Check your technology | Association of Certified Electronic Discovery Specialists (ACEDS)

Every year or so now there are school supplies to buy and other preparations to make for the year ahead. They typically include paper, pencils, and erasers, but in recent years have included things like headphones, USB drives, and other technology. It’s a chance to reset and see what will be needed for the coming year.

So now is also a great time to ride that wave and evaluate the technology you use in your business practice and in eDiscovery. Instead of a year-end review, now’s a great time to ask what’s working and what’s not working for how you run litigation support. This can mean asking questions about the background of the tools you use as well as high-level strategic questions about cost.

Just as you might with children or grandchildren who need new technology, it’s important to compare the features and prices of the technology you need to have the best chance of eDiscovery success. This can be a daunting task because there are so many options and each user’s needs can vary greatly.

Discussions on mailing lists and industry forums regarding billing systems, phone systems, and other operational software are robust and helpful. But finding a vendor-neutral place to understand eDiscovery technologies is a challenge. As costs have fallen, data volume has increased, and currently available software offerings have many moving parts. More and more users are using eDiscovery technologies directly or indirectly through the various online systems provided by Microsoft, Google, etc.

The options are extensive and many people wonder whether they should use a full service or a subscription service for their eDiscovery projects. There are several factors to consider, including:

  • Project size
  • number of users
  • Experience managing eDiscovery projects
  • Number of open files
  • Availability of litigation support professionals

Several common questions arise from these factors. Do you have enough projects and people to do it all yourself? Do you need full-time help from a service provider to get the job done? Is it something in between?

We recently worked with a client to help them understand how analytics can aid document review. They wanted to understand the additional costs and training required, especially since they had one project per month, so they didn’t know if now was the right time to start using analytics. As with many users trying something for the first time, it would take longer to perform routine operations. But the dividends pay off the second time around and beyond, which is especially true for analyzing large datasets.

eDiscoveryaassessment.com helps you determine where you are in the process of achieving your own eDiscovery. This online survey asks five questions about your current state of eDiscovery by asking about project size, number of employees, and other basic skill level questions. The assessment helps you determine if you are ready to handle eDiscovery tasks yourself or would benefit more from assistance based on these factors and costs.

Whether you are a plaintiff, defendant, corporation, government entity, large producer, or large recipient, the eDiscovery assessment does not favor one over the other, even though their goals may differ. Requesters want to keep costs low and predictable and reduce the total number of hours needed to achieve eDiscovery goals. Defense wants to reduce costs while keeping efforts billable by the hour in a way that meets customer expectations. Companies may only have an eDiscovery event once a quarter, but demand can result in large document productions. Law firms can handle a few to hundreds of concurrent cases involving a handful of documents.

In some of these cases, entities must manage their own eDiscovery process to control costs, even though they have very different needs. The eDiscovery assessment takes this into account when making recommendations on whether you are an ideal candidate for subscription services or whether it would be better to stay with a full-service provider.

Of course, there are projects of size and responsibility where having someone else lead the charge is a good business decision. There are solutions that allow you to switch between self-service and full service at the client or case level.

Either way, now is a great time to look to the year ahead and determine what technology you can leverage to give you the best eDiscovery process and results possible.

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