3 eDiscovery Software Options First-Timers Should Know About
Takeaway: If you’re trying to choose eDiscovery software, these are your options: (1) Repurpose the software you already have, (2) Use a simple Cloud eDiscovery service, (3) Invest in complex, advanced software. For most small and midsize firms, option 2 (i.e., a Cloud eDiscovery service) is the smartest solution.
The eDiscovery market is flooded with products and services. So as a first-timer, you might need help sifting through your options.
Everyone agrees that it’s worth taking on eDiscovery cases. But the question is, ‘What next?’ There are so many buzzwords to work your way through like Cloud eDiscovery, electronically stored information (ESI), per-GB pricing, file indexing, etc. Plus, it’s a constant struggle to keep costs under control. So, we’ve put together this quick primer to help you learn more about your options.
Option 1: Use the software you already have.
Your first option is to patch together your existing software into an eDiscovery review system of sorts. (If you’re new to eDiscovery, this option is probably something you’ve tried or are considering.)
- You’d review the files in their parent applications – Outlook, Adobe, Microsoft Word, etc.
- You’d produce your files as native documents or convert them into PDFs using the ‘Print to PDF’ tool most applications have. Some applications like Adobe can Bates stamp them, too.
- You’d create privilege logs manually (if needed), by typing the relevant information into a spreadsheet.
Using your existing software cuts down your upfront investment.
The main advantage of using applications you already have is that you don’t need to buy dedicated eDiscovery software. So that means no extra money up front and no time spent learning how to use a new application.
However, this isn’t sustainable for a case with anything more than a handful of documents.
You could use this approach for cases with about 80 to 100 pages in them. But any more than that and things become impractical. For example, suppose you’re reading through an email that refers to (or links to) a particular document. In that case, you’ll have to open that document in its parent application (e.g., Adobe Reader for PDFs). And now, you’ll be rapidly switching between two different pieces of software as you cycle back-and-forth from email to PDF. Imagine trying to do this for hundreds of documents!
More importantly, most of the applications you currently use don’t have the right eDiscovery features.
You might be able to handle switching between applications as you review your documents. But things get near impossible when you try to search for keywords or redact sensitive information. For example, how will you keep track of your search results when running the same search on multiple applications? (After all, you’re reviewing a bunch of different documents, many of which have different parent software.) And how will you redact information? (You’ll need to do more than just draw a little black box over sensitive text.)
Option 2: Subscribe to an affordable eDiscovery service.
At some point during their first review (usually around the 100-page mark), most attorneys realize that piecing together existing applications isn’t a long-term solution. It might seem like you’re saving money up front, but that’s countered by the amount of time you’ll waste repurposing software. Here’s where on-demand eDiscovery comes in.
The latest Cloud eDiscovery applications have a low upfront cost and a suite of essential tools.
eDiscovery software is usually expensive because you’ll have to buy new hardware to run it, and spend a lot of money maintaining both the hardware and software. That’s where the Cloud can help. Think of it as a global network of computer servers (i.e., high-powered computers) which store your data for a low fee. So, instead of buying eDiscovery software and running it on your computer, you’ll subscribe to an eDiscovery service and have your eDiscovery provider run the software for you in the Cloud. This Software as a Service (SaaS) approach cuts down costs significantly because you’ve only ever paid one month’s subscription fee. So you can decide to change software at any point and walk away guilt-free. But equally useful is the range of eDiscovery-specific tools that Cloud eDiscovery provides. Tools that let you make advanced searches, tag documents, redact privileged information, and produce files in multiple formats.
Option 3: Invest in complex, advanced software.
Most small-to-midsize law firms prefer option 2 (above). But if you’re part of a larger firm, you might want to go a step further. You might want to invest in advanced software with artificial intelligence (AI).
Predictive coding is a feature that transforms the workflow of most larger firms.
Once you’re dealing with 100,000+ pages in your eDiscovery case, you might need the help of artificial intelligence and ‘machine learning.’ Here, your software studies how you label (i.e., code) your files, to find patterns in your coding. And soon, it can start coding them for you. This technology isn’t particularly new (it’s how Netflix recommends shows you might like), but it’s revolutionary for eDiscovery. With the right kind of machine learning, your software can outdo a whole team of reviewers and save you a lot of time.
The only issue is that complex eDiscovery software with machine learning is expensive. And most law firms don’t need advanced features.
As path-breaking as AI is, you likely won’t need it if you’re in a small-to-midsize firm. With cases of less than 100,000 pages, the time AI saves you won’t justify its significantly heftier price tag. For example, the licensing fees are usually very high, which adds up for cases you store for years. Plus, you’ll likely need to train your team to use the software and might need specialists who have spent a lot of time working with it.
Is this your first time exploring eDiscovery software? Here’s what we suggest.
At GoldFynch, we’ve tailored our eDiscovery service to provide small and midsize law firms with the eDiscovery features they need. But most importantly, we want to give people a chance to explore our software for free. So a good first step is to sign up for a free trial. It takes just seconds, and you’ll quickly learn if GoldFynch is a good fit for your firm.
If you’ve used eDiscovery software before, consider the following when you’re comparing Cloud services.
There’s more to GoldFynch that might interest you.
- 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. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, 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 a 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, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
- Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to find out more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- How eDiscovery File ‘Indexing’ Really Works
- Find Responsive eDiscovery Files Fast With This Affordable Software
- How to Upload eDiscovery Files [The Easy Way]
- Small Case Vs Big Case eDiscovery: There’s Such a Difference!
- eDiscovery Pricing Comparison for Smaller, In-House Cases
- 7 Basic eDiscovery Concepts Every Attorney Should Know