eDiscovery: Where Do I Even Begin? The Quick-Start Guide For Your Small Law Firm

16 December 2018 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery small-law-firm affordable

Takeaway: eDiscovery doesn’t have to be intimidating. The trick is to find affordable (starting at $27 a month), Cloud-based eDiscovery software that’s designed for small law firms like yours.

“How is eDiscovery going to help my firm?”

Businesses today run on electronic data. Things like emails, Word documents, Excel sheets, PDFs, etc. So, legal ‘discovery’ has to go electronic too. You’ll be using eDiscovery (electronic discovery) to collect, process, store, review, and produce all this electronic data. Luckily, eDiscovery is pretty straightforward if you approach it right. And it’s better than older ‘paper’ discovery, because:

  • It’s fast. You won’t spend hours sifting through thousands of files for evidence. Instead, you’ll use your eDiscovery software to search for keywords and find files in seconds.
  • It saves space. Instead of boxes (and often, rooms) of files, everything sits on a computer server.
  • You get bonus information. When you create a document on your computer, the app 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’s extremely useful in winning cases. For example, say your client says she was home at 8 PM. How can you prove it? Well, you check the metadata of a text message she sent. It’ll confirm that she sent the message at 8:05 PM. And the phone’s GPS location has logged the phone’s location at the time she sent the message. There’s your proof! Learn more about metadata.

Learn more about the steps of eDiscovery.

“Do I really need eDiscovery software? Can’t I just make do with what I already have?”

You can get your work done without eDiscovery software. But it’s so much more complicated. For example, say you’re reviewing your case files.

  • You first want to see what you’ve got. So, you start opening documents. You have Word Documents, PDFs, and emails. So you start Microsoft Word for the Word documents, Adobe Reader for the PDFs, and Outlook for the emails. And you keep switching between these 3 windows as you look at the different files.
  • You now want to search your files for keywords. Say you’re searching for the ‘Anderson meeting’. Well, you’ll first search your Word documents in their window. Then you’ll search the PDFs. And finally the emails. Three separate searches for related documents. And you’re switching back and forth between windows again, as you start threading these files together to build your case.

With specialized eDiscovery software, things are so much simpler.

  • To see what you’ve got, just open your eDiscovery window. You can open all files (Word, PDF, email, etc.) from that same window. No back-and-forths.
  • To search your files, you use a single search bar. So in one shot, you’ll pull up all ‘Anderson meeting’ Word documents, PDFs (scanned files included), and emails. And you’ll review them all from the same window. It’s that simple.

Learn more about why you need eDiscovery software.

“How much will eDiscovery cost me?”

Not that much, actually. The best eDiscovery applications (like Goldfynch, introduced below), are very cost-effective. You don’t have to install anything, so it’s free to set up. And you pay as little as $27 a month for a 3 GB case. That’s for your eDiscovery provider to process your files and store them in the Cloud. And of course, your software will let you search, tag, redact, and produce your files.

Learn more about eDiscovery pricing.

“What if I want someone to take care of eDiscovery for me?”

The best eDiscovery applications are easy to use. It’ll take you just minutes to figure things out. But if you’d still rather have someone else do the grunt work, there are options:

  1. Hire an eDiscovery professional to handle everything. They’ll have a background in information science/technology. As well as a basic understanding of the law. So, they’ll help you collect, review, and produce your electronic data. And they’ll handle this data properly – taking care to preserve the metadata. They’ll also ensure you stick to the right eDiscovery ethical standards, and keep pace with eDiscovery court rulings.

  2. Hire a team to help you review files, only: Here, a team of outside attorneys helps you review your eDiscovery documents. They’ll work fast, save you money, and free up your team to spend time on more important things. Learn more about managed reviews.

“How do I choose the right software for my firm?”

When searching for eDiscovery software, keep the following in mind:

  • Your software should be easy to use. Which means a simple, clean look – you should be able to figure out what everything is, without too much effort. And basic actions should be intuitive.
  • It should be Cloud-based. So your files are backed up safely and you can access them from anywhere
  • It should have a clear, up-front pricing plan. You don’t want to be hit with hidden costs at the end of the month. Or get caught by sneaky pricing traps.

Read the 3-step guide to choosing eDiscovery software.

Need affordable eDiscovery software? Try GoldFynch.

GoldFynch is a next-generation eDiscovery application that prioritizes things that matter to small law firms.

  • Pay just $27 per month for a basic 3 GB case. That’s significantly less–every month–than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars less than many others. Instead of using per-GB pricing, it uses fixed-volume pricing with a per-GB rate for comparison. (See how simple the pricing scheme is, on the GoldFynch website.)
  • It’s a flat, prorated rate. So it’s simple to budget for it.
  • Pricing is all-inclusive: So, you don’t need to pay to ‘unlock’ premium features. You’ll have the full power of GoldFynch even with a starter case.
  • Got a small case that might become a large one later? GoldFynch uses cloud eDiscovery to scale 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.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. Since it runs in the Cloud, 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?

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