How to Cut eDiscovery Costs by Culling Data Early

19 November 2019 by UV eDiscovery data

Takeaway: eDiscovery makes it simple to process gigabytes of data. But more data means higher costs. So, start by using some simple tactics to cull data early, and then use your eDiscovery software’s ‘advanced search’ feature to hone in on the files you need.

With eDiscovery data, more isn’t always better. It often just means higher costs.

In the days of paper discovery, you’d have to read through boxes full of papers over days and days. Now, all that data sits on tiny hard drives, and instead of reading through it all, we can find the keywords we want in seconds. But all this comes at a cost. It costs money to store your data and keep it safe. It costs money to load it into your eDiscovery software and process it all. And even with the best eDiscovery tools, you can still end up reading through a lot of irrelevant stuff.

What we need is a change in strategy

The old strategy was: “There’s so much data, and it’s so easy to get. So, let’s get it all!” Instead, the new time-saving and cost-effective strategy is much more targeted. We ask, “What data do we really need?

1. Start by cutting down how much data you collect

You want enough data to build a case, but not enough to overwhelm and distract you. So, start by working with opposing counsel. You may be going up against them in court, but try to discuss things openly with them and negotiate the amount of data you’ll collect, review, and produce. It’ll save a lot of work later. Plus, they’ll let you focus on the case, instead of constantly disputing your methodology. And if you’ve shown eDiscovery competence upfront (by being direct and open), courts are less likely to listen to objections from opposing counsel later on.

2. Next, collect the right kind of data

The trick is to find the custodians with the most responsive files. Here are some simple tactics that many attorneys find useful:

  • Talk to as many people as possible to get a comprehensive list of sources. Talk to the IT team, too, if they have one.
  • Learn your clients’ slang. For example, if you’re searching for emails to Robert, but everyone calls him ‘Bob,’ you’ll likely miss critical email discussions. Similarly, people may have nicknames for landmark events. Or they may have a code word for their boss.
  • How do they use their data? Can you see patterns in the way they use and store email, Word documents, internet downloads, texts, etc.? They’ll help you root out overlooked data niches.
  • What kind of data do they have? Sample some of their documents so you know the type of information you’ll be dealing with.

3. Finally, use your eDiscovery search engine to find the files you need.

Even after being so careful, you’ll have hundreds (or thousands) of files that are dead ends. This is when you’ll use your eDiscovery search engine to weed them out:

  • Use a ‘quick search’ to cast a broad net. It’ll let you search for keywords, names, topics, dates, file names, file types, metadata, etc.
  • Use an ‘advanced’ search to get more specific results. Here, you’ll be using keyword combinations. So you can 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.
  • Save time by testing 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.
  • Make sure you can save your searches. After having spent so much time testing a search, you’ll want to make sure you can save it. The best eDiscovery applications let you save your searches so you or your team can reuse them with a single click.

Need eDiscovery software with a powerful search engine? Try GoldFynch.

It’s a fresh, adaptable eDiscovery application with all the features that a discerning small-to-medium size law firm needs.

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s much 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 simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy 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 100 GB, and more) and don’t waste money on space you don’t need.
  • You can 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. It’s designed, developed, and run by the same team. So, its technical support isn’t outsourced. Which means you get prompt and reliable service.

Want to learn more about GoldFynch?