eDiscovery is a challenging process for even the most experienced law firms, corporations, or agencies. Public sector (government) agencies face added challenges in their efforts to procure eDiscovery solutions. The top five litigation discovery issues faced by public sector agencies include declining budgets, increasing data volumes, changing data landscapes, the need for collaboration within and across departments, and limited availability of resources. These challenges can further complicate the eDiscovery process if you can’t find a full-strength and end-to-end solution. Full-strength and end-to-end solutions are robust in feature and capable of handling all the stages in the eDiscovery process: they provide a rich solution that can address all your eDiscovery needs (from ECA to production and everything in between) in one platform. Not being able to find a rich and all-encompassing solution exacerbates already-existing challenges for eDiscovery in the public sector. How? Let’s take a look at each point.
1- Declining budgets
Despite the growing need for eDiscovery in the age of big data, budgets are being cut across the board. It’s needless to mention the obvious solution for this challenge: choose less expensive eDiscovery. (Did I mention it?!) There’s more to solving the cost of eDiscovery problem than negotiating a lower price. You need to look at your total cost of ownership for eDiscovery.
Do you patchwork multiple eDiscovery products addressing individual needs (ECA, review, TAR…etc.) together to meet your needs? Don’t be fooled by the price tag of tools that offer just one or two features at a time. It only means that you’ll need to buy other tools to complete your discovery from end to end. Find a provider that offers everything you need in one place for eDiscovery from data ingestion, ECA, TAR, review, to production. It’s quite likely your cost will decrease when you bundle all these services in one package from one solution provider. It will certainly benefit you in other ways too–preventing spoliation, data loss, or compatibility problems. Your ever-decreasing budget can be alleviated by smarter choices: choose one platform that does it all, instead of many separate that must be somehow glued together.
2- Increasing data volumes
The volume of data is increasing at an exponential rate. The explosion of your electronically stored information creates a two-fold problem: one of volume and one of data variety. Let’s address the volume challenge first; then, we’ll address the data variety in the next point. It is imperative for your eDiscovery solution to be capable of handling large volumes efficiently. Intelligent Early Case Assessment and advanced filtering will allow you to cull large data sets to digestible sizes. This efficiency will benefit you both in cost and time.
3- Changing data landscape (data variety)
In addition to the increase in data volume, new file and data types mark the landscape of technology development every day. Your eDiscovery solution must process your data in its variety of file types all in one place. Discriminating against certain data types because your platform can’t process it adds more work, and ultimately more time and money. When you select your eDiscovery provider account for its ability to process more “difficult” file types, like audio visual files, associated transcripts, or AutoCAD diagrams.
4- Collaboration within & across departments
Litigation discovery in the public sector can involve many parties both within a department and across numerous agencies. The need for collaboration should not be a roadblock in your eDiscovery efforts. eDiscovery solutions must accommodate the reality of today’s multi-party matters, expansive work environments, and need for collaboration. For larger matters often handled by the Government, at least hundreds of active users should be able to access a matter simultaneously–and with different permissions as their roles require. Logistics such as simultaneous access and role-based permissions should be the least of your worries in a litigation.
5- Limited availability of resources
Whether it’s a FOIA request or litigation at the city, state, or federal level, public sector resources are valuable and should be allocated with sensitivity. Your staff and general counsel should not be occupied more on logistics or minutiae than the actual results of a case. Time is also always short. Deadlines loom and the quicker the turn-around, the more efficiency is gained overall. eDiscovery solutions should allow their users to focus on the matter more than the logistics of data handling or administration.
Most challenges faced by the public sector in eDiscovery can be categorized in these buckets: budget restraints, data volume and variety explosion, multi-user logistics, and limited resources. A singular and full-strength solution that addresses your eDiscovery needs end-to-end can alleviate most of these challenges.
Don’t take a vendor’s word for it, ask for real statistics from actual case studies to substantiate their claims. Incidentally, here’s an infographic you can use in your search for eDiscovery platforms. While I do encourage it, there’s no imperative to employ Casepoint as your trusted partner in smarter legal working. Whoever you choose as your eDiscovery partner, should address these top challenges–preferably exceeding your expectations. For more information on eDiscovery for the public sector visit its dedicated page.
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