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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Electronic Media and Discovery

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26 and 34 address the production of "electronically stored information" with a much broader definition than merely a hard-copy document in electronic format. The rules specifically use the term information to avoid too narrow a description of what is subject to production, given the rapid development of new technology. These rules clearly include e-mail as a form of electronic information that is subject to identification, retention, collection and possible production.

As media technology advances, information will be stored in many forms, such as MP3 files, jump drives and iPods. Attorneys are obligated under these rules to advise witnesses in a litigation to identify, preserve and ultimately produce electronically stored information. The expert witness should be mindful of the types of information used in preparing for a case and the possibility that they will be subject to electronic discovery rules.

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