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Digital information hampers legal process

Warwick Ashford

Thousands of lawyers across ten countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa say difficulties in locating or processing digital information is hampering legal processes.

Some 5,000 lawyers polled by information management firm Symantec said they had lost a case, experienced a delay or been sanctioned in the past two years because of these difficulties.

Just over half said they experienced such losses or delays in the past three months.

The rise of electronic communications means lawyers must routinely search up to millions of e-mails and voicemails for each case to ensure all relevant information is submitted to the courts, said Symantec.

Some 91% of survey respondents ranked electronically stored information as either critical or important to their day-to-day work.

But 69% said they were fully prepared for processing electronic information; 60% said they struggled with the volume of information; and 24% said they lacked the technology to fulfil information requests effectively.

The fact that all respondents had been affected by the difficulties producing digital evidence shows more needs to be done, said Jaap den Exter van den Brink, information management specialist at Symantec.

"The good news is that lawyers acknowledge how e-discovery technology can make locating digital evidence efficient, cost-effective and manageable," he said.


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