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The ABCs of Electronic Storage: Archives v. Backup Tapes in the Courtroom
By Chad Wiener, Quarles & Brady, Milwaukee
Now that school is in session, don’t get an education about electronic discovery the hard way by not knowing the difference between archived data and backup data, or you will find yourself banging your head on your desk… or being sent to the corner of the room by a court. The key: archiving and backup are NOT the same thing — far from it. Knowing the difference can cost you significant headaches, time, effort, and money, and can even impact the outcome of a case.
An easy way to compare the two methods of preservation is to consider the difference between retrieving an email that has been archived versus backed up. Let’s call it E-mail X. If you “archive” E-mail X, you can still retrieve it easily to re-read it, move it to a folder, forward it, or otherwise use it just like the un-archived emails. And it can be accessed from more than one computer station, meaning that someone cannot simply lose the one and only copy. On the other hand, if you had created a “backup” of E-mail X, it would have been recorded, along with everything else that was work product that day, on a single backup tape. There are two problems here. First, the backup tape itself could be anywhere — the back of a closet or a warehouse, for example. And if that one tape got lost or was ruined in a fire, E-mail X is gone forever. Second, even if the backup is locked in a well-secured safe, going back to actually find E-mail X would be akin to looking through a box of hundreds or even thousands of unsorted photographs for that one needle in an electronic haystack of information.
Both ways maintain a record of the information, but which would you rather use if responding to a request? Which would save cost, time and peace of mind? Read full article >>
The Social Network is Fair Game for Discovery
By James Beck, Dechert LLP, Philadelphia
Anybody with a pulse, a computer, and a connection to the internet has heard the warnings: be careful what you post on Facebook, MySpace, and other social network sites. That blow-by-blow account of your victory in the Tenth Intramural Beer Pong Championship can come back to haunt you. Those pictures of you clothed only with red Solo cups may be hysterical to your friends but not so amusing to your future potential employers. As the New York Times reported today, employers fire people for griping about their jobs on their Facebook pages.
We did a post a couple of years ago recommending that defense counsel seek discovery from plaintiffs’ social network sites. At that time, we found just one case in which the discoverability of that information had been litigated. Read full article >>
Career planning counselor:“Well, sometimes it helps me to imagine the worst case scenario. So what’s the worst case scenario?”
Law Student: “Not getting a job when I graduate law school in two months so I’m unable to meet my living expenses or pay back student loans, and then I’ll have to live in a cardboard box in Central Park.”
Career planning counselor:“Yeah, but at least you’ll have your health.”