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Still Looking for that Smoking Gun? Look to the Data.

by | Mar 26, 2018

As seasoned investigators and litigators, we are always on the hunt for that “smoking gun.” Whether it be a detailed memo or salacious email, we are hopeful that there is some piece of information that will help make our case. Unfortunately, management may give directives in meetings or over the phone – leaving no tell-all email or memo for you to uncover in your document production. Without cooperating witnesses, you may feel like you have no other options.

The answer may be in the data.

For every decision, there are outcomes. Lucky for you, we are a society that tracks nearly everything – meaning there is some subset of data that shows the results of those actions. Think broadly about where to look, be aggressive in obtaining that information, and keep your analysis simple once you have the data in hand.

Five ways to be data-savvy in litigation:

  1. Get Creative & Think Big
    Brainstorm with your litigation team to think broadly about what information you want. Metadata, customer databases, payroll records, and complaint systems are always information-rich. Consider non-traditional datasets that might also relate to your case.
  2. Include Databases in Litigation Holds
    Litigation holds should always include provisions to preserve data, databases, and systems. These systems are often automated, and if their custodians are not told to halt or change a process, they may be inadvertently overwriting or deleting valuable information.
  3. Request Raw (not summarized) Data
    You may fear requesting data because of its size or complexity. However, allowing opposing counsel to summarize data for you gives them the opportunity to make assumptions that may be favorable to them – and unfavorable to you.
  4. Combine Different Datasets
    Pairing a dataset with other information helps that story come alive. Just as you would compare a company’s public statements to its actual financial well-being, you can do the same with data.
  5. Make Analysis Easy to Understand
    There is no need to overly complicate the analysis. Often a simple count, average, or sum is enough to make a statement without overly complicating the facts.

Contact us for an evaluation.

Think you might have a case that could benefit from data and analytics but are unsure of how to proceed? We can help you draft litigation holds, defend document requests, identify alternative datasets to use, and make sense of the data once you get it. Contact Lacey Keller, our Managing Director for Data Mining & Analytics at 914-730-9063 or lkeller@gryphon-strategies.com, to evaluate your case and make recommendations.