Optimize Your eDiscovery To Get More Done, Quicker

31 January 2024 by Uday Verma eDiscovery general

Takeaway: Optimize your eDiscovery by (1) Choosing the right eDiscovery software, (2) Automating routine tasks, (3) Organizing your data, (4) Setting up data retention policies, and (5) Controlling costs.

Most law firms love challenging cases with high-profile clients. And eDiscovery is a vital part of this.

Law firms thrive on complex and high-stakes cases with high-profile clients – where reputation and significant legal outcomes are on the line. That’s why eDiscovery (electronic discovery) is a crucial element, especially in cases with large digital footprints. It allows law firms to efficiently sift through vast amounts of electronic data to identify relevant evidence and build robust cases.

But you’ll need to optimize your eDiscovery to meet these higher-profile clients’ needs.

eDiscovery is the process of managing electronically stored information (ESI) for use in legal proceedings. This includes identification, collection, preservation, review, and presentation of ESI. Optimizing your eDiscovery means refining and enhancing these phases. Particularly, making sure each stage meets specific legal benchmarks, most notably the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP).

As a first step, you’ll want to find the right eDiscovery software.

Your ideal eDiscovery application should balance sophisticated features and user-friendliness, allowing you to handle complex eDiscovery tasks without much training or technical know-how. It must also be scalable – capable of handling growing volumes of data as your firm expands and handles more complex cases. Further, it must come with the right toolkit, including features like advanced searches and basic analytics. Lastly, given the sensitive nature of legal data, choose software with robust security measures to protect client information and stay compliant.

To optimize your eDiscovery, you’ll also need to automate routine tasks.

Top-tier eDiscovery applications save you time by automating routine tasks. For instance, automated data processing streamlines initial steps such as detecting duplicate files and extracting metadata. Similarly, document review can be automated by using technologies like machine learning and natural language processing. For example, predictive coding enables the software to predict document relevance and privilege based on a sample set that you’ve reviewed. This saves time and minimizes human error – a critical advantage in large cases (i.e., hundreds of terabytes) where you want every review to be accurate. Also, eDiscovery applications don’t need to rest or take breaks, which means you get more done quicker.

Next, you’ll need to organize your data efficiently.

The better you organize your data, the more you’ll optimize your eDiscovery. First, there’s categorization. Begin by systematically organizing data according to criteria relevant to each case. This might involve sorting information based on its nature (such as financial records or communication logs) or according to its themes. You can then add to this categorization by ‘tagging’ similar documents to pull them up together later on. (Tags label documents with key information, including document type, source, relevance to specific legal issues, or levels of confidentiality. The trick/challenge is to ensure all team members stick to the same system of categorization and tagging.)

You’ll also want to set up detailed data policies.

To manage your data well, you’ll need effective data retention policies. These help balance thoroughness (retaining adequate data) and efficiency (eliminating irrelevant data). For this, you’ll need clear retention guidelines specifying which data must be kept, for how long, and under what circumstances. You’ll also want to conduct regular data audits, reviewing stored data to identify what can be legally disposed of to make eDiscovery review more efficient. (This means defining secure and compliant data disposal procedures that maintain client confidentiality and stick to privacy laws.) Lastly, focus on training and compliance. All team members should be well-informed and regularly updated about your firm’s data policies. Remember, they must understand why compliance is crucial, especially as laws and technologies continue to evolve.

Finally, you’ll need to control costs.

For small and midsize law firms operating with tighter budgets, controlling costs is crucial. Firstly, assess your firm’s specific needs against the features offered by eDiscovery tools. Investing in tools that provide the necessary features without frills is key. Secondly, consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of any eDiscovery solution. This involves looking beyond the initial purchase price to understand the long-term financial impact. Consider factors like maintenance costs, the expense of upgrades, and ongoing support fees. A tool that appears cost-effective initially might bring higher costs over time. Scalability – which we discussed earlier – is another key factor. Select solutions that can grow and adapt as your firm expands. This means you won’t have to pay for expensive upgrades or system changes later. Lastly, ensure you allocate funds for regular training and updates. Budgeting for continual staff training ensures your team understands eDiscovery trends and technologies.

But remember, all this starts with choosing the right eDiscovery software. And we suggest GoldFynch for this.

An eDiscovery subscription service like GoldFynch comes with a bunch of attractive advantages.