Can Ediscovery Tools Make You a Better Lawyer?
As a lawyer in a small firm, ediscovery can give you tools to improve your performance in 4 key ways.
What is ediscovery? Is it any different from what I already do?
As a lawyer in a small law firm, you’re familiar with ‘regular’ discovery. You collect boxes full of documents from your clients, review them, make notes, and then hand them over to opposing counsel who do the same.
Ediscovery (also ‘electronic discovery’, ‘e-discovery’, or ‘edisclosure’) is the computerised version of this. Instead of paper documents, you’re working with computer files like Word documents, PDFs, and emails.
Why should I care about ediscovery?
Your clients work with emails, Microsoft Word files, and PDFs. These ‘electronic’ documents are part of modern business life, so your clients expect you to work with them too. And it’s too slow and inefficient to print them out just to review them (we’ll get to why in a bit).
Also, courts are beginning to order firms to use ediscovery for dispute arbitration. The U.S. (in over 30 states), the UK, and the European Union are passing ediscovery laws. So are Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.
How can ediscovery tools help make me a better lawyer?
Good ediscovery software dramatically improves the way you handle your cases.
- You’re keeping your client’s files in the safest place possible. Where do you put the hundreds (and maybe thousands) of files your client gives you? Cloud-based ediscovery software lets you put them on the high-performance servers of software giants like Google and Amazon. These servers have bank-grade security and protect your files with advanced encryption and state-of-the-art digital security. In contrast, if you keep those files on your own servers they are nowhere near as secure, and you’ll shell out a lot of money to install, maintain, and upgrade hardware and software.
- Your schedule is now flexible. With cloud-based software, your files are accessible via the internet and easy to access wherever you are—on the closest smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC. So you can edit, review, and share them on the go.
- You can work much faster.
- Ediscovery software opens and processes all types of files. Usually, PDFs need to be open in Adobe Acrobat, emails in your web browser or web client (like Firefox, Chrome, etc.), Word documents in Microsoft Word, and so on. If you have to keep opening different file types in their separate apps, how do you search across them? How do you compare a bunch of PDFs to Word files and emails? Ediscovery software lets you open all these files in the same place and helps you search for keywords, names, and dates, across all of them in seconds.
- It’s also quicker and easier to edit, tag, redact, and ‘produce’ documents.No more sitting hunched over reams of paper with a highlighter in your hand.
- Good ediscovery software also uses OCR (optical character recognition) technology to convert scanned document into text the computer can read and search through. So, now you can do in seconds what would have taken you hours.
- You can be more thorough. Computer files and documents have metadata (information about the files) like when they were created, who created them, etc. This data comes in handy when, for example, you need to know the date on which that crucial interview was recorded.
What ediscovery software should I use?
Not all ediscovery software are made equal. Some are complicated and hard to get the hang of, and others are just plain expensive. So, make sure the software you choose is potent but easy to use.
GoldFynch is an example of software designed specifically for small firms trying to land their next big case. So it has all the features we discussed while being extremely affordable. Just $15 per month compared to thousands of dollars per month from other ediscovery providers. And it’s so easy to use. If you’ve learned to use the internet, you’ll learn to use GoldFynch in about 15 minutes.
Visit GoldFynch.com to see for yourself.