember that Courts guard their authority more carefully than your client’s rights. A party is considerably more likely to be disciplined for violating a court order than failing to fulfill an opponent’s obligations. 

These are the five rules for Life Lessons for eDiscovery. Remember, discovery is a mechanism to gather evidence to make your case, nothing more or less than that.

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