4 eDiscovery Review Tools that Help You Work Faster

01 November 2019 by Nelson ediscovery review redaction

Takeaway: Make sure your eDiscovery has these 4 document review tools: (1) ‘Quick searches’ with many ‘search by’ options, (2) ‘Advanced searches’ that you can save, (3) ‘Tags’ that you can apply to entire file families, (4) Redaction that’s thorough, even with OCRed files.

Does your eDiscovery software have these review tools?

Most applications have the basic tools you’ll need. But they’re often missing crucial elements. Take a look at the list below and notice the important tweaks that make a big difference.

1. ‘Quick searches’ with many ‘search by’ options

The eDiscovery ‘search’ is a tool that’s changing modern law. With regular ‘paper’ discovery, you’d spend days reading through boxes full of paper files. Now, you can run an eDiscovery search to sift through all the same data in seconds.

Pro tip: Make sure your software has many ‘search by’ options. It’ll help you work much faster.

When you upload documents, your eDiscovery software spots keywords, dates, file names, and other important file information. Which means you have many search options:

  1. Search by keywords: Perfect when you’re looking for a specific topic or keyword – like a recent “deposition” or references to the client “Lisa.”
  2. Search by dates: Great for when you’re zeroing in on a particular month or year.
  3. Search by email metadata: When you send an email, your computer records a bunch of information about it. Things like who created it, when they created it, when it was last opened, etc. And you can use this metadata (i.e., data about data) to refine what you’re searching for. Learn more about metadata.
  4. Search by file name: Save time by going straight for the file you want.
  5. Search by file type: Most cases have a mix of Word documents, PDFs and emails. Rule out entire categories using the ‘search by file type’ option.
  6. Search by Bates Number: If someone references a page in your production, use this search option to find it immediately.

2. ‘Advanced searches’ that you can save

With simple searches, you enter a single keyword. With an advanced search, you use many keywords to give your software a complex command. Like, ‘Find all emails from John Anderson to Sally Nedry about a severance package, but not those from 2015.’ Here, you’re connecting the keywords ‘John Anderson,’ ‘Sally Nedry,’ ‘severance package,’ and ‘2015.’ And you’re doing it through a complex equation. But the best eDiscovery applications simplify this process and make it intuitive. Learn more about advanced searches.

Pro tip: Make sure your software lets you save your searches

Say you searched the 8000 files in your case for a particular phrase, and you get 400 ‘hits’. How many of those hits are relevant? And how much time will it take to figure that out? Instead, what if you used the same search term – as a test – on the files from just one custodian? Say that’s 50 files with 10 hits. Now it takes much less time to figure out if your search term is pulling up too much irrelevant material. That’s why it pays to test your searches. Use them on small samples of data, and keep tweaking them till you get more relevant files than irrelevant ones. Only then use them on the thousands of files in your case. And since all this takes time, your eDiscovery application needs to let you save searches once you’ve perfected them.

3. ‘Tags’ that you can use on entire file families

Think of a tag as a virtual post-it. With paper documents, you stick post-its to key pages, so it’s easy to find them again. With electronic documents, you use tags. They’ll pull up related files and content with a single click. They’ll make it easy to ‘produce’ these files too. And they’ll help your team stay organized.

Pro tip: Make sure your software lets you tag ‘file families’

File families (or document families) are groups of associated files. The primary file in this group is called the ‘parent’, and the others, the ‘children’. Take emails, for example. The email itself is the ‘parent’, and the attachments are the ‘children’. If you’re manually tagging each file, it’s easy to split up these file families mistakenly. So, make sure your eDiscovery software gives you the option to tag them all in one shot.

4. ‘Redaction’ that’s thorough, even with OCRed files

Many of your documents will have privileged information that needs to be kept private. Redacting this text might seem straightforward: Just draw a black box over the sensitive paragraph, right? This is what your eDiscovery software does, but there’s a bit more to it. For example, it can’t just ‘place’ the redaction box over the sensitive text. It needs to anchor it securely. Otherwise, someone could just ‘cut and paste’ the box out of the document and read whatever is underneath.

Pro tip: Make sure your redaction tool can handle OCRed files

Are you using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on a PDF? If so, your redaction tool needs to catch both the original PDF and the newly generated text file. If it misses one, your sensitive information might mistakenly slip into a production.

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