Electronic discovery (eDiscovery) has become essential to global legal proceedings in today's data-driven age. With the rising volume of electronic data generated daily, it's critical to have reliable eDiscovery tools to help manage and organize electronic documents, emails, and other digital information. However, not all eDiscovery tools are created equal, and choosing the wrong one can lead to disastrous consequences. This blog will explore the top 5 tips for selecting and using eDiscovery tools to ensure the best possible outcomes for you and your client on your next case.
Our multilingual eDiscovery experts helped put together a list of tips to get the ball rolling. Follow the tips below to ensure you provide the best value to your business while driving the most successful outcomes for your clients. The compiled list of tips will help kickstart your evaluation efforts. By following the pointers below, you can ensure that the legal team delivers maximum value from your eDiscovery tools while reaching the most common eDiscovery goals: minimize the review burden, improve review efficiency & accuracy, and reduce litigation costs.
It goes without repeating that once you meet these goals, your eDiscovery's teams value will increase while improving your business's bottom line. Let's explore the top 5 tips together!
- Choose the right eDiscovery tools: Selecting the right tools to meet your organization's specific litigation needs is essential. Some eDiscovery tools offer advanced features, while others are more basic. Be an informed consumer! Identify your needs, research who can meet them, and compare various tools' capabilities and costs before making the final decision.
- Understand your data: Understanding what your litigation data holds is crucial to getting the most value from your chosen solution. Not all eDiscovery tools have the same capabilities when processing your data. Knowing your data's volume, format, languages, and sources can help you select the appropriate tool and optimize its usage.
- Utilize advanced analytics: Most eDiscovery tools offer innovative analytic capabilities, such as Predictive Coding, Active Learning, and Clustering. These advanced features can significantly speed up the eDiscovery process and identify relevant data more accurately.
- Develop a defensible workflow: Developing a defensible workflow is critical to ensure your eDiscovery process is legally sound. This includes creating a standardized process, documenting each step, and being transparent with all parties involved. Your eDiscovery tools can provide a wealth of supporting, time-stamped documentation of the entire process.
- Invest in training: Investing in training for your team is vital to maximizing the value of your eDiscovery tools. Ensure that your Legal team receives initial and ongoing training on the tool's features, capabilities, and best practices for eDiscovery. Recurring training is necessary when updates occur to help your organization remain productive with the chosen tool.
Choosing the right eDiscovery tools is critical
When you consider the breadth of available eDiscovery tools, the best way to effectively create a short list of service providers is to determine your immediate needs. A service provider that can OCR scan a document and allow some searching on its content does not rank with the advanced tools that apply machine learning and Advanced Analytics to your voluminous data set. To ensure the tool can accomplish your goals, you must take stock of your in-house capabilities and identify which needs require additional resources to meet the case demands. Does your litigation case involve multiple countries, languages, or rules? The next logical question is, "What budget is available when adding more capabilities?"
Today, litigation teams have a powerful choice regarding eDiscovery tools. They can purchase software to manage themselves or choose an outside provider to help manage the technology and guide the process. The answer to why you should choose either one over the other comes down to evaluating your ultimate return on the investment. Questel offers Ascent eDiscovery as an all-in-one solution for your eDiscovery tool needs. Our experts are available to help you understand the capabilities available and they provide the expert support your team may need to make an educated decision.
"Finding the right eDiscovery tool is like finding a key that unlocks the door to the truth," states Craig Ball - trial lawyer, legal educator, and electronic evidence expert.
Reasons to outsource the management of eDiscovery tools to a provider:
- Outside service providers know the software inside and out – no learning curve or training delay.
- Experienced experts guide the Electronic Discovery Resource Model (EDRM) process while working as part of your in-house legal team – no additional staff needs to be hired or trained.
- Your team will practice law while a vendor manages the technology – reduce IT workload, lessen tech skill requirements for attorneys, and focus staff on higher-value legal tasks.
If purchasing tools yourself and relying on in-house capabilities to run them, keep in mind that your staff was probably not hired to manage your software; they were hired to practice law. Our clients often remember thinking they could work eDiscovery tools alone, but that was wishful thinking. Ultimately, they were happy to leave the complexity and advanced features to a seasoned provider who lives and breathes this technology daily. Their Legal team performance measurements, client satisfaction ratings, and overall eDiscovery-related savings confirm the wisdom of those decisions.
Ninja Tip: Empower your Legal team to excel in their craft - LET THEM PRACTICE LAW! With the latest advancements in eDiscovery tools, expert optimization will unlock the tool's actual value. Unsurprisingly, selecting the best tool is simplified when you have the proper support to manage it. Evaluate the provider as much as the software capabilities – your results will be better for it.
eDiscovery tools help you understand the data
The key to success is understanding the value of the information you have. Advanced eDiscovery technology empowers Legal teams to efficiently and effectively sift through the mountains of electronically stored information (ESI) to identify key pieces of evidence that help build a strong case. eDiscovery tools reveal the value of the collected data in several ways. Firstly, these tools can quickly and accurately locate relevant data, including emails, documents, and other digital records, saving significant time and resources. Additionally, eDiscovery providers that can handle multilingual data sets lessen the complexity by providing comprehensive translation services before or after collection. Experience with eDiscovery tools helps teams identify patterns and connections between related pieces of data that may not be apparent at first glance, helping lawyers develop a more complete and compelling argument. By better understanding the collected data, eDiscovery tools provide Legal teams with a competitive edge, enabling them to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome in litigation.
How do eDiscovery tools remove the "data fog" of litigation?
eDiscovery tools are essentially software applications designed to assist in identifying, collecting, processing, reviewing, and producing electronic data during litigations. But how do they help your team understand how that data applies to the case? This is where eDiscovery tools shine! They take copious amounts of disparate data, assemble them into compartmentalized buckets that make processing easier, and apply advanced analytics to allow for review in one place. Making the data more clear reduces time, energy, and costs.
"Understanding your data is the key to unlocking its potential value in eDiscovery. Without insight, it's just noise," opined Andrew Peck, former US Magistrate Judge.
Here are the top 3 ways eDiscovery tools can help teams better understand their data:
- Efficient Data Collection: eDiscovery tools can help teams collect data from multiple sources, including email accounts, cloud storage, and social media platforms with ease. These tools can also filter out irrelevant data, reducing the volume of data that needs to be reviewed, which saves time and costs.
- Advanced Analytics: eDiscovery tools can help teams gain insights into their data through advanced analytics. For instance, they can use these tools to perform keyword searches, concept searches, and email threading to identify relationships between different documents and people. These advanced features enable them to understand the context of the data better.
- Data Visualization: eDiscovery tools can help teams visualize their data using charts, graphs, and other graphical representations. This enables them to quickly identify patterns and trends, which can help them make better decisions. Additionally, data visualization can be useful in presenting findings to stakeholders and non-technical team members.
Ninja Tip: EDiscovery tools provide teams with a comprehensive and efficient approach to analyzing and understanding large volumes of data. These software tools consider the complexity of data from multiple locations, custodians, and digital and physical sources. Global teams must overcome challenges on a grander scale than ever before. Use the tools to reduce the "noise" and get to the heart of the case
eDiscovery tools utilize Advanced Analytics
eDiscovery tools have evolved significantly over the years, and one of the most significant advancements is the use of Advanced Analytics. These tools leverage powerful algorithms and machine learning capabilities to help legal teams quickly and accurately identify and categorize relevant documents and data. Advanced analytics can help identify patterns, relationships, and trends that may not be immediately apparent to human reviewers.
By analyzing metadata, text, and visual content, these tools can provide insights into the context and meaning of the data, helping streamline the review process and reduce the risk of missing critical information. Advanced Analytics in eDiscovery is especially valuable when dealing with large, complex datasets, where a traditional review would be time-consuming, costly, and impractical.
Advanced Analytics boost efficiency and accuracy
Legal teams continue to face the need to "do more with less," which necessitates finding new ways to accomplish their tasks or adding solutions that can do it for them. Advanced Analytics can provide the needed boost to legal performance in powerful ways, including:
- Early Case Assessment (ECA): Advanced analytics can quickly analyze and sort large volumes of data to identify relevant information early in the eDiscovery process. This ability helps teams focus on the most important documents and reduce the time and resources spent reviewing irrelevant information.
- Predictive Coding: Predictive coding is a machine learning technique that can help eDiscovery teams quickly and accurately identify relevant documents. By training a predictive coding algorithm on a subset of relevant documents, the algorithm can automatically classify the remaining documents as either relevant or irrelevant.
- Concept Clustering: Advanced analytics can also cluster similar documents together based on their content, allowing eDiscovery teams to identify clusters of potentially relevant documents quickly. This capability can be beneficial when dealing with large volumes of data, as it can help teams identify potentially relevant information more efficiently.
eDiscovery Tools Fact: Active Learning vs. Machine Learning – What's the difference?
Active Learning and Machine Learning are both techniques used in eDiscovery, but they have different applications and methodologies.
Machine Learning in eDiscovery involves using algorithms and statistical models to analyze and categorize large volumes of electronically stored information (ESI) to identify relevant documents in the context of a legal matter. Machine Learning can be used for document classification, clustering, and predictive coding tasks.
Active Learning is a type of Machine Learning that involves the iterative selection of documents for review based on their potential relevance to a legal matter. In Active Learning, a small subset of documents is initially reviewed and used to train a Machine Learning algorithm. The algorithm then identifies additional documents that are likely to be relevant and presents them for review by a human reviewer. The reviewer's feedback is incorporated into the algorithm to refine the document selection process further.
In summary, Machine Learning is a broader concept that encompasses the use of algorithms and statistical models for document analysis, while Active Learning is a specific approach within Machine Learning that focuses on iteratively selecting documents for review based on their potential relevance.
Ninja Tip: As the Amendments to the FRCP state in Rule 26, eDiscovery should be both timely and cost-effective. Legal teams have used Advanced Analytics to help accomplish both by allowing them to work more efficiently, reducing the time and cost associated with the eDiscovery process.
eDiscovery tools develop a defensible workflow
Developing a defensible workflow is essential in ensuring that your eDiscovery process is legally sound. When conducting eDiscovery, it's vital to create a standardized procedure that outlines each step of the process, from the initial data collection to the final production of documents. This helps ensure that the process is legally sound and that it's repeatable, defensible, and consistent across different cases. Documenting each step of the process is crucial, as it provides a clear record of what was done, why it was done, and by whom. Additionally, it can serve as evidence of your due diligence in meeting your legal obligations should you face any challenges to your process, including an unbreakable chain of custody.
Transparency is another critical element of a defensible eDiscovery workflow. By being transparent with all parties involved, you can establish trust and credibility with stakeholders, including opposing counsel, judges, and clients. Transparency also means providing access to all documentation related to the eDiscovery process, so stakeholders can review it and ensure it was conducted appropriately. eDiscovery tools offer a wealth of supporting, time-stamped documentation, including metadata logs, search reports, and chain of custody reports. By leveraging these advanced tool features, you can create a defensible workflow that provides a clear and comprehensive record of your eDiscovery process, giving you the confidence to navigate the eDiscovery process easily.
eDiscovery Tools Fact: They help optimize your litigation team's workflow too
Overall, eDiscovery tools can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a litigation team's workflow by automating tedious tasks, streamlining the review process, and providing a centralized repository for all case-related documents. By leveraging these tools, litigation teams work more efficiently, reducing costs, and improving client outcomes.
- Reduce the time and resources required for manual data collection
- Provide collaboration features that allow multiple team members to review documents simultaneously, improving efficiency and reducing the risk of errors.
- Offer capabilities that allow for the redaction of confidential information and the production of documents in various formats, making it easier to collaborate and share information with different stakeholders.
Ninja Tip: Creating a defensible workflow is critical to the case. Building the perfect argument to deliver in court requires that the process that produced it be beyond scrutiny. eDiscovery tools provide the digital evidence that protects your legal work and your client's best interests. Top of Form
Train your team to use eDiscovery tools
Investing in training for your team is essential to optimize the value of your eDiscovery tools. Your legal team should receive comprehensive and ongoing training on the features, capabilities, and best practices for eDiscovery to ensure they are using the tools effectively. By doing so, your team will be better equipped to navigate the evolving complexities of eDiscovery. Training will also ensure that your team can take advantage of the advanced features of eDiscovery tools, such as Machine Learning and Predictive Coding, to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the process.
Moreover, ongoing training is necessary to keep your organization up-to-date with the latest tool updates and to ensure that your team remains productive with the chosen tool. Technology, capabilities, and features continue to advance at a rapid pace. These changes create the need to adapt workflows to take full advantage of the latest features, so training ensures your team remains current on how to apply these changes to your greatest advantage. Additionally, regular training can help your team ensures your organization's eDiscovery process remains efficient and cost-effective.
Top 5 reasons to train on eDiscovery tools
- Increased Efficiency: eDiscovery tools can significantly speed up data collection and processing phases. Proper training on these tools can help users navigate and use them more efficiently, reducing the time and effort required to complete eDiscovery tasks.
- Improved Accuracy: eDiscovery software can help to ensure that all relevant data is collected and processed accurately. By receiving proper training, users can learn how to use these tools effectively and reduce the risk of errors or omissions in the eDiscovery process.
- Boosted Cost savings: eDiscovery can be a costly process. Proper training on the tools can help reduce the time and effort required to complete eDiscovery tasks, ultimately resulting in cost savings for the organization.
- Ensured Compliance: eDiscovery tools help ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. By receiving proper training, users can learn how to properly collect, process, and produce electronic data that meets legal and regulatory standards.
- Enhanced Competitive Advantage: Proper eDiscovery training can give organizations a competitive advantage in the Legal industry by allowing organizations to complete eDiscovery tasks more quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively than their competitors.
Ninja Tip: Training is one of the less costly ways to press your eDiscovery competitive advantage. With the competitors in the market seeming to be "a mile wide and an inch deep," it is imperative to differentiate yourselves in any way possible. Having the most adept team of eDiscovery Experts is a great way to stand out. Questel provides our clients with a more significant advantage through training, expert support, and knowledgeable guidance.
Conclusion: Tips for eDiscovery Tools to Improve Your Outcomes
Utilizing advanced eDiscovery tools is no longer an option for Legal teams but a necessity to manage electronic data's ever-increasing volume and complexity. However, how to get the most out of these advanced tools isn't as easy to discern.
By implementing these best practices, Legal teams can more effectively manage eDiscovery and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. eDiscovery is an expensive business necessity, so help reduce the cost, time, and risk of under-utilizing your eDiscovery tools. Using these tips can significantly improve your Legal team's use of eDiscovery tools to ensure accurate, consistent, and cost-effective outcomes.
For specific advice or more insight on the guidance shared in this blog, get in touch with our experts.
Author: Scott Miller
Marketing Director at doeLEGAL, a Questel Company, leverages 14+ years of marketing Legal Ops solutions. Scott manages diverse marketing efforts building greater global corporate legal department value to help them excel. Scott’s background in marketing, creative arts, and aerospace engineering creates a unique skill set to drive successful results.