How to Assign Batches of eDiscovery Case Files to Team Members
Takeaway: A ‘batch review’ lets you allot groups of files to different people. It’s a powerful tool for eDiscovery teams, but to get the most out of it you’ll need to be able to, (1) Allot files, using tags, (2) Allot files, using ‘advanced’ searches, (3) Include ‘file families,’ and (4) Have teammates access the batch for free.
eDiscovery happens in teams, so how do you divide the workload? Enter ‘Batch Reviews.’
It’s hard to keep track of who’s doing (and done) what. So, eDiscovery applications now let you split up batches of case files and assign them to different reviewers. Here’s how it works:
- Create a batch file set for your team. It could be all the files in your case or only a portion of them. And it could be for your entire team or only a few members.
- Assign which reviewers have access to this batch. You’ll see a ‘reviewers’ count so you know who’s working on any given batch. It helps if your eDiscovery software allows free access for teammates.
- Track which files have been reviewed. As your team works its way through the batch, your software will check off the reviewed files. This will help prevent teammates from duplicating each other’s work. [Note: Your application should have a failsafe so that only files that have been reviewed (and not just glanced at) are checked off.]
- Track your overall progress. Your software will have a counter or graphic to show you what percentage of the case has been reviewed. This is very useful when you’re moving between multiple batches to track your overall progress on the case.
Batch review sets aren’t just for your team. You could use them to outsource reviews to a ‘managed review’ service.
With a managed review, you’ll get a team of outside attorneys to review eDiscovery documents for you. The more popular teams are highly qualified, experienced, and affordable. And they save you time by freeing up your attorneys and paralegals for higher priority tasks. (Learn more about ‘managed’ reviews.) Batch reviews are the perfect way of tidying up your case sharing because it makes it easy to assign and track your case files – even to outside review teams.
But for a successful batch review, your software will need to let you do a few important things.
1. Allot files to a batch using tags.
Think of eDiscovery tags as ‘virtual’ sticky notes that help you track and organize your eDiscovery documents. With paper documents, you’d use color-coded post-its on them, with scribbled keywords to give you some context. And you’d go through all the documents manually, searching for the relevant sticky notes. With eDiscovery, though, you’re dealing with electronic documents (like Word documents, PDFs, and emails). So, you’ll use tags instead. Once you’ve tagged a bunch of documents, your eDiscovery software will pull up – with a single click – all the ones with the same tag. And batch reviews become exponentially more effective if you can assign files based on their tags.
2. Allot files to a batch using saved searches.
You’re going to be building ‘advanced’ searches, linking multiple ‘conditions’ through multiple ‘operators.’ But luckily, the best eDiscovery applications transform this potentially complicated process into something easy to learn, and fun. They let you build your search by dragging-and-dropping ‘conditions’ and ‘operators’ into place and then moving them around to create the right hierarchy. Think of it as eDiscovery lego. And the process is so much more intuitive and simple than typing out a complicated math-like equation. Advanced searches can pull up a precisely curated file set, so make sure your software lets you use saved searches to set up a new batch review. Otherwise, you’re losing out on half the power of your search engine.
3. Include files families in your review
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’. For example, with emails and their attachments, the email is the ‘parent,’ and the attachments are the ‘children’. With PowerPoint documents, the presentation is the the ‘parent’ and the embedded files (e.g., video clips) would be the ‘children.’
File families can complicate eDiscovery if not handled properly.
Imagine that your client asks a colleague to email her the details of a new policy change. The colleague sends the email with the subject, ‘The document you requested’, body text saying, ‘Here you go’, and an attachment marked ‘December policy change.’ During eDiscovery, your software will spot the ‘child’ attachment as being responsive – because of the key phrase ‘policy change’. But it’ll overlook the email body. This becomes a problem when you’re producing files because opposing counsel will want the whole file family, not just the responsive attachment.
That’s why you should be able to include entire file families in a batch review.
This means that if any files (like emails or zips) have child files (like attachments or zipped files), they will automatically be introduced into the set right after their parent files. So, you can quickly step from a parent file like an email, into its attachments without needing to pull up additional windows or create separate review sets for them.
4. Free access to your eDiscovery software for your entire team.
With the right pricing system, the case owner pays to use the software, and all teammates get to access it for free. This helps cut costs, especially when you have a large team working on any given case. The problem is, not all eDiscovery pricing systems allow this. So, keep that in mind when choosing your software. (Learn more about eDiscovery pricing.)
Looking for eDiscovery software that makes it easy (and cost-effective) to assign batches of files to teammates? Try GoldFynch.
It prioritizes things that matter to small and midsize law firms like yours. That’s why:
- It costs just $10 a month for a 1 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 (1 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 takes just minutes to get going. 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. Plus, it’s designed, developed, and run by the same team. So 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. So, on a 1 GB plan, you could add and delete 5 GB of data at no extra cost – as long as there’s only 1 GB in your case at any point. And if you do cross 1 GB, your plan upgrades automatically and you’ll be charged for only the time spent on each plan. That’s the beauty of prorated pricing.
- Access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to learn more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- eDiscovery Overload: What to Do When Your Small Law Firm Has Too Much to Handle
- 5 eDiscovery Trends Your Small Law Firm Can’t Afford to Miss
- Have You Optimized eDiscovery to Retain Clients for Your Small Law Firm?
- 5-Minute eDiscovery: How to Save Time and Money for Your Small Law Firm
- [Uncovered] eDiscovery Myth: Small Law Firms Can’t Handle Large Cases [over 100 GB]
- 16 Have-to-Know Questions to Simplify eDiscovery for Your Small Law Firm
- 8 Common eDiscovery Mistakes Your Small Law Firm May be Making