What Documents Will Your Attorney Need From You In A Lawsuit?
Takeaway: Streamlining how you manage your documents will make handling lawsuits easier. So, partner with an attorney early and create a system to collect, store, and organize all your documents. And use an eDiscovery service to simplify these steps.
Litigation can be a nightmare if you don’t follow the right steps.
Litigation is a maze where paperwork can either help you move faster or slow you down significantly. So, managing your files and documents well could be the difference between winning and losing a lawsuit. That’s why it’s crucial you follow these steps with all case-related files.
1. Explore your case to figure out which documents you’ll need.
Which documents you gather will depend on the specifics of your case. For instance, with personal injury cases, medical records and accident reports become important. In business conflicts, you’ll need everything from contracts to emails and financial transcripts. And in family law matters like divorce, relevant documents might include marriage certificates, prenuptial agreements, and custody papers. How do you figure out which documents you’ll need? Read about your case and others like it, and consult reliable lawyers. They’ll help you compile an exhaustive list of important documents. They can also guide you on the timeline and the sequence of events connected to your lawsuit. Crucially, they’ll help you sift through documents to separate privileged or sensitive information that shouldn’t be disclosed.
2. Create a digital archive of electronically stored information.
You’ll have to be thorough when gathering your electronically stored information. This includes emails, texts, social media conversations, photographs, videos, digital contracts, and more. Pay attention to the small stuff here. For instance, collect emails, but make sure you collect email attachments, too. Ideally, you’ll want to store all this data in a digital vault – a place where you can review files, search them for names/keywords/dates, redact privileged information, and more. Vitally, your digital vault must keep all the data and metadata safe. We’ll revisit this point at the end of the post with a software suggestion.
3. Gather physical documents, too.
Yes, we’re in a digital age, but many of our documents are still in physical form – e.g., signed contracts, handwritten notes, and hardcopy records. So, you must have a system to handle these. First, it’s easy to damage physical documents, so you’ll need a way of protecting signatures, official stamps, and watermarks. Consider storing important documents in a filing cabinet and creating a digital backup. Oh, and while you’re at it, figure out how you want to organize them. Storing them chronologically will help you understand the sequence of events; while storing them based on category is perfect when trying to create the context for each file cluster.
4. Keep all this data confidential.
You’ll want to keep all this data confidential, so you’ll need to create privacy protocols. For instance, your attorney will tell you about regional privacy laws (e.g., the California Consumer Privacy Act), based on which you can decide which encryption tools and secure file-sharing platforms to use. Similarly, you can experiment with using stronger passwords and two-step authentication to limit who gets access to your files. And use malware detection tools to stop cyber hacks. Finally, ensure you shred all physical documents once you’re done with them – to protect them from prying eyes
5. Step back and see if you’ve covered all angles of your case.
You’ll want to do a final pass through all your documents to confirm you’ve got everything. Again, your attorney will help with this – asking for missing files and evidence where necessary. Importantly, you might want to hold back unnecessary documents because each bit of extra fluff will distract your attorney from the files that matter. You might also create short summaries for important documents to help your attorney skim through your case quickly.
6. Explore your software options to cut costs.
All the steps we’ve discussed are part of something called eDiscovery. I.e., it’s the process opposing attorneys use to gather evidence and prepare a case. And as with any process, there’s valuable software involved – so make sure your attorney is using the best software for your needs. For instance, niche, private software can cost much more (thousands of dollars more) than a cloud-based eDiscovery subscription service. But that subscription service might have all the tools you need. So, why pay extra for unnecessary luxuries?
If you’re looking for affordable eDiscovery software to help your attorney cut costs, consider GoldFynch.
GoldFynch is a cloud eDiscovery service offering all the essential eDiscovery review tools your attorneys will need – via a simple, user-friendly interface. Here are some things first-timers love about 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
- How to Download eDiscovery Data Remotely Using ‘eDiscovery Collect.’
- 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?