6 eDiscovery Review Tools You'll Need This Year

09 January 2021 by Ross ediscovery review

Takeaway: You’ll save a lot of time and money by choosing eDiscovery software that has the right set of review tools. Most smaller law firms and companies will need: (1) OCR, (2) ‘Advanced’ searches, (3) A redaction tool, (4) Tags, (5) Notes, comments, annotations, (6) Basic analytics.

eDiscovery can take up a lot of time. So it’s worth finding eDiscovery software with the right set of features.

Litigation is a long and complicated process, and eDiscovery is the most technical part of it. So, without the right tools, you’ll likely end up wasting a lot of time (and money). Thankfully, the latest generation of eDiscovery applications come with tools that make your life a bit easier.

Here are 5 time-saving review tools your eDiscovery software absolutely must have in 2021.

1. Accurate Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Discovery has gone digital, but most law firms and companies still use a lot of paper. And to convert your paper documents into their electronic (i.e., digital) form, you’ll need to scan them. The thing is, the scanned documents aren’t really ‘text’ files yet. Rather, your computer sees them as photographs, and the text is just squiggles in the file. So, you can’t search for keywords or edit the text until you’ve ‘converted’ it into a machine-readable format. And Optical Character Recognition (OCR) does this for you. Sadly, free OCR software often makes mistakes in the conversion – which means you’ll have to correct the text when it’s done. And dependable vendors charge a lot (per-page) and take days to finish the conversion). So, it’s worth finding eDiscovery software with an accurate OCR tool.

2. A powerful ‘advanced’ search feature.

The best eDiscovery applications do more than just search for keywords. They let you give highly specific ‘advanced search’ commands like, “Find all emails John Anderson sent Sally Nedry, which mention the Pfizer meeting. And which were sent before 2015.” These sorts of commands are possible because of file metadata and complex Boolean operators. For example, say you need to find emails sent to your client John Anderson and know when John read them. Your software will search the email ‘sent’ metadata field for the keywords ‘John’ and ‘Anderson,’ and the ‘read’ metadata field to check when the email was opened. That’s the magic of a well-designed advanced search.

3. Reliable redaction

‘Redaction’ is the process of removing privileged or private data from documents. With paper, you’d use a permanent marker over the sensitive text, and photocopy the redacted pages a few times so the underlying text has no chance of showing through. Technically, you could do the same thing in an electronic document. For example, you could black-out lines of text using the black highlighter tool in Word documents. Or you could draw a black box over paragraphs and entire pages. But this do-it-yourself redaction doesn’t really work. Remember, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. So, just because you see a black box over text, it doesn’t mean the text isn’t there anymore. Instead, what you need is a way to ‘burn-in’ the redactions properly. And good eDiscovery software will come equipped with this tool.

4. Easy-to-Use tags

How do you track and organize your eDiscovery documents? With paper documents, you’d use color-coded sticky notes with scribbled keywords to give you 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, sticky notes won’t work. Instead, you’ll use ‘tags.’ Think of them as ‘virtual’ sticky notes that you attach to a document, making it easier to find. And when you’ve tagged a bunch of documents, your eDiscovery software will pull up – with a single click – all the ones with the same tag. When choosing your software, make sure it allows you to add and remove tags in seconds, create ‘quick tags’ that your software keeps on permanent display, and bulk-tag groups of files and file-families. Learn more about tagging.

5. Notes, annotations, and comments

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 targeted 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.

6. Basic analytics

eDiscovery churns up a lot of data, but data in itself isn’t useful. What you’re after is patterns in the way the data is organized, which will help you build a defensible case. And this process of analyzing patterns is called analytics. But advanced analytics like ‘predictive coding’ in a technology-assisted review (TAR) can be expensive. So, are they worth the cost? Well, it depends. If you handle massive eDiscovery cases (terabytes of data), you’ll probably need help sorting through it all. But for smaller cases (a few hundred gigabytes), you probably won’t. So instead of investing in expensive analytics, it makes more sense to find next-generation eDiscovery software that gives you essential analytics at rock-bottom prices.

Here’s what your analytics should tell you:

  1. The size of your case and the kinds of files in it.
  2. How many documents you have and how much space they take up.
  3. The percentage of different files types (emails, PDFs, Word documents, images, etc.) in your case.
  4. The tags you’ve used and how often you’ve used them.
  5. The different the file families in your case.
  6. The number of files that weren’t processed properly.
  7. The primary dates associated with each file.
  8. Key email metadata.

Learn more about the basic analytics features you’ll need.

Looking for eDiscovery software with all the review tools you’ll need? Try GoldFynch.

It’s an easy-to-use eDiscovery service that’s perfect for small- and midsize law firms and companies.

  • 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 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 3 GB plan, you could add and delete 5 GB of data at no extra cost – as long as there’s only 3 GB in your case at any point. And if you do cross 3 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.