The Expert-Approved eDiscovery Production Checklist
At GoldFynch, we created this simple-but-complete checklist to uncomplicate eDiscovery productions.
Download the one-page, printable version of this checklist here
Step 1. Culling data: Have you eliminated unresponsive files?
Most eDiscovery cases have tens or even hundreds of thousands of unresponsive files. So, it’s worth culling these to streamline things – and this means checking the following.
☑ Have you used ‘advanced’ searches to isolate responsive files? Use advanced searches to find niche files quickly. Learn how to use/save searches in GoldFynch.
☑ Have you tagged production documents as ‘responsive.’ eDiscovery tags are virtual Post-Its that give files context and help pull up related documents in one shot. So, use the ‘responsive’ tag to group all the documents you plan to produce. Learn how to tag documents in GoldFynch.
☑Have you spotted duplicate files? Exact or near duplicates waste production space. So, get your software to help you find and eliminate them.
Step 2. Format: Have you decided on a production format?
Productions formats vary between eDiscovery services. So, check with the receiving party which production format they prefer. Usually, you can produce documents as native files, as PDFs, or as a load file production (covered next) – including as TIFFs/JPEGs.
☑ Confirm your production format (refer to your ESI protocol.)
- Load file production – preferably (color or no color)
- PDF production
- Native production
Step 3. Load files: Have you configured them properly?
Load files are special ‘master’ files connecting case documents with behind-the-scenes databases. (For example, using optical character recognition (OCR) on a scanned document converts it into computer-readable text. But you’ll need a load file to connect the original image with the converted text.) Remember, load files are only as useful as the metadata they carry, so ensure you’ve chosen all the right metadata columns.
☑ For load file productions, confirm the metadata fields to include. (Your Protective Order and/or ESI protocol will help with this.) eDiscovery services like GoldFynch will let you customize load files, simplifying this step.)
For reference, here are GoldFynch’s default production columns.
Step 4. Bates numbers: Are they sequenced correctly?
Bates numbers help reference text/images in multi-production cases. Every page across all productions will get a unique Bates number, ensuring there’s no duplication. (E.g., Citing a Bates number will help you instantly pull up the 13th page of the 4th production.)
☑ Are your Bates numbers sequenced and stamped correctly?
Step 5. Privilege: Have you made necessary redactions?
Newer eDiscovery services offer redaction tools to ‘burn in’ redactions permanently. (I.e., reviewers can’t use digital tricks to peek behind these redactions.) So, take the following steps to ensure you don’t leak sensitive information.
☑ Have you made the necessary redactions? (Use a ‘redaction’ tag on these documents.)
☑ Confirm you haven’t included any privileged documents.
☑ Confirm confidentiality (yes/no/mixed) for all documents.
Step 6. Tags: Are file families tagged consistently?
File families are groups of associated files (e.g., an email and its attachments or a RAR container file and its contents). And you’ll want to keep them linked to avoid confusion later. (For example, marking an attachment ‘responsive’ but overlooking its parent email means losing valuable context.) Here’s how GoldFynch handles tagging for file families.
☑ Confirm you haven’t split (i.e., inconsistently tagged) any file families. Tag them all the same where possible so they’re produced (or withheld) together.
Step 7. File integrity: Are your files and folders working okay?
Load file productions usually have folders titled ‘Text,’ ‘Images,’ and ‘Data.’ (These might be named differently, occasionally.) ‘Text’ folders have simple TXT files with extracted text, ‘Image’ folders have image versions of each case document, and ‘Data’ folders store load files. Here’s what to do about them.
☑ Are the Data, Text, and Image folders working okay? Confirm that folders and files are openable. Consider reloading the production to check it gets processed properly.
☑ Deal with random/tech issues? Often these issues occur when you haven’t downloaded the native files or have pop-up blockers getting in the way of critical tasks.
Step 8. Audit trail: Are your edits and changes being tracked?
It’s vital you track your work/progress for review later on.
☑ Prepare/update document production logs. These help cross-reference produced files with originals.
☑ Prepare/update privilege and/or redaction logs.
☑ Perform queries of the tags in the charts below and share these with your review team for analysis.
|No. of Docs
|No. of Docs
|No. of Docs
Step 9. Recheck: Are you sure you’ve checked off everything above?
You’ve likely checked everything but check again anyway because mistakes inevitably occur even after your first run-through. Some common oversights we often see from clients: Faulty Bates numbering, privileged files slipping in accidentally, and incorrect production formats. It’s extra important to recheck when you create batched subsets of case files to simplify reviews.
☑ Recheck your production to ensure all is in order.
Step 10. Sharing: Have you decided on a production-sharing method?
You have two options when sharing productions: Either send the production out to recipients or invite them into your eDiscovery software to review the production at the source. Inviting them in is the better option because you can invalidate the shared link at any point, locking them out.
☑ Confirm how you’ll be sharing your productions.
All this might seem complicated but, thankfully, the best eDiscovery applications come with a helpful ‘production wizard.’
The best eDiscovery applications have additional production settings you can review. And GoldFynch simplifies things with its ‘production wizard’ that catches all the errors we’ve covered. This includes things like spotting redaction errors on native files, catching mistakenly produced ‘privileged’ documents and detecting harmful malware.
If you’re looking for production-friendly eDiscovery software, try GoldFynch.
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 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 (our average response time is 30 minutes).
- 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.
- A Complete Glossary of Essential eDiscovery Terms
- A Quick Primer on GoldFynch’s eDiscovery Software
- A Free PST Analyzer to Check If Your eDiscovery PSTs Are Intact
- Use This In-Browser PST Viewer to Explore Your eDiscovery Emails For Free
- The Secret to Choosing the Best Low-Cost eDiscovery Software for Your Small Law Firm
- How To Make Your eDiscovery Productions Less Hackable
- Is Social Media the Future of eDiscovery?
- Learn how you can place bates, tags and custom stamps on your production documents