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In litigation, the discovery process has always been expensive. With computers and digital technology, though, there are added layers of complexity and cost. Discovery no longer involves just reviewing boxes and boxes of papers. Regardless of the dispute — product liability, employment practices, or directors and officers — discovery now entails exhaustive searches of electronic data. This means sifting through computer hard drives, thumb drives, servers, tapes, e-mail strings, archives, instant messenger dialogue, and so on. Searching electronic data sources consumes huge chunks of time and dollars.

Now let’s consider that 36 billion e-mails are transmitted each day. This pace rises 20 percent annually. Ninety-three percent of all information is now stored digitally, with 70 percent of that never actually printed. A 2007 Kroll survey revealed the following:

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