Ediscovery Basics: Has Your Small Law Firm Been Making This Mistake When Sharing ‘Productions’?
Most small law firms download and mail/email their finished ‘productions.’ But this isn’t the best (or safest) way to do things. Here’s why you need to find an ediscovery app that lets you share productions from within the app itself.
Electronic discovery (e-discovery or ediscovery) is much more efficient than ‘paper’ discovery.
In the past, lawyers exchanged boxes full of papers as part of the ‘discovery’ process. Now, with ‘ediscovery,’ they exchange gigabytes of electronic data. Things like Word documents, PDFs, and emails. When handled the right way, this makes things much more efficient. For example, say you wanted to search your files for a keyword. With paper documents, you’d have to skim through them all—underlining relevant passages as you went. But with computer files, a search engine pulls up all occurrences of your keyword. In seconds. And all that information is ready to be tagged, redacted, and produced.
But ediscovery brought with it a whole new set of problems.
A good legal team wasn’t enough anymore. In the early days of ediscovery, you needed custom software to be designed especially for your firm. And you needed an experienced IT team to handle the new hardware and software. All this put ediscovery out of the reach of smaller law firms with limited budgets.
Luckily, ediscovery has become more affordable.
Ediscovery providers got better at figuring out what their customers needed. And the technology available improved. An example of this is the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model. Here, providers run their software in the cloud and charge users a small subscription fee. This drives down costs considerably, and you don’t have to worry about installing and maintaining hardware and software. You just log in via the internet. And log out when you’re done.
But, there’s still room for improvement. Sharing ‘productions’ is an example of this.
What do you do when you’ve ‘produced’ files for a case and want to share that production with colleagues or opposing counsel? Here are the usual options:
- You download the production onto a USB drive and mail it. This wastes time though. And isn’t secure because the production is in a stranger’s hands while it’s being delivered.
- You download the production and email it. Or put it on a file-sharing site. Much easier, but still relatively unsafe. Emails aren’t usually encrypted. And what if you type in the wrong email address by mistake? You have no control over the file once it’s been emailed. And file sharing sites aren’t secure either.
- You give them access to your ediscovery database. This is convenient because it requires no extra work on your part. All you have to do is give them a username and password. With opposing counsel, this puts them on an equal footing with you. They’ll have access to the documents in the same format you reviewed them in. And with the same ediscovery tools you had. But security becomes an issue. Your software needs to limit their access to privileged information and documents. So, a small glitch in the software can compromise your case.
- You give them access to a duplicate ediscovery database. One with only the files that they are allowed to see. This eliminates the problem of mistakenly giving them access to privileged information. But it means a lot of wasted time and energy setting up that database. And it’ll cost a lot too.
But there is a better solution.
The best apps let you share productions from within the app’s interface. Here’s why that’s a good idea:
- It’s highly secure. The best apps use advanced encryption. The kind that banks use. And since you’re sharing from within the app, your production (and your clients’ confidential data) is safe. Contrast that with sending it via un-encrypted mail/email, or uploading it to an insecure file sharing service. Plus, since you’re sharing only the completed production (and not the original files) there’s no danger of anyone reading privileged content.
- It saves time. Your app sends the recipient a link to your production. So, you don’t have to download the production, get it delivered via mail, upload it onto a file-sharing service, or create a duplicate database.
- It saves you money. You’ve already subscribed to the ediscovery service, so sharing the production is free. As opposed to paying to have it mailed, or subscribing to a file sharing service.
- It’s easy to track the production. You’ll get an automated confirmation as soon as your recipient accesses the file. So you’ll know for certain that they’ve got it.
- You keep control of the production. The app sends the recipient a link. But you can invalidate that link at any point. So, made a mistake in the production? Or sent it to the wrong person? No problem. You can revoke access immediately.
GoldFynch is ediscovery software that lets you share productions.
It creates a zip file of the production and links your recipient to it. All from within the app. Your recipient gets to download the file directly or load it as a new case on GoldFynch. And you get an update when she does either.
GoldFynch is cool for other reasons too.
- You don’t have to install anything. It runs off the internet, and you use it through your web browser. So you can start working immediately. No sales calls or emails. And no credit card. Plus, your trial case is free.
- It’s got a great search engine. Tell GoldFynch the keywords, names, dates, etc. that you want it to search for. And tell it what not to search for. Which saves time when you have hundreds (or thousands) of files to sort through.
- It lets you do ediscovery essentials, like tagging files and redacting privileged information. And ‘producing’ files takes just a few clicks.
- Most importantly, it’s affordable. Just $25 a month for a basic case. That’s significantly less—every month—than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars cheaper than many others.