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A Computer Forensic Specialist Can Give Lawyers a Leg Up in Business Disputes

by | Feb 21, 2024

computer forensics

As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, lawyers managing business-related disputes are grappling with an ever-more complicated digital landscape. 

By collaborating with a computer forensic specialist, lawyers can gain a powerful ally in navigating the complexities of digital evidence. A forensic examiner can help lawyers strengthen their positions, uncover hidden truths, and ultimately achieve favorable outcomes for their clients.

In this post, we take a closer look at what computer forensic specialists do and the ways lawyers litigating a business dispute can leverage their work.

What Do Computer Forensics Specialists Do?

Computer forensics is a specialized branch of digital investigation that involves the systematic examination, analysis, and preservation of electronic evidence stored on computers and digital devices. The primary goal of computer forensics is to uncover, document, and analyze digital artifacts to support legal proceedings or investigations. 

During a computer forensic examination, specialists (also known as examiners) will employ a range of techniques to recover, authenticate, and interpret data. They help lawyers resolve cases by shedding light on issues such as intellectual property theft, financial fraud, employee misconduct, and contractual breaches. A computer forensic specialist’s findings can significantly impact the outcome of a case, giving lawyers the ability to make informed decisions and present compelling arguments based on concrete digital evidence. 

Computer Forensics Examinations and Business Disputes

In business disputes, computer forensic specialists assist lawyers with:

  1. Digital Evidence Preservation: A computer forensic examiner can assist lawyers in preserving and maintaining the integrity of electronic evidence—a critical issue in a business dispute. This includes securing data from various sources such as computers, servers, emails, and other digital devices.
  2. Data Recovery and Reconstruction: Attorneys may find that digital evidence has been destroyed or manipulated. Computer forensic experts employ advanced techniques to recover and reconstruct lost or tampered data. 
  3. Theft of Intellectual Property: Business disputes may arise from cybersecurity incidents, such as data breaches or intellectual property theft. Computer forensic examiners can investigate and identify the source and scope of these breaches.
  4. Digital Forensic Analysis for Fraud Cases: Fraudulent activities, including financial fraud, can leave digital trails that are detectable through forensic analysis. Computer forensic specialists can trace financial transactions, uncover hidden assets, and provide lawyers and litigants with compelling evidence in fraud-related business disputes.
  5. Computer Forensic Expert Witness Testimony: Computer forensic examiners can serve as expert witnesses in court proceedings, and offer testimony that can help explain complex technical concepts to judges and juries—thus enhancing a lawyer’s ability to present a compelling case based on digital evidence.
  6. E-Discovery Support: Electronic discovery is a crucial aspect of modern legal proceedings. Computer forensic examiners can assist lawyers in efficiently identifying, collecting, and reviewing electronic documents and communications relevant to the dispute.

Strict Ethics, Sound Methods

To ensure evidence retains its integrity and admissibility, a computer forensic specialist must formulate a forensically sound approach. This includes following industry best practices and protocols to confirm facts and eliminate false assumptions and making certain that legal and ethical obligations are met. 

As an example, a case might require investigation of an individual’s health records. The computer forensic specialist must be sure to comply with the relevant privacy laws and obtain consent to access and utilize the information. Otherwise, the accuracy and reliability of the data and its admissibility in court may be called into question. 

By following strict ethical and legal standards and using sophisticated technology tools and investigative techniques to retrieve, preserve, and analyze electronic evidence, skilled computer forensic specialists can uncover hidden or deleted data, track digital footprints, and assess the authenticity of electronic documents—all of which can give attorneys a significant strategic advantage in business-related disputes.

To learn more about FSS’s approach to computer forensic examinations and computer forensic expert testimony, contact us for a consultation or visit our Forensic Technology practice page for additional information.

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