8 Common eDiscovery Mistakes Your Small Law Firm May be Making

07 August 2018 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery small-law-firm

Common eDiscovery mistakes: (1) Not understanding the eDiscovery process, (2) Being disorganized, (3) Losing the ‘flow’ of eDiscovery, (4) Uploading too many files, (5) Not preserving metadata, (6) Trying to search your case without really knowing how, (7) Not asking for help, (8) Choosing the wrong eDiscovery software.

It’s tempting to put off learning about eDiscovery.

Maybe you think it’s too complicated? Or unnecessary? The thing is, businesses run on electronically stored information [ESI] – like emails, PDFs, and Word documents. So, paper files and ‘paper’ discovery aren’t enough. We need ‘electronic’ discovery (eDiscovery or e-discovery).

The good news is that eDiscovery can be simple.

Even the most tech-phobic of us can learn how to do it. We just need to avoid these common mistakes that most small law firms make.

Mistake #1: Not understanding eDiscovery

Don’t jump into eDiscovery without exploring the whole process. From collecting and culling data, to uploading and reviewing it, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do. And if you don’t ground yourself in these basics, it’s easy to make mistakes. So, start off by learning about the stages of eDiscovery.

Mistake #2: Being disorganized in how you handle data

You can waste a lot of time if you don’t handle your data responsibly. For example, if you store your files on multiple computers, it’s easy to lose track of what you have. Which can cost you when you go to trial. So, use a basic eDiscovery checklist to stay organized.

Mistake #3: Losing the ‘flow’ of eDiscovery

With eDiscovery, it’s easy to get lost in the technical stuff. Like collecting, processing, and reviewing data. And we forget about what matters: the ‘story’ of the case. I.e., What happened? Who is involved? What did they do? How are they connected to each other? Why did things happen the way they did? What were the motives? You’ll need to keep coming back to these questions – this story. And you’ll need to refine it (and use it to stay on track) as you speak to clients and opposing counsel. Learn more about the ‘flow’ of eDiscovery.

Mistake #4: Uploading too many files

eDiscovery makes it easy to access and deal with large amounts of data. But just because you can deal with any number of files, it doesn’t mean you should. Remember, more files make eDiscovery more expensive. Because the files need to be hosted somewhere, processed, and reviewed. All of which means time and money. So, learn how to cull as many files as possible, early and efficiently.

Mistake #5: Not preserving metadata

When you create a document on your computer, the application you’re using (e.g., Microsoft Word) records a bunch of information about it. Things like who created it, when they created it, 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’ll help you build an airtight case. Unfortunately, metadata is very fragile. You can destroy it just by opening a file or forwarding an email. So, learn to protect your eDiscovery metadata.

Mistake #6: Trying to search your case without really knowing how

Searching an eDiscovery case is an art. On the one hand, you’re worried about not finding the information you’re looking for. And yet, you also don’t want to waste time finding information you’re not looking for. So, it’s critical that you learn how to make ‘advanced’ (i.e., complex) searches, test your search terms, and avoid rookie mistakes. Learn the basics of searching your case.

Mistake #7: Not asking for help when you need it

Your goal as a small-firm attorney is to handle eDiscovery yourself. But there may be times when you have too many files. And can’t handle eDiscovery review in-house. For those cases, it’s worth using a ‘managed’ document review. Here, you get a team of outside attorneys to review eDiscovery documents on your behalf. The more popular teams are highly qualified, experienced, and affordable. And they’ll help you work quicker and save money. Learn more about managed reviews.

Mistake #8: Choosing the wrong eDiscovery software

Even the smartest attorneys can fall short if they don’t have the right eDiscovery application. The best software is affordable and easy to use. Take, eDiscovery application GoldFynch, for example. It’s designed for small law firms, so it prioritizes the things that are important to you:

  • Pay just $27 per month for a basic 3 GB case. That’s far less–every month–than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars cheaper than many others. GoldFynch’s pricing is transparent and readily available on the website.
  • It’s a flat, prorated rate. So it’s simple to budget for it. With legacy software, the billing is complicated and opaque, and your bill changes depending on how much data you use.
  • It has the best eDiscovery tools: GoldFynch has a very powerful, but easy-to-use search engine. It’s like your own private Google. GoldFynch also lets you do eDiscovery essentials like tagging, redacting, and ‘producing’ files. And it sets up a ‘managed’ document review if you need one.
  • Got a small case that might become a large one later? GoldFynch scales from small to large. So, choose from a range of case sizes (3 GB to 150 GB, and more) and don’t waste money on space you don’t need. Plus, you don’t need to pay to ‘unlock’ premium features. You’ll have the full power of GoldFynch even with a starter case.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. It runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free, fully-functional trial case (0.5 GB of data and processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
  • 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.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?

For more about eDiscovery for small law firms, check out these articles.