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Preserving Evidence: How We Save Websites for Litigation

January 20, 2016

Modern Techniques for Preserving Websites

Preserving Website Evidence

Proper preservation of website evidence is a critical part of being an effective litigator.

These days, it is often critical for us to preserve content of a website to properly represent our clients. For example, if we are suing a doctor’s office or hospital on your behalf, if there is relevant and useful information on the facility’s website, it is important that we preserve the website and its content before it can be deleted. Here at Lowenthal & Abrams, we use various techniques to save content that is important to your case. In terms of websites, we frequently use a program called HtTrack.

HtTrack & Preserving Websites

The nice thing about HtTrack is that it allows us, with the click of a few buttons, to save an entire website. This software preserves not only the content of the website, but all of the links, both internal and external that are found on it. We use HtTrack to create an entire offline version of the website, to which we can return at any time. I’ll show you how this works using Lowenthal & Abrams’ site.

Beginning the Process

I begin the process by starting the HtTrack program. Then I work through the steps.

 

Preserving Websites for Evidence

1. HtTrack immediately after it is launched.

 

 

Litigation and evidence preservation

2. Name the project and choose where it will be stored.

 

 

preservation of websites for litigation purposes

3. Enter the address(es) of the website(s) you are preserving and click “Next”.

 

 

Using HTTRACK to save websites

4. Choose any special options. You will normally leave this as is. Click “Finish”.

Allow the Program to Run

How Lowenthal & Abrams Preserves Website Evidence

5. Let the process run. The website is now downloading. How long it will take depends on the size of the site. The top right of the image shows how much has been saved. The lower part shows you as each item is scanned and completed. 

 

Viewing the Results

When HtTrack is done, it will offer you the option to see the results. You can return to the results at any time by going to the folder where you downloaded the content and double clicking on index.html. Once you do so you will either be taken to a link in your browser or you will immediately see a downloaded version of the website’s homepage in your browser. If you are taken to a link, click on it and you can browse the site as you normally would. Otherwise, just start browsing.

Seeing Specific Content

If you know exactly what you want to see, you can locate the item by returning to the HtTrack software and finding the specific item.  For example, here you see that HtTrack preserved all of the blog posts. I can look at a specific post, in this case “3 Common Fatal Accidents” simply by clicking on the index file contained within the folder for that blog post.

Reviewing preserved website evidence

7. Showing the results for a specific blog post.

 

Downloaded website evidence

8. Here you see the preserved blog post. The URL at the top of  the image shows you that it has been downloaded to my computer.

Modern Lawyering Requires Modern Tools and Abilities

It is not easy to choose a law firm to help you after you are injured. There are many qualities to consider. One quality to think about is whether your firm and your lawyers truly know how to represent you in this modern era in which we live. Electronic evidence, whether it is a doctor’s website, a defendant’s Facebook page, or some other critical piece of data, is something that your lawyers must know how to access and preserve. If you are looking for a firm that has the experience and know how, both in terms of law and technology, contact Lowenthal & Abrams, today. We are here to help.

LOWENTHAL AND ABRAMS, P.C.

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