eDiscovery Systems Data Map

Engagement working with Client to create a systems data map repository, purposed for Legal, that identifies Information Systems, Business Owner and Records classifications used in the identification of electronically stored information (ESI) for Legal Hold.

The Systems Data Map is used only for the identification of potentially relevant ESI and thus during the Identification Phase of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) initially. When the systems that contain potential ESI have been identified, a Legal Hold process is begun, i.e., the Preservation and Collection Phases. Should any additional potentially relevant ESI be requested, either in the meet and confer meeting or while reviewing and analyzing collected ESI, then the Systems Data Map would be used again to identify any additional new systems to issue Legal Holds against and subsequently preserve.

 

What is a Systems Data Map?

That many terms are used in the industry for what is being referred in this document as a Systems Data Map. They include systems inventory, data map, systems catalog, records catalog, and content map information governance for IT (Policy Atlas). All these combinations are terms for the same thing; in this document referred to as Systems Data Map.

In the context of eDiscovery, the Systems Data Map is a resource which facilitates the Legal Department's process of identifying potentially relevant ESI and the systems which contain it.

The Systems Data Map is used only for the identification of potentially relevant ESI and thus during the Identification Phase of the EDRM initially. When the systems that contain potential ESI have been identified, a Legal Hold process is begun, i.e., the Preservation and Collection Phases. Should any additional potentially relevant ESI be requested, either in the meet and confer meeting or while reviewing and analyzing collected ESI, then the Systems Data Map would be used again to identify any additional new systems to issue Legal Holds against and subsequently preserve.


Background

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 26 (a)(1)(A)(i)&(ii):

(A) In General. Except as exempted by Rule 26(a)(1)(B) or as otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party must, without awaiting a discovery request, provide to the other parties:

(i) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual likely to have discoverable information — along with the subjects of that information — that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;

(ii) a copy — or a description by category and location — of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or control and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;

Key to understanding the various aspects of a Systems Data Map is to understand why it is needed. The need for a Systems Data Map is driven by several rules from the judicial system, specifically, the FRCP which, in summary states that even before opposing counsel officially requests relevant ESI from the organization, that the organization must provide, [1] the name of each individual likely to have discoverable information along with the subjects of that information, and [2] a copy of all ESI that is in the disclosing party's possession, custody, or control that might be relevant to the potential litigation. In lieu of a copy of all the ESI, a description by category and location will suffice[1]. Generally the topic that this rule addresses is referred to as "initial disclosure".

Recently modified in 2006 and 2007 bringing about the recent focus on this topic, it is from these amendments that the need to be able to quickly present this information originates.

Because the details of pending litigation are not very specific at this time, generally the requests from the legal department will be broad. In the sequence of events, the gathering of this information is all done before both parties get together to formally discuss which information might be relevant to the pending case. This meeting, defined by rule 26(f), is known as "meet and confer".

In summary, the Systems Data Map is used as a resource to address the minimum requirements of the Legal Department for [1] the initial disclosure as defined by Rule 26(a), [2] the meet and confer conference as defined by Rule 26(f), [3] identification of additional relevant ESI that is requested during the meet and confer conference, and possibly [4] during the review phase of the eDiscovery process[2]. In addition, the Systems Data Map is used as a resource to identify custodians and locate relevant ESI for immediate preservation once there is an understanding of possible litigation. As a result of utilizing a properly developed Systems Data Map, an organization will create a defensible and repeatable discovery process for identifying potentially relevant ESI.


[1] FCRP 26 (a)(1)(A)(i)&(ii)

[2] & See www.edrm.net for information regarding phases of the eDiscovery process.