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A Peek Into The World Of Hi-Tech Litigation Support
At the heart of any legal undertaking is the mass of data that legal professionals need to perform their jobs. The demanding task of acquiring and organizing the documents that comprise this data is known as litigation support. It's a task that requires a high level or organizational ability and a painstaking attention to detail. And with these documents increasingly in electronic form, litigation support professionals need IT skills as well as legal and organisational expertise.
Computers have revolutionized virtually all the professions. One area where IT has made a particularly huge impact is in the legal field.
The legal system runs on information and especially demands impeccable documentation with accuracy, security, integrity, speed and efficiency that only computers can provide. Managing this documentation is a critcal and the specialized field of litigation support services have emerged to handle this vital task. So what exactly do they do?
Litigation Support is defined as any operation involving human and mechanical systems to process information for use by attorneys or expert consultants in preparation for a lawsuit or a trial. In other words, a litigation support firm should offer any service that provides the legal professional with the data he needs to carry out his assignment.
And in this day and age a major part of such documentation is likely to be in electronic form and stored on a computer system. The retrieval and authentication of such documents is a field in itself one of vital importance to a successful legal undertaking.
The range of services offered by litigation support firms range from clerical activities such as the scanning, imaging, and indexing of documents to sophisticated activities such as electronic discovery and computer forensics.
Litigation support often uses the allied fields of electronic discovery and computer forensics. These are essentially the same thing
- the retrieval of data from computer systems for a specific puspose.
The difference is just in the reason for the retrivel; electronic discovery is for general purposes while computer forensics is when the retrieved information is for use in a law suit or in a court of law.
Electronic discovery or forensic investigations could involve recovering hidden, damaged or corrupted files. Or perhaps decrypting password-protected or encrypted files, as well as recovering emails, chat data and other forms of online communication.
Litigation support is a relatively new field but it's evolving rapidly. The legal system depends on accurate and documented information in order to function so it's essential to have professonals take charge of this task. And with data security becoming increasingly important in this wired world, the field of computer forensics is one that has to develop accordingly.
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