5 Simple Tips to Keep eDiscovery Cheap for Small Law Firms
Many small law firms worry about the costs of eDiscovery. But when done right, eDiscovery can save you money. Here are 5 tips for keeping eDiscovery cheap.
Many small law firms worry about the costs of eDiscovery.
Most businesses use Microsoft Word files, PDFs, and emails instead of paper documents. So, electronic discovery (e-discovery or eDiscovery) is becoming essential, even in smaller cases. Also, countries all over the world are passing eDiscovery laws and protocols. With such significant changes in motion, small law firms worry about adapting.
But eDiscovery can end up saving you money.
eDiscovery technology can help fix inefficiencies in the way you work. Take ‘producing’ documents, for example. Firms used to scan documents, convert them to TIFFs or PDFs, create a database, and then ship those files to opposing counsel, via physical disks. Now, you’d work in the Cloud (explained in a bit) and just link people to it.
Here’s how to keep eDiscovery cheap…
Do eDiscovery right and it’ll cut out unnecessary costs and help your firm spend less. So, are 5 tips:
1) Understand how your client manages and stores electronic data.
What kinds of data do they store? Where do they store it (e.g., different laptops and PCs)? How much will it cost to gather it all for eDiscovery? And do they have an IT team that can help? Creating a game plan before you start the ‘collection’ phase of eDiscovery will save you a lot of time and money. You’ll be able to make specific requests for information, so your clients won’t have to try and figure things out on the go.
2) Make sure your client knows what information to keep and what to delete.
Does your client have a formal ‘document retention’ policy? (I.e., a clear set of rules about what to keep and what to destroy.) If not, make sure they get one as soon as possible. Because, if they’ve been storing too much data unnecessarily (e.g., emails with no real content), it’ll waste time and money. You’ll have to cull hundreds of GBs just to get to the 10 GBs that matter. On the other hand, if they don’t keep enough information, you’ll likely miss something vital. Which will complicate things in court.
3) Keep metadata safe.
When you create a document on your computer, the app you’re using (e.g., Microsoft Word) records a whole bunch of information about it. Things like who created it, when it was created, when it was last opened, etc. This ‘data about data’ (i.e., metadata) is a digital footprint which tracks the history of the document. And it can make or break your case. For example, if you’re searching for that incriminating email sent in 2015, your eDiscovery app uses the ‘date’ metadata field to find the email for you.
The problem is, metadata is fragile. So, here’s what you can do to protect it:
- Keep electronic files in their ‘native’ format. So, keep emails as emails and Word documents as Word documents. If you print them out, you lose metadata.
- Make copies of files you’re going to transfer, **so you have a backup if you lose their metadata. And don’t email documents if you need their metadata intact. Instead, ZIP the documents and transfer them using secure FTP. Or copy them using specialized software like RoboCopy.
- Use FTK Imager to open and preview eDiscovery files. It protects their metadata.
4) Find a simple but fast eDiscovery app.
Powerful, easy-to-use software helps you work quicker. Which means more billable hours. So, find an app that sets up quickly, is easy to learn how to use and has good technical support. You also want it to be affordable. The trick here is to look for something simple. Many ‘advanced’ apps are packed with unnecessary features that make them more expensive. For example, ‘predictive coding.’ This is where the software looks for patterns in the way you review and label files and then makes suggestions automatically. It’s exciting, cutting-edge stuff. But a small firm like yours won’t need it.
5) Store your data in the Cloud.
Cloud hosting has been around for a long time. In fact, if you use Dropbox, Google Drive, or any Apple product, then you’re already in the Cloud. Software giants like Amazon and Google lease storage and computing power to businesses all over the world. And thousands of their interconnected servers form a ‘cloud.’ Cloud technology is great because you get to use high-powered severs, with none of the usual investments or maintenance. Plus, the more people that use it, the less the costs for each.
So, how do you get low-cost eDiscovery? Try ‘GoldFynch.’
It’s a new breed of fresh, young, adaptable eDiscovery apps. And it’s designed especially for small law firms like yours. Here’s why it’s cool:
- No set-up required. It runs in the Cloud, 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.
- You can work from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection.
- It’s easy to use, just like any other app on your phone.
- It lets you do eDiscovery essentials. Like, searching, tagging, and ‘producing’ files. And redacting privileged information.
- You get the best technical support. It’s designed, developed and run by the same team. So, the technical support isn’t outsourced. Which means prompt and reliable service.
- 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.