Why eDiscovery is Like Detective-Work [Plus, the Fixable Mistake Your Small Law Firms Might Be Making]

03 March 2019 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery affordable small-law-firm

Takeaway: Many small law firms forget that eDiscovery is the detective-work of uncovering the ‘story’ of your case. So, find eDiscovery software that’s Cloud-based, quick to set up, easy to use, scalable, and affordable.

eDiscovery is like detective work: What you’re doing is uncovering a story.

Yes, you have to process a lot of data. And yes, there’s a technical side to it. But many small law firms forget that eDiscovery is really about exploring the ‘story’ of the case. That is: What happened? When and how? 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 keep coming back to this story. It’s the ‘flow’ of eDiscovery.

As you explore your case and speak to clients and opposing counsel, you’ll get new information that might change the story. So, you’ll keep refining it and use it to stay on track. The story guides you and saves you from drowning in data. It’ll tell you which custodians’ data matters, what kind of data you’ll need, how much of it there is, and where to get it. It’ll help you choose keywords to search for. And these search results will give you new keywords and clues to work with. As you do this, you’ll find a ‘flow’ to eDiscovery. And it’s this flow that builds you a solid, defensible case.

Part of the flow is also setting up an eDiscovery protocol.

You’ll need to ask the right questions at each stage of eDiscovery. For example:

  • To preserve data: Does everyone knows about your ‘litigation hold’? Do you know enough about your client’s data retention policy? Are they preserving metadata?
  • To gather data: What kind of data does your client have? Where is it stored? Who has the responsive files? How are you going to get these files onto your system?
  • To search data: You’ll need to start testing search terms. So, are your searches catching too many irrelevant documents? Or are there too few results? Tweak the search term and try again. You’ll keep doing this till you build the right search.
  • To protect data, you’ll need security – both physical (CCTV and alarm systems for your office) and virtual (firewalls, encryption, antivirus software, etc.). Alternatively, you can store your data in the Cloud with its bank-grade security.
  • To produce data, you’ll need to figure out if you’re producing files as PDFs/TIFF images, or in their native form.

Learn more about the eDiscovery questions to ask.

To stay with the flow, you’ll also need the right eDiscovery tools.

Things like:

  • A powerful search engine: It’ll handle basic keyword searches – e.g., finding the name ‘John’ in a group of emails. But it’ll also need to run ‘advanced’ searches. Here, it uses ‘operators’ (e.g., AND, OR, NOT) to connect these keywords. So, you can in effect ask it to, “Find all emails John Anderson sent Sally Nedry, which mention the Pfizer meeting. And which were sent before 2015.” Learn more about advanced searches.
  • Smart tags: Think of a tag as a virtual post-it. With paper documents, you stick post-its to key pages, so that you can easily find them again. With electronic documents, you use tags. They’ll pull up related files and content with a single click. And it makes it easy to produce them too.
  • Ways to collaborate: Your team will be working together on the case. Which is another reason to use Cloud eDiscovery software. This way, your data is in the Cloud, and your team can access it simultaneously – from anywhere.
  • Ways to get help. Got too much on your plate? Good eDiscovery applications offer ‘managed’ reviews. Here, a team of outside attorneys review your eDiscovery documents for you. The more popular teams are highly qualified, experienced, and affordable. And they free up your team to handle more important tasks. Learn more about managed reviews.

So, where can you get these tools?

You’ll need to find the right software. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing eDiscovery software.

  • How big are my cases, on average? If they’re just a few hundred files (less than a GB), then any software will do. But if your cases get larger, make sure your software can scale up too.
  • Do I have an IT team? If not, you want software that is quick (and simple) to set up, is easy to use, and has good tech support.
  • What is my budget? Remember, you have options. So be honest with yourself about how much you’re willing to spend. It’s possible to get powerful but cost-effective software. The trick is to find one that focuses on the basics. Anything more and you’re paying for features you’ll never use.
  • Will I need to access my files from more than one computer? If so, make sure you get Cloud eDiscovery software. That way, you can use it from work, home, or even on-the-go. All you’ll need is a laptop and an internet connection.

8 Tips for Finding Low-Cost eDiscovery Software for Your Small Law Firm.

Looking for affordable eDiscovery software? Check out GoldFynch.

It’s a cost-effective Cloud eDiscovery application designed for small law firms like yours. Here’s why people are talking about it.

  • It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less–every month–than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars less than many others. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is easy to understand and readily available on the website.
  • It’s simple to budget for. GoldFynch has a flat, prorated rate. With legacy software, your bill changes depending on how much data you use.
  • 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.
  • It can handle even the largest cases. 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.
  • It’s easy to book a ‘managed’ document review. You can do it from within the app, with a single click.
  • Access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud. And you can monitor its servers here.
  • You won’t have to worry about technical stuff. GoldFynch is designed, developed and run by the same team. So, the technical support isn’t outsourced. Which means prompt and reliable service.