"In the last decade, electronic records have taken over the business world. Just as e-mail has become the preferred method of business communication for nearly everyone, financial records, legal documents and work assignments are now kept primarily—and sometimes solely—in electronic form. Electronic records and e-mails are widely accepted for many important business communications that previously required physical signatures or paper documentation and the proliferation of electronic records in the business world is reflected in recent statistics on e-mail usage. According to research from the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information Management and Systems, more than 93 percent of all corporate data is created electronically and e-mail is accepted as written confirmation of approvals or orders in nearly 80 percent of organizations.
The proliferation of electronic records was one of the catalysts behind the December 2006 e-discovery amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that require companies to know where electronically stored information (ESI) including e-mails, spreadsheets, Word documents, image files and more are kept and make that information available to the other party if reasonably accessible. In addition, the Rules set new requirements for the parties to meet and discuss what ESI will be considered during the trial."