Craig Ball never fails to amaze me with how he can eloquently define and describe a tough topic in the world of e-discovery. In his latest column for Law Technology News, Craig deftly explains the nuances with producing e-mail messages in “native” format and additionally what he calls “quasi-native” format.
Microsoft Outlook will natively store e-mail on a local computer in what’s known as a .pst file. Craig describes the .pst file as a “container” file becuase not only does it hold e-mail, but that local .pst file will also hold Outlook’s calendar data, tasks, and contacts. So when opposing counsel requests relevant e-mail in native format and you produce the “raw” .pst file, you would be blindly producing a lot of additional irrelevant, personal, and possibly privileged information.
Craig explains how you can still produce a .pst file to the other side, only after you’ve done your privilege review and “reconstituted” a .pst file to only contain relevant e-mail messages, minus all the calendar appointments, tasks, and contacts. This is sometimes called “quasi-native” format.
Lastly, Craig pinpoints the biggest hurdle in so many circumstances – communication:
“So, talk to each other, and don’t rely on buzzwords like ‘native file format’ unless your meaning is clear. You’ll be amazed how often the question, ‘What do you mean by native file format?’ will be answered, ‘I have no idea. I just heard it was something I should ask for.'”