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Posted on: January 05, 2017

in Blog

Creating Strategic eDiscovery Workflows for Small Teams

The need to create and implement time and cost effective discovery-related workflows is not limited to just large firms, or for large discovery projects. Too many times, small to mid-size firms fall into the trap of thinking that defined and documented workflows are not necessary because the data sizes or project needs don’t seem to require the effort. This is a mistake that needs to be rectified. 

Workflows do not have to be overwhelming or take large amounts of time, nor should they be dependent on only applications that the firm is used to or on historic processes. 

Where to Start When Creating an eDiscovery Workflow

The ability to think creatively and determine what is the best workflow for the firm requires thinking that takes into account knowledge of what is available and how best to utilize the technology in support of eDiscovery requirements. Workflows and processes should always start when there is a new discovery matter anticipated. 

Workflows do not have to be overwhelming or take large amounts of time, nor should they be dependent on only applications that the firm is used to or on historic processes. 

Having defined processes are critical and need to take into consideration: 

  • The initial “intake” process
  • Allow for procedures that address the different processing needs of the electronically stored information (ESI)
  • Factor in the features and functionality of any internal tools
  • Factor in additional requirements that may require outsource options
  • Address review team options
  • Production requirements
  • Archiving solutions

Incorporating Analytics for Increased Efficiency

For most projects, the predominant type of ESI are emails. The ability to leverage email threading, for example, allows for creative processes to be used by review teams such as only needing to review the “most inclusive” email as opposed to each email in the thread. 

Analytics can be applied after processing and prior to review for a more informed strategy specific to your data and case. Download this short guide to learn how to incorporate this into your eDiscovery workflow for the best possible results.

Another option is to leverage “near duplicate” analysis that allows for a more effective review workflow whereby the data can be grouped with near duplicates included so the same reviewer can review consistently. 

Leverage the Right Review Tool for your eDiscovery Workflow

A perfect example of this workflow can be provided through IPRO’s Eclipse and Eclipse SE review tools. Eclipse web provides for analytics such as email-threading, near duplicates, clusters, concept search. EclipseSE does not but users can utilize a vendor to process and run the data through the Eclipse web interface, build the analytics and output the fielded information. Eclipse SE users can utilize that information to review more efficiently.

Apart from providing for more streamlined, time and cost effective discovery, the development of consistent and standardized workflows have the added benefit of training review teams and support teams on the firm’s processes. Each project does not have to be created from scratch and a standardized process cuts down on the need for constant discussions as a new litigation enters the workflow.

Combine In-House Capabilities and New Technology

The question then becomes “What if I have an application in-house that does not have analytics or other new technology features”? The answer should not be to work within the box of that application but to understand that there are options. If your in-house solution doesn’t have analytic capabilities, but a discovery project could benefit from them, you can leverage an outside eDiscovery vendor to process, load and run analytics with new technology. This information can then be output into fields that can be used by the internal application as a cost-saving method to using new technology features and still working with the in-house tool.

If your in-house solution doesn’t have analytic capabilities, but a discovery project could benefit from them, you can leverage an outside eDiscovery vendor to process, load and run analytics with new technology.

The litigation support/eDiscovery industry has changed significantly over the past several years and continues to do so. Technology and services offered by vendors continue to develop in order to provide cost effective and efficient ways for firms to handle eDiscovery needs. No longer are firms limited and can look at creative ways to support their litigation needs such as software as a service, managed seats and in-house vs hosted solutions as needed. Firms can implement a hybrid approach or whatever specific options make the most sense.

Too often support teams are used to doing things the same way and fall into the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” syndrome. My advice is to “Shake It UP” – look at what is working and what may not be working. Think critically and not defensively. If something takes too long or if a procedure does not seem to work then look at alternatives. Reach out to resources you may have, a trusted vendor can often provide help in looking at ways to be more efficient. 


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