Struggling to Keep Up With FOIA Demands? County and City Governments Use This Quick & Affordable Solution

14 June 2018 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery small-law-firm FOIA

Respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demands, quickly and cheaply by repurposing a next-generation eDiscovery Software. It’ll help you gather, sort through, and release your data – quickly and affordably.

“What are you hiding?”: A prickly question you might face if you delay releasing FOIA data.

Delay too long in releasing requested documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and you’ll be accused of one of two things. Either they’ll say you’re hiding something. Or they’ll say you’re stalling while you doctor the data. And this’ll probably lead to FOIA litigation against you.

But you have legitimate reasons for delaying.

You don’t have the resources to handle the multiple requests you’re facing at any given time. And if you turn to experts for help, it’ll cost too much (upwards of $50,000) and will take too long (about 3 months) by the time the quotes and RFPs are in. Plus, you’ll lose some control over the data.

So, what’s the solution? Find an affordable eDiscovery app.

You could try to streamline your existing systems, but that’ll get you only so far. Instead, use an affordable eDiscovery app. When attorneys prepare for trial, their review work is pretty much the same as how you review your FOIA cases. They need to collect and organize vast quantities of electronic data, like Word documents, PDFs, Excel sheets, emails, etc. They then need to search this data for relevant files to build their case. And when they find the right files, they’ll have to tag important information and redact privileged content. A competitive market of electronic discovery (eDiscovery) apps has sprung up to help attorneys with this. So, why not leverage it for FOIA requests?

A next-generation eDiscovery app is the perfect solution to your problem.

Rather than purchasing an expensive annual license for FOIA software, just re-purpose an eDiscovery app. The latest generation of apps have been designed for small and mid-size law firms, and so they’ve got all the benefits your small/mid-size county or city needs.

Next-gen eDiscovery apps are affordable.

They’ve been around for more than a decade. And app-designers have had time to get efficient. They’ve figured out the basic features you’ll need and have trimmed the excess. This saves money. So, a next-gen eDiscovery app costs much less than the usual, expensive FOIA software.

Next-gen eDiscovery apps are easy to use.

If you can use Windows and the internet, you’ll figure out these apps in minutes – no training required. And they’re usually Cloud-based (learn more about the Cloud, here) so:

  • You won’t have to install anything.
  • You can use them even if your FOIA case grows large – the Cloud gives you near-unlimited storage.

Next-gen eDiscovery apps are loaded with all the key features you’ll need.

So it’ll take hours (rather than months) to get your work done:

  • Files get processed automatically: Just drag-and-drop them into the app and it’ll sort out common problems like finding and deleting duplicates. And it’ll extract file metadata (what is metadata?). Plus, if you’ve scanned documents, the app’s automatic OCR (optical character recognition) converts those scanned images into text files that can be searched and tagged. Find out more about how automatic processing will save you time.
  • Access all files from within the same app. Usually, you’ll have to open each file in its parent app. So, Microsoft Word for word documents, Adobe for PDFs, Outlook for emails, etc. If you’re trying to look for the same information simultaneously in a Word document, a PDF, and an email, you’ll be switching between 3 or more windows. Very annoying. Instead, you can now open them all from within your eDiscovery app. Much faster and less messy.
  • Use ‘advanced searches’ (sophisticated searching) to find what you need. You can search for dates, keywords, email senders/recipients, etc. And when you find the files you need, it’s super easy to tag and redact them. Learn more about how advanced searches can help you sort through files fast.
  • Prepare your files for sharing, with a single click. The app will convert them into a common format (e.g., into PDFs) and even stamp/number them to help you order everything.
  • Share files via the app. So, you won’t need to download and email them separately. This makes things so much more convenient and saves time for everyone involved – even the recipients. Learn more about how easy it is to share files.
  • Your data stays safe. Instead of being stored on in-house (on-premises) servers, they’re stored securely in the ‘Cloud’ – i.e., a well-protected network of thousands of interconnected servers owned and leased out privately by software giants like Amazon and Google. Since these giants use Cloud-servers for their own data too, they use a higher level of security than you could afford with in-house servers. So your data is safe from prying eyes. Learn more about why the Cloud is the best place to store your data.

    So what’s a good a next-generation eDiscovery app? Try GoldFynch.

It’s perfect for small to mid-size counties and cities like yours. It has all the above features, plus some bonus ones: