eDiscovery Buyer’s Checklist
The legal industry and legal professionals have become more open to incorporating advanced technologies that address their needs and help them with day-to-day responsibilities. One of these technologies is modernized eDiscovery software. Over time, these solutions have evolved to meet the changing needs of the market, which include supporting different formats of data sources, migrating to the cloud, using AI and analytics, and more. However, since there is a plethora of eDiscovery solutions, you might be having a hard time evaluating them, researching their capabilities, and understanding how you can use them in the best way.
eDiscovery software is not limited to law firms. There are several nonprofits, corporations, and government agencies that leverage this technology for conducting internal investigations, performing due diligence, managing litigations, responding to regulatory requests, responding to Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs), FOIA requests, and more. Here is the eDiscovery buyer’s checklist:
The focus of any project today is the end-user. The core aim of a product is to help the user with a task. eDiscovery software helps legal professionals with seamless collaboration and data security. With this, they are able to manage complex litigation. But what about the user experience?
Users have a certain standard for what they expect from their software. A consistent experience can ensure that they are able to adopt it faster. In the litigation space, ease of use and consistent performance is crucial as it reduces the time required for document review and decreases costs. With Casepoint, you will have a dedicated Project Manager or Client Success Manager to assist you with whatever you need. They also use feedback from their clients to improve their interface and ensure that their users have an optimal experience.
Invest in a User-Friendly Platform
Organizations are now adopting cloud-based eDiscovery solutions and data analytics to provide superior services to their clients. The stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic forced organizations to embrace solutions that enabled virtual collaboration. With the increase in electronically stored information (ESI), organizations need solutions that promote productivity and foster collaboration. The importance of constant innovation from eDiscovery solution providers cannot be understated. You don’t want to be stuck using a solution that worked this year but isn’t scaling to meet the needs of the future.
Protecting client information has always been a priority for the legal industry. Working with an eDiscovery solution that prioritizes security and compliance is of paramount importance. So, before making the decision to buy an eDiscovery software, you have to make a few key considerations, including:
- Internal governance – A compliance program that offers an internal control system to ensure the security of the platform.
- Independent testing and auditing – Rigorous privacy and security testing should be performed on the eDiscovery solution by third-party auditors.
Security and Compliance
Improving the speed of day-to-day operations can significantly increase the cost savings of any organization. For example, even a few seconds of improvement in doc-to-doc review speed can save a lot of hours and money for a million-document set. Through automation, legal professionals can get things done on time and reliably. eDiscovery solutions that automate redundant tasks can ensure that your eDiscovery process runs smoothly and efficiently.
The pricing of an eDiscovery solution varies depending on the vendor and the services they offer. However, one crucial factor to consider is whether or not they have transparent pricing. The pricing model should be easy to understand and predictable whether it is based on the number of user licenses, data hosting, processing, and productions. Some might charge more based on the customization options they offer. Please note that even though pricing is an important factor, it shouldn’t be the only basis for selecting an eDiscovery solution.
Legal document review is one of the highest litigation costs. By using an eDiscovery solution, you can eliminate the manual effort. Through the solution, reviewers can streamline every stage of the eDiscovery process, including searching and review.
Discover Relevant Information
During discovery, data such as project management files, CAD drawings, audio/video files, and chats might be left unreviewed because of the software’s inability to access the file type. The right solution will accelerate the review process by revealing the relationship between different data types. It should also have tools to help you locate the most relevant evidence.
Uncover Hidden Information
Important Questions For Every eDiscovery Buyer
If you are not sure how to consider these factors to find the right eDiscovery solution for you, here is an eDiscovery checklist of questions you need to ask:
- Does the software allow you to act and collaborate securely on the information?
- Is it better than your current solution?
- Will it work for your use cases?
- How often do they conduct usability testing?
- Are their features flexible and defensible?
- Is there any proprietary technology that you can leverage?
- Is it a cloud-based or on-premise solution?
- What is the solution’s development release cycle?
- Does it have any AI capabilities like predictive coding?
- Are there any upcoming feature releases?
- Do all the users get software updates at once?
- How long will the whole installation process take?
- Does the platform offer any collaborative tools?
- Will you be charged for training and support?
- Do they have a predictable pricing model?
- What is the process for accessing feedback channels?
- How often do they perform security monitoring, risk assessments, and third-party audits?
- Do their security and compliance programs offer written policies and regular training?
Buyer Personas and Their Challenges
Through an eDiscovery solution, law firms can expect better client outcomes. By integrating it into their existing internal workflows, they will have taken a new direction toward positive client experience. It also expands their practice area expertise.
- Law Firm Key Challenges
- Existing legal tech might not be equipped to handle the increasing volume and complexity of data
- Clients are cost-driven and demand better legal outcomes efficiently and quickly
- The complex matters, especially the unexpected ones, are beyond the existing capabilities
An eDiscovery software can help corporations centralize their processes and re-equip their legal department. Integrating an eDiscovery solution into internal workflows reduces redundant tasks and provides much-needed scalability.
- Corporate Key Challenges
- Transform the legal department
- High legal costs
- An increase in internal investigations and litigation, along with the growing number of legal requests, regulations, and oversight
- Managing outside counsel
In the case of government agencies, an eDiscovery solution can help with cloud migration and security clearance. The SLA and dedicated client support offered by eDiscovery software like Casepoint can help the agencies meet new regulations and to provide a better experience to the users.
- Public Sector Key Challenges
- Clunky, inefficient, or outdated technology
- Changes in the bureaucracy, such as tight budgets
- New regulations such as a mandate for cloud migration, an increase in FOIA requests and an increase in investigations or litigations
- Stringent security requirements
To make sure that your eDiscovery software is able to handle all the aspects of the eDiscovery process, you must first have an understanding of these aspects. By understanding the processes involved in eDiscovery, you can better understand your needs as an eDiscovery solution buyer. So, let’s get into the steps for different stages of eDiscovery.
A legal hold can be described as a directive, sent in the form of a letter or a memorandum, that directs an organization to preserve all information relevant to a legal dispute, regulatory inquiry, or an investigation. In order to create an eDiscovery legal hold, you can use this checklist:
- Summary of the nature of the investigation, inquiry, or dispute
- Statement mentioning the organization’s obligation to preserve relevant information
- Statement suspending the usual disposition and retention practices
- A clear directive to not destroy, delete, or alter any potentially relevant information
- The types of documents and ESI that need to be preserved
- Data sources for potentially relevant information
- Instructions on handling relevant ESI
- Statement asking the recipient to acknowledge that they have received the hold notice
- Contact information of the person responsible for clearing any queries
- A distribution plan
Every eDiscovery system should store a record of the data sources of the target company. This data map includes all the hardware and software that have been deployed for managing routine tasks such as email, data backups, and more.
You will need information about all the different forms of communication tools used in the target company. These tools can include email, social media, texts, messaging apps like Google Chat, Slack, Facebook Messenger, and more.
Information about the departments in the target company will help ensure that you know which one will have the information you want. In general, apart from the legal team, you might need information from the marketing & sales, product development, HR, customer service, IT, and accounting & billing departments.
eDiscovery Legal Hold Checklist
Once you have gathered the information, it’s time to process the data so that it is prepared for review. You have to upload the collection into the eDiscovery software. The procedure will begin by identifying what is inside the data set. Then, it will execute processes to filter and cull the information so that it can be promoted for the actual review. You will have to create filter criteria, like search terms, file type, date range, and more. Here is an ediscovery processing checklist you can use:
- Plan out organization (This includes checking the existing structure and deciding how you want to organize it)
- Process segmentation (Sift through the data to see if you want to process all of it or chunks of it)
This includes creating filters that remove documents that are outside the scope of the investigation. Here is what you can use to narrow down to potentially relevant documents:
- Deduplication methodologies
- Keyword list
- Date range
- Unimportant system files
- Exclude file extensions
eDiscovery Processing Checklist
During eDiscovery review, you will be identifying documents that can be produced as well as the ones that must be withheld on the basis of word-product doctrine or attorney-client privilege. At this stage, the documents are also being categorized by the relevant issues.
In simple terms, there are two forms of documents that you have to review:
- Responsive documents that must be produced
- Privileged documents that must be withheld
This is the most expensive stage of the eDiscovery system. An eDiscovery software can reduce the cost by removing irrelevant or out-of-scope documents.
One of the most important things to focus on during document review is consistency. It is not easy to achieve and requires a sound, efficient process. Apart from consistency, you also have to focus on:
To budget for the document review, you have to consider the volume of the documents along with the people who will be working on them. You can get a rough estimate of the number of hours needed for the review. However, because of the variables like the complexity of the documents, you won’t get an exact, reliable result.
The whole process of document review is associated with risk. This is the stage where you will decide to produce the documents to the opposing counsel. Quality checks are crucial at this stage to make sure that all the relevant documents are identified, and no privileged material is produced.
eDiscovery Review Checklist
Here is an eDiscovery checklist to organize your document review in the most efficient way:
- Gather all the relevant documents
- Plan the document review process and develop the protocol
- Determine how you will be coding the documents (Privileged, Responsive, etc.)
- Design a policy for quality control
- Determine the techniques, tools, and resources you will be using for review
- Engage the resources
- Determine use of technology-assisted or linear manual review
- Prepare a roster for review and contract attorneys
- Prioritize documents for review
- Train the team and inform them about the case
- Perform document review, including first-level, second-level, technology-assisted review (TAR), etc.
- Apply redactions
- Monitor and report on progress
- Perform quality control on the reviewed documents
- Prepare a log of privileged documents and redactions
- Finish document review and prepare a status report
We hope that this electronic discovery checklist helped ease the eDiscovery solution purchasing process. By asking the above-mentioned questions and following the eDiscovery buyer’s checklist, you can face this challenge head-on and end up with a software that not only fulfills your requirements, but constantly innovates to help you be prepared for the future.