How to Handle eDiscovery Emails? A Quick 4-Step Guide for Your Small Law Firm
Takeaway: To handle your eDiscovery emails, (1) Choose the right eDiscovery software, (2) Get the emails into your software, (3) Find, tag, and redact the emails you need, (4) Produce the emails and share your production.
So, you’ve got a bunch of emails to review for eDiscovery?
Here are the 4 steps that will get you from an unsorted archive to a finished ‘production.’
Step 1: Choose the right eDiscovery software.
Do you really need eDiscovery software? Isn’t it cheaper – and just as good – to use email applications like Outlook? Actually – no. Here’s why:
- You can’t do eDiscovery with these applications. Outlook is great for reading and searching your emails. But you can’t tag, redact, and produce them. All of which are essential for eDiscovery. Google Desktop is great at searching for keywords, but not the other stuff. And Microsoft Exchange Server can handle basic eDiscovery, but not PST files (which we’ll discuss later).
- You’ll lose important ‘bonus’ email info. When you send or receive an email, your email application ‘stamps’ it with a bunch of information. Things like who created it, when it was created, when it was sent/received, etc. This ‘data about data’ (i.e., metadata) is a digital footprint which tracks the history of the email. So, for example, when you want to find an email your client sent to a colleague last January, your software scans the ‘date’ metadata field of all your emails. Metadata is valuable and it can help make or break your case. But it’s also fragile. Even a simple thing like forwarding an email modifies its metadata. Email applications like Outlook can’t protect metadata. Which means you lose lots of this ‘bonus’ information that will help you win cases. Learn more about metadata.
GoldFynch is eDiscovery software that’s perfect for email eDiscovery. But even if you choose other software, make sure that it’s quick to set up, easy to use, affordable, has predictable monthly bills, and comes with good technical support.
Step 2: Get the emails into your eDiscovery software
Let’s use GoldFynch, for example.
- For Microsoft Outlook: Outlook stores all your emails together as a PST (Personal Storage Table) file – along with attachments, calendar events, etc. So, just drag-and-drop these PST files into your GoldFynch browser, and GoldFynch readies them for you to use. Learn more about PST files and how to use them in GoldFynch.
- For Gmail: Gmail lets you export all your emails together, as an MBOX file. Learn how to export emails from Gmail.
- For Yahoo!: Yahoo! exports your files directly into GoldFynch. Learn how to export emails from Yahoo!
And the best part? You get unlimited storage space. So, store as many emails as you want. That’s because, instead of downloading the emails onto your computer (with its limited storage space), GoldFynch stores them in the Cloud. What’s the Cloud? Well, tech giants like Google and Amazon have thousands of servers which are networked to form a virtual ‘Cloud.’ GoldFynch stores your data on this highly-secure network. Which means you have near-unlimited storage. And you can access your files from anywhere in the world! All you’ll need is a laptop, an internet connection, and your GoldFynch password. Learn more about cloud computing.
Step 3: Find, tag, and redact emails
GoldFynch lets you do these eDiscovery essentials:
- Find emails. GoldFynch’s search engine is like Google for eDiscovery. Type in a name, an email address, or a keyword to find the emails (and email attachments) you need. GoldFynch even lets you make ‘advanced’ searches. Here, you use keyword combinations to give GoldFynch a complex command. So, you can – in effect – tell it something like, ‘Find all emails from John Anderson to Sally Nedry about a severance package, but not those from 2015.’ Very useful to sort through thousands of emails in seconds. Plus, when you design the perfect advanced search, you can save it. So, you won’t waste time rebuilding it again. Learn pro tips for searching your emails.
- Tag emails. Think of a tag as a sticky note you tack on to emails. It helps you categorize and filter them. As well as pull up related emails for production. Tags don’t modify emails, so add and remove them freely. You can even bulk-tag multiple emails at once.
- Redact emails. Some emails contain sensitive information. For example, things that need to stay between only you and your client. Or trade secrets that they can’t allow competitors to get their hands on. GoldFynch lets you ‘blank out’ this information so that it doesn’t show up in production.
Step 4: Produce and share emails
GoldFynch helps you get your emails ready for court:
- Produce emails. GoldFynch’s Production Wizard guides you through producing your emails. Produce them all or only ones with select tags. Produce them as native emails or as PDFs. And they get Bates-stamped automatically.
- Sharing productions. GoldFynch lets you share productions from within the application. Just enter the email address of the recipient, and she’ll get a link to the shared production. Which she can access via GoldFynch. The great thing is that if you share the production with the wrong person by mistake, you can click a ‘revoke’ button which will invalidate the link you shared.
GoldFynch does more than just email-eDiscovery. It’s a complete eDiscovery package and has some cool features for small law firms like yours.
- Pay just $25 per month for a basic 3 GB case. That’s much less–every month–than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars less 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.
- GoldFynch scales from small to large, since it’s in the Cloud. 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?
For more about eDiscovery for small law firms, check out these articles.
- 4 Ways to Save on eDiscovery: The 80/20 Rule for Your Small Law Firm
- Buying vs. Renting eDiscovery Software For Your Small Law Firm
- 6 Simple eDiscovery Habits to Attract More Clients to Your Small Law Firm
- eDiscovery Ethics: The One Checklist Every Small Law Firm Needs
- How to Land a Big Case as a Small Law Firm