How to Simplify eDiscovery Review with Notes, Tags, and Case Reports

31 May 2020 by John eDiscovery review notes tags case-reports

Takeaway: You don’t need expensive software to simplify your eDiscovery review. Just make sure your eDiscovery software has these 3 key features: (1) Notes, annotations & comments (to add context to documents), (2) Tags (to help organize and find related files), and (3) Case reports (to get an overview of your data).

Which eDiscovery review features pack the biggest punch?

With important cases, it’s tempting to buy the most expensive eDiscovery software available. But what’s more useful is to find affordable software with the right review features. You want tools that let you focus on the ‘story’ of the case, without having to worry about time-wasting technical details. So, here are three useful tools that will help simplify your eDiscovery review.

1. Notes, annotations, and comments (To add context to documents)

As you review files, you’ll have ideas and observations that you’ll want to jot down. The best eDiscovery applications have three essential features to help you with this.

  1. Notes: Here, you get to add little ‘notes’ to each document you review. This way you can add missing information to the document, or leave behind thoughts for yourself and your teammates. And you’ll be able to add multiple notes to each document, to record a bunch of different ideas as they arise, without having to break your flow.
  2. Annotations: These let you add notes to specific parts of a document. So, you’ll be able to attach more targetted insights to particular paragraphs. And when you’re reviewing documents, you can click on the list of these annotation notes, and you’ll be taken to the corresponding page in the text.
  3. Comments: This feature adds nuance to your review because you’ll be able to comment on the notes and annotations from your teammates. It’s the perfect way to start conversation threads without having to switch to email or flood your inbox.

Think of a tag as a virtual post-it. With paper documents, you stick post-its to key pages so that you can find and categorize them easily. With electronic documents, you use tags. These tags don’t change the documents themselves, but let you pull up relevant files with a single click. And when you’re going through documents, you’ll see all the tags attached to it, which will help orient you quickly. Also, you’ll be able to set up ‘productions’ using tags – either including all files with certain tags, or excluding those files from productions.

Quick tags

Tags are all about speeding up your review, so having ‘quick tags’ was the next logical step. Here, the software has automatically-generated tags for common labels like Privileged, Non-Responsive, Irrelevant, Important, and Confidential. So, you won’t have to keep creating new tags for these regular document categories. Quick tags are a valuable time-saving tool, so make sure your eDiscovery software lets you convert your ‘custom’ tags (e.g., you create a tag ‘ACP’ – Attorney-Client Privilege) into these easier-to-access quick tags.

Group tagging

Files often come in groups called ‘families’. For example, an email (called the ‘parent’ file) may have a bunch of attachments (called the ‘children’). And if you were to tag the email as ‘confidential’, chances are the attachments should be tagged ‘confidential’ too. With group tagging, your eDiscovery software lets you tag entire families with a single click. This saves you time but also keeps you flexible because you can turn off the group tagging feature at any point.

Tag notes

With larger cases, you might forget why you chose a particular tag for a given file. Here’s where tag ‘notes’ come in hand. You get to write a short description and attach it to a tag, to give you and your team context for later. These notes can be specific to a particular file’s tag or for all occurrences of that tag. See how easy it is to create and add tag notes

3. Case reports (To get an overview of your data)

For a thorough eDiscovery review, you’ll need to keep stepping back to get a bird’s eye view of your case. This is where the ‘case report’ feature is vital. A proper report gives you a trove of valuable metadata about each file in your case – like who created it and when, when it was last modified, and which custodian it came from. Learn more about the case metadata you’ll see.

For a good case report, your software should let you:

  1. Choose which files to overview. A lot of the time, you’ll want an overview of all the files in your case. But sometimes, you’ll want more targetted options. For example, perhaps you want a report of only files with specific tags? Or maybe you’ve got a well-constructed advanced search and only want to see the files that search pulls up? Your eDiscovery software needs to give you these options or it’ll slow you down significantly.
  2. Choose what file information you’ll be shown. We’ve just seen how useful tags, notes, and annotations are. So, you should be able to see these ‘descriptive fields’ to add context to the files in your case report.
  3. Choose the report’s format. Depending on who you’ll be sharing your reports with, some file formats will be more useful than others. For example, a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet gives you the most editing and formatting options. But a simpler Rich Text Format (.rtf) is quicker to open and easier to share with people who might not want to edit the file. Some of the more popular formats are Excel Spreadsheets (.xlsx) & Binary Workbooks (.xlsb), OpenOffice/StarOffice Spreadsheets (.ods), HTML, and Rich Text Format (.rtf).

Do you want to simplify eDiscovery document review? Try GoldFynch.

It’s part of a new generation of eDiscovery applications tailored for small and midsize law firms.

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. 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 charges only for storage (processing is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up front how much you’ll be paying. It takes just a few clicks to move from one plan to another, and billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It’s safe. Your data is protected by bank-grade security. Perfect for small and midsize firms.
  • It’s quick to get started. GoldFynch 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 trial case (0.5 GB of data and processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch and you’re good to go. Also, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
  • It keeps you flexible. To build a defensible case, you need to be able to add and delete files freely. Many applications charge to process each file you upload, so you’ll be reluctant to let your case organically shrink and grow. And this stifles you. With GoldFynch, you get unlimited processing for free.
  • Access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud, so it’s perfect for when you have to work from home.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?

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