Cloud eDiscovery: How It's Helping Overworked Solo and Small-Firm Lawyers Handle Their Caseloads
Small and solo law firms often make a simple mistake: They assume that because their cases are small, they don’t need eDiscovery software. Find out why that’s wrong and how Cloud eDiscovery can save you from drowning in data.
Small and solo law firms need to approach eDiscovery differently.
Big firms have large cases, which always come with large budgets. They can afford expensive eDiscovery software. And they can install specialized on-premise hardware (large firms usually have an IT team). In contrast, smaller firms (i.e., with 2-15 lawyers) handle smaller cases and have smaller budgets to spend on eDiscovery. They need eDiscovery solutions that are tailored to these unique requirements.
Small law firms handle small cases, but it’s not as simple as that.
There are other factors involved:
- Your client maybe small business, but the case may not be. You’ve had a good client for many years. This client is getting sued or has been issued a subpoena for emails. The case might still be ‘small’, but the data has increased exponentially. What are your options? Turn your client down, because you have no system in place to deal with emails? Send them to a bigger firm? You’ve just lost a valued client because you couldn’t deliver in their time of need. they might never come back.
- Your cases are small, but there are many of them. With each case, you may only need to draft a letter, call some key people, or talk your client through the legal side of a business issue. And there won’t be much data involved. Perhaps 10 documents, a few emails, and some contracts and invoices. Each case on its own is easily handled and there isn’t much data to store. But you’re never dealing with just one case. When you have 10 or more cases active at any given time, things get tricky.
- You archive old cases, and this archive grows over the years: You resolve cases through mediation, litigation, or arbitration. But they are still relevant for unrelated but similar cases. So, you’ll archive them. And as this archive grows, where do you store all the data?
- Some cases get reopened after many years: When you take them out of the archive, it’ll take a while to reorient yourself.
- Some cases start small but grow quickly. They could even become priority cases. And you won’t know in advance.
So, if you don’t plan ahead, you’ll struggle.
As cases grow, you’ll find it harder to keep all the information in your head. Once you cross about 1000 pages of text, you’ll need computers to help keep track of everything. What’s more, you’ll need to share your data with the rest of your team. And when you go to trial you’ll need to keep track of everything about your data: what you’ve got, where you got it from, and what has/hasn’t been produced for trial.
The answer? Have a system in place to handle eDiscovery. Even for the smallest cases.
By doing things right, from the start, you’re ready to adapt to fast-growing cases, or dormant ones that have been reopened. A Cloud-based eDiscovery system will help you stay organized and trial-ready. It’ll give you:
- Somewhere to store your data: I.e., multiple small cases, some of which have grown over time.
- A way to process the data: I.e., to preserve, organize, search, tag, and produce files.
- A way to share the data with your team and clients. So that your team is ready for trial. Especially when opposing counsel makes a defense or counterclaims.
Don’t have an eDiscovery system? No problem.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Step 1: Scan all case documents.
You need to make all your data electronic. That’s the most efficient way to store it. It saves space, is much easier to organize, and you can process it much faster. So, scan all your documents – they’ll become PDF files. Then put them into carefully organized folders on your computer, along with the other electronic documents in your case – e.g., Word documents, Excel sheets, emails, etc.
Step 2: Upload your files to the Cloud.
Storing them in the Cloud is better than storing them on your PC or a personal server. It’s affordable (no installations needed), easy to share, and safe. Find out more about the Cloud here.
Simple Cloud-storage options are Google Drive or Dropbox. But over the long term, it’s worth finding a Cloud-based eDiscovery app to store your data for you. It’ll simplify eDiscovery considerably. Let’s see why.
Step 3: Find the right Cloud-based eDiscovery app.
With the right app, you have a one-stop solution for eDiscovery. It’ll let you collect and upload your data quickly and easily. It’ll store your data in the Cloud. And it’ll help you do key eDiscovery tasks like searching, tagging, redacting, and producing your files.
Here are some questions to ask when choosing your 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.
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 lawyers are talking about it:
- 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 $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.