In recent years, the amount of electronically stored information (ESI) reviewed in legal cases has skyrocketed, and there’s no reason to believe this will change. Companies and law firms have switched to electronic documents, making eDiscovery technology more relevant than ever. If your law firm or legal department is still living in the dark ages and hasn’t made the shift to an efficient, all-in-one eDiscovery solution, we’re here to help.
What is Electronic Discovery?
Electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, refers to how legal departments, law firms, and service providers collect and process digital evidence for a case. Attorneys and allied professionals conduct eDiscovery, starting at the earliest stages of a lawsuit or investigation and continuing to its ultimate conclusion. They follow various eDiscovery processes, ideally ones tailored to meet their specific needs. To accomplish these things, they rely on eDiscovery solutions: litigation support software used in the data discovery process.
Not all eDiscovery solutions are equal. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and functions. Some platforms are easier to use, others can be quite cumbersome. Some platforms include most if not all of the functions you need or want, others can require any number of add-ons to achieve the same results. Levels of support vary greatly, both in what providers represent and what they actually deliver.
So, how do you tell if your eDiscovery process is being stifled by the inefficiencies of the platform your organization is using? We have answers.
Signs You Need A New eDiscovery Solution
1. You Missed KPIs
If your organization’s key performance indicators don’t look good, it’s a sign that something needs to change. Typically, parties to a lawsuit need to conduct some form of early case assessment (ECA) and often they face a deadline for completing this process. For many, 60 days is this cutoff point; often, however, early assessments need to be substantially completed well before then. If your early case assessments take too long, the problem might be that your platform lacks features that let you dive into data early on or it might mandate a workflow that only lets you kick off certain analytical operations late in the overall process. You can’t afford these delays; you need a platform that can help cut that time.
Take a look at your legal hold process, another area where you might find signs that you need a more advanced eDiscovery tool. You want to get legal holds right every time; if your law firm or legal team fails to adequately find and preserve pertinent ESI, the costs you pay for discovery can climb quickly, especially if the other side challenges the process you followed or the results you obtained. Even with the more relaxed standards of revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and many of their counterparts in other jurisdictions, a failure to preserve puts you at risk of being on the wrong end of court-imposed sanctions or even losing your case outright. If you encounter delays or efficiency issues with your legal holds, it might be time to reassess the tools you use.
2. You Missed Relevant Data during ECA
Let’s return to the ECA process. An essential step in the beginning days of a case, the ECA process is something that you really want done well. What you learn at this stage can establish the foundation and set the tone for your matter. Imagine you hit the 60-day sweet spot and finish on time, but later find out there were major errors. Critical relevant data was overlooked, the results of the assessment aren’t especially useful now and really never were. If you find your early assessments aren’t reliable and you keep having to go back to the beginning, maybe the issue is your eDiscovery tool.
3. You Place a High Reliance on Manual Document Review
When it comes to reviewing ESI, many law firms use what they consider to be the gold standard, a manual document review often conducted in a linear fashion. Law firms try to use reviewers they trust. Sometimes these are contract attorneys hired for the job. Other times in-house personnel are used. Either way, law firms trust their reviewers to go through the documents teed up to them quickly and reliably, drawing on their skills and experience to identify materials containing relevant data or privileged information.
Too much reliance on manual document review, especially linear review, can be problematic. This approach tends to place a heavy burden on reviewers. To be effective – to hit their KPIs – they have to move through the data quite quickly, spending only a brief amount of time examining each document that comes up before them. They need to constantly keep in mind what they are looking for, remembering highlights and details of issues, individuals, organizations, time frames, and the like. They need to notice, record, and potentially report connections that indicate important patterns, for example tying together a single email message they looked at for one minute two weeks ago with a spreadsheet that just came up on their screen now.
To get past these hurdles, use an eDiscovery solution that deploys artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and similar capabilities and does so from one end of the electronic discovery process to the other. Look for a platform that can run multiple AI models, for example, as well as one that contains built-in technology assisted review (TAR). With tools like these, early on your review team can focus their attention on the most relevant data.
4. You Have a Disorganized Data Collection Process
Data management is a key area to look for signs that an eDiscovery upgrade is necessary. An efficient, organized process for data collection can bring relevant information to the forefront, prevent mishandling of sensitive documents, perform deduplication, and provide a more effective review process. A data classification approach to document management with eDiscovery tools will put you on the path to organizing your data.
5. You’ve Mishandled Evidence
If your organization has had issues with mishandled evidence – lost metadata, for example, or even entire lost collections – upgrading to the right eDiscovery solution can help insure this error never happens again. Look for a platform capable of running in the cloud, where it is much easier to avoid single points of failure, lack of adequate storage, ineffective backup systems, and other problems that are all too common in on-premise-only systems.
6. You Rely on Other Resources to Translate Data
Translating data from one language to another can be a critically important function. You might need immediate on-the-fly translation capabilities. Perhaps you have complex documents containing content in two or more languages and need to go through that content in detail. Most likely you will need to search large volumes of ESI that contain text in multiple languages.
You might have people in your office proficient in the various languages you care about for a specific project. They might even have the time as well as technical, legal or other expertise needed to evaluate information in other languages – but most likely they don’t. You might be able to find and hire bi- or multi-lingual reviewers to tackle the problem – but you might not have the time and resources to find, retain, train, and manage those people. And even with the right people, the eDiscovery software you use may not be able to handle content in the languages that matter; it might only work with English, might not let your people perform reliable searches, and might not display content in other languages properly.
Having software on hand that can accurately translate is essential. Relying on a bilingual reviewer in your office can put an unnecessary burden on them, and hiring a translator can strain your financial resources.
If your ESI is likely to contain content in any language other than English, look for an eDiscovery solution that identifies foreign languages, allows users to perform searches on content in those languages, and translates documents without leaving the solution. If you are likely to use reviewers who are not proficient in English, look for a platform that allows display of not just the content of documents but the user interface itself in multiple languages.
7. You Can’t Process and Analyze Diverse Data
Data doesn’t always come from just one source or in just one form. If your eDiscovery solution can’t process diverse data, you might need an upgrade.
Legal professionals collect ESI from all manner of computers, mobile phones, and internet-of-things (IoT) devices. They gather up emails, text and chat messages, and various other forms of electronic communications; word processing files, spreadsheets, presentations, and other electronic documents; photos, videos and other image files, and the contents of databases. To get this content they go everywhere ESI might be stored including internal computer networks, social media, and public and private clouds.
You need a solution that can process these various forms of data coming from these various sources. The platform should allow you to easily load data for processing. It should support the full spectrum of users, from those who want nothing more than a simple, clean interface that allows them to follow preset approaches, to those who need in-depth access to a broad array of features they can use to fine-tune and optimize how the system processes their data. The platform should be able to convert data from its native format to industry-standard formats. It should be able to handle both unstructured and structured content. In addition to more basic capabilities, it also should facilitate translation and support image identification.
Upgrade Your eDiscovery Solution to Reveal
If you’ve seen any of these signs in your organization, chances are you’re wondering where to start the hunt for a new eDiscovery solution provider, and you may well want one that can be deployed in the cloud (SaaS), on-premise, as an on-prem and cloud hybrid, and as a mobile offering. Reveal’s platform addresses every one of these issues you might be seeing with your current litigation support providers.
Efficiency is valued at Reveal because we recognize the often overwhelming amounts of data a firm or legal team processes. That’s why we cut out the extra hassle of add-ons and hidden costs and deliver an all-in-one, cost-effective eDiscovery solution, ensuring your funds are used efficiently. Reveal streamlines eDiscovery tools into a smoother workflow that maximizes efficiency.
Reveal has worked hard to automate the document review process by incorporating machine learning, predictive coding, and model libraries into our AI software. With these functions, culling relevant data and decreasing the number of review documents is possible. If you come from a law firm that relies heavily on manual document review, the smooth workflow that effective eDiscovery software brings to the table will make all the difference.
With cloud accessibility and the capability to detect over 160 languages, Reveal’s eDiscovery service is a global and multilingual tool. In terms of data processing, Reveal can process and analyze over 900 file types from diverse sources at a high rate.
Reveal excels in providing an end-to-end eDiscovery solution that solves these common issues. If you’d like to explore our AI-powered platform for yourself, request a demo.