Some of the most common complaints I run across when it comes to the eDiscovery process concern the cost and time it takes to handle document review for a case. As I delve into the details of these complaints, I usually find that there’s a good chance that simply doing less would have helped tremendously. By that, I mean simply collecting and/or reviewing less data.
The legal industry has made huge improvements in this area in the years since I first starting working in Litigation Support, but there is still rampant over collecting and over review going on out there. Unfortunately, there always will be some cases that go over the top in this fashion, until such a time as the industry as a whole can come up with better procedures and agree to them.
On the other hand, there are many cases where this over collection and over review is simply a matter of not having the proper tools. With the proper tools, companies can limit what data is being preserved, collected, and reviewed as part of litigation, offering a significant savings of time and money. Let me show you some examples of how AccessData’s eDiscovery platform accomplishes this.
First, eDiscovery offers a centralized collection tool, allowing you to not only collect data from your network and store it in a forensically sound AD1 file, but those collection jobs can be used to search the data source and only collect the data that is relevant to your case, using both inclusion and exclusion filters.
Depending on the source of the data, you’ll have options to search by keyword, and only collect the relevant documents, or search by date range, file extensions, and other metadata. You’ll also have similar options to define what documents should be excluded. The ability to collect just the relevant documents, as defined by your case team, instead of an entire network share, computer hard drive, or mailbox, can result in a much smaller dataset as the case moves forward into the next stages.
Of course, using search terms to identify just the set of data that is going to be needed for a case is just one way the proper tool can help you streamline the process. Because it’s not always possible to do all of your data culling right at the collection phase, you’ll need some other workflows that allow for even more culling later on. Once data has been identified and collected, you may wish to simply wait and see how the case develops before moving forward with loading all of the collections into a review platform, perhaps some of them won’t be needed after all. Even if you do wind up processing all of them, the review tool has options to help you cull down your data as well.
For example, a mailbox may have been collected from Exchange, Lotus Notes, Gmail or other cloud email providers, and now that we know more details about the case, it may be clear that we only really need to be concerned with emails within a certain date range. Our filtering technology makes it easy to identify just those emails, and to go ahead and put them into a Document Group. From there, we can decide that our review team only needs access to that document group, rather than the entire database of documents. Once again, we are using our increasing knowledge of a case as it moves forward, combined with the technology available to us, to decrease the time and money spent on document review.
Of course, our time and money savings don’t stop there in our review platform. With the new 5.0 release, we also have a Technology Assisted Review tool that can be used to help automatically identify relevant documents based on what your reviewers have already told us in the coding panel about the relevant documents as they reviewed a sample of the data.
Finally, because eDiscovery 5.0 has tools for collection, litigation hold, review and production all in one place, using all of these tools can help you be more efficient and spend less time on a case by simply leaving it in place. No longer are you spending time and money copying data to send to a vendor so that it can then be processed for review before going to your outside legal team. They can access the data right here, or even if you do choose to not have them remotely accessing your eDiscovery platform, you can do that processing yourself, export it, and generate load files for your outside counsel to import directly into their review platform.
Clearly, having the right tool can be a contributing factor to ending the curse of going over the top in ediscovery response. It will also help if you can start to consider the amount of data being collected up front, and generate a strategy to help identify relevant data. Obviously, the technology will only do so much without your input here. Whether you want to talk about collecting too much data, reviewing too many irrelevant documents, or making too many copies, they all wind up costing you. Isn’t it time to get some control over this process, and those costs?