Whether responding to a lawsuit, an internal investigation or a government investigation, a corporate legal department will inevitably manage multiple matters simultaneously. Countless matters will have overlapping custodians and documents. Most corporations continue to manage each litigation or investigation as a standalone matter. The documents for each matter are collected, processed, and loaded into a workspace where they are searched, categorized, and eventually produced.
However, utilizing multi-matter management workflows that leverage a cloud-based eDiscovery platform to repurpose documents and work product will easily decrease costs, increase turnaround times, reduce risk, and improve the consistency of the results. The entire process becomes more efficient and beneficial.
Let’s walk through some of the steps you can take to improve your current process using multi-matter management workflows for your next new matter.
Step 1: Identify Existing Documents From Similar Matters
Numerous document requests for the new matter will resemble a previous matter. Those previously collected and processed documents can be located within the previous matter workspace and simply transferred over to the new matter workspace. There is no need to re-collect the same documents from the same custodians.
Within the existing workspace, there is a great deal of flexibility in how you can identify the requested documents. For example, you could isolate a dataset that was uploaded to the workspace on a particular date, you could identify one or more existing document folders, or you could create a new folder, run searches, and then add the appropriate documents to the new folder. When you begin the workspace-to-workspace transfer, you can select by data store, dataset, folder, or documents currently in the results grid.
As part of the process of transferring documents, you will want to assign new document numbers and that is easily accomplished by designing a new DocID template or selecting an existing one.
Step 2: Identify User Roles
Everything within a workspace is permission-based via user roles so there must be a consideration as to which user roles need to be transferred to the new matter workspace, along with the documents and work product. Specific users can also be transferred.
Step 3: Identify Work Product
Remember all the effort and time you spent tagging the documents, redacting the documents, adding attorney notes, and populating custom fields that took place within the existing matter workspace? What about the previous privilege review? There is no need to reinvent the wheel and start the process all over again. The entirety of this work product associated with the documents identified in Step 1 above, can be transferred to the new matter workspace at the click of a button. This is HUGE!
Step 4: Identify Search Indexes
Everyone who works with eDiscovery databases understands search indexes are a requirement. In Casepoint’s eDiscovery platform, there can be multiple index types (Elasticsearch or dtSearch) in addition to any custom indexes created. For example, one of my favorites is to create an index solely on email sender and recipient fields. If someone has run any similarity searches or used email threading, there are corresponding indexes for both of those as well.
Now that we are transferring documents to a new matter workspace, doesn’t it make sense to also transfer the indexes at the same time, so they do not have to be recreated? Are you adding up all the time and cost savings in your head as we walk through these steps? Because we’re calculating quite a bit of cost savings on our end!
Step 5: Identify Production Set Configurations
This step is super helpful. There is so much customization and configuration that goes into preparing a production set that matches the agreed-upon production format. Any of the production set configurations from the previous matter can easily be transferred to the new matter workspace.
In summary, implementing a multi-matter management workflow in a cloud-based legal technology platform can exponentially reduce costs for corporations with serial litigation by eliminating the need to collect, process, and review overlapping custodial documents across matters. The cost savings will grow year-over-year as the work product is repurposed repeatedly throughout new matters. Additionally, corporate legal departments will gain enormous value from the greater consistency in their responses and quicker turnaround times across matters.
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