How to Stop Being Intimidated by eDiscovery: 3 Simple Steps Your Small Law Firm Can Take Right Now

21 March 2018 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery small-law-firm IT

Does eDiscovery seem too complicated? Well, it isn’t. The trick is to ease into it. Here’s how. And you don’t need to be an IT pro to do it.

Many small-firm attorneys are intimidated by eDiscovery.

They’re worried it’s too technical and complicated. They’ve got a host of questions, like:

  • What exactly is eDiscovery?
  • Do I need it? Can I get by without it?
  • What is eDiscovery software? Is it hard to use? Do I really need to spend money on it?
  • Will I need to learn a lot of new technical stuff? Will I need an IT team? Will I need more advanced computers?
  • Is eDiscovery safe?

So, small firms tend to outsource their eDiscovery.

It seems so much easier to hand things over to experts. After all, you want to practice law, not handle IT stuff. And even when firms try to handle eDiscovery themselves, it’s usually only parts of the process. So, for example, they’ll preserve and collect data, but get experts to do everything else.

The problem with outsourcing is…

  1. It’s expensive. Yes, experts will take it off your hands. But they’ll charge you an arm and a leg for it.
  2. It’s often unsafe. Do you trust the eDiscovery experts? Where are they storing your client’s data? How good are their security measures? Is your data safe from hackers? Or from natural calamities like fires and floods?
  3. It’s slow. You’ll lose a lot of time in back-and-forths with your vendor. And it can be weeks (and sometimes months) before you catch key errors. This makes you significantly less effective. Is that fair to your client?

So, it’s worth learning how to handle eDiscovery yourself.

It’s not as hard as you think. The trick is to start small. So, start with things like compliance investigations or small personal-injury cases. Cases with just a few files to deal with. But instead of handling only parts of their eDiscovery, try handling everything - from start to finish. That way, you can practice the basics without being overwhelmed. And as you practice, you’ll start putting systems in place - like how you handle your client’s data (e.g., what you’ll store and where you’ll store it). These incremental changes will soon add up and give you confidence. For example, if you learn to even halve the number of files you preserve and collect (and you can often cull even more), that’s fewer back-and-forths with your vendor, and more money you’ll save in processing fees.

So, here’s how to ease into eDiscovery:

Step 1: Learn the eDiscovery basics

There’s a lot of information on the net, but here’s a primer:

  • What is eDiscovery? eDiscovery (i.e. electronic discovery) is the process of collecting, sharing, and searching electronically stored information (ESI) - e.g., Microsoft Word files, PDFs, audio files, etc.
  • What are the steps of eDiscovery? You’ll be collecting data, uploading it to a central location (usually via your eDiscovery software), reviewing it (i.e., finding the files you need and tagging/redacting information), and producing it (i.e., converting it into a standard format for opposing counsel to review). Learn more about the steps of eDiscovery.
  • What is an eDiscovery app? It’s software that helps you with all the stages of eDiscovery. It’s tempting to try eDiscovery without specialized software, but this makes your job much harder and in some cases impossible. Learn more about why you need specialized eDiscovery software.
  • What is cloud hosting? Why is it important? Software giants like Amazon and Google lease storage and computing power to businesses all over the world. And their thousands of interconnected servers form a public ‘cloud.’ The more people there are in the Cloud, the less the costs for each. So, it’s the most affordable (and safest) place to store your eDiscovery data. Learn more about cloud-hosting.
  • What are eDiscovery ethics? They are standard practices you’ll need to follow to guarantee the best possible service for your clients. And to keep their data secure. Learn more about eDiscovery ethics.

Step 2: Learn about the ‘flow’ of eDiscovery

As we’ve just seen, there’s a lot to eDiscovery. But it’s important to stay focused on what matters. At its core, eDiscovery is like detective work and there’s a ‘flow’ to it. A case is always built around a ‘story’ (i.e., what happened, why it happened, and who was involved). And you’ve got to keep coming back to this story throughout the eDiscovery process. If you let the technical side of eDiscovery hijack your attention, you’ll stop looking at what matters. And you’ll figure this out too late - when you’re preparing for trial. Learn more about the ‘flow’ of eDiscovery.

Step 3: Get the right eDiscovery app

You probably want to do as little technical stuff as possible. And you can. Just get the right software. The right eDiscovery app will take care of all the computer-related stuff so that you can stay focused on practicing law.

Here are some questions to ask when choosing an eDiscovery app:

  • Is it easy to use? It should take only a few minutes to learn how to use it. And you should be able to start working immediately (i.e., no long signup process or hardware/software to install).
  • Is it in the Cloud? With Cloud-based software, you’ll cut costs, do away with dedicated IT teams, and be able to access your data from anywhere.
  • Is the pricing transparent and up-front? A lot of apps have hidden costs that will mess with your eDiscovery budget.
  • Does it have unnecessary frills? If so, you’re paying extra for features you don’t need. Your small law firm is better off going for ‘simple’ rather than ‘fancy.’ Why you don’t need expensive software.

Learn more about how to choose the right eDiscovery app.

What’s the best eDiscovery app for small law firms? It’s GoldFynch.

GoldFynch is part of a new breed of powerful but easy-to-use eDiscovery apps. And it’s designed especially for small law firms like yours. Here’s why it’s exciting everyone:

  • 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. Perfect for when you’re on the go.
  • It’s easy to use. As easy as any of your other favorite apps.
  • You get the best technical support: Its 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 $27 a month for a basic case. That’s much less-every month-than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars cheaper than many others.

Intrigued? Here’s how you can find out more.