A multi-part series on the fundamentals eDiscovery practitioners need to know about the preparation and production of ESI
In “The Final Countdown,” we discussed the importance of production and the primary production formats. In “The Nitty-Gritty and Other Reduplications,” we discussed other important production format considerations. In “Who Gets to Decide,” we discussed what the FRCP have to say about who selects the production format. In “Production Format Disputes,” we discussed some example production dispute cases. In this Part, we review the actual preparation of the production.
Now that we have reviewed the range of production formats available, the additional decisions that need to be made, and the rules and cases about who gets to make all those decisions, it’s time to review the actual preparation of the production in the chosen format. This process is typically a collaboration between members of the case team and the internal or external technical professionals responsible for administrating your chosen processing and review platforms.
The first part of this process rests with the case team – potentially, in collaboration with external review project managers. Before the actual production can be prepared, the final set of materials to be produced must be identified and final checks must be run on those materials:
Once all necessary checks have been completed, and the finalized set of materials to be prepared for production has been confirmed, the production preparation process moves to the internal or external technical professionals responsible for administrating your chosen processing and review platforms.
At this point in the process, the relevant technical professionals will engage in a series of platform-specific and production format-specific steps to actually generate the final production set for delivery, potentially including:
Depending on the specific production format and steps required, this process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. In particular, generating large numbers of TIFF page images can take a significant amount of time, and for this reason, it is often begun well ahead of final production preparation, when possible, to avoid last-minute time crunch.
Depending on the format choices made, the prepared production set may include thousands of native files, thousands of extracted text files, thousands of TIFF images, and a load file with numerous details about each of those thousands of files. Before delivery, this prepared production set will be subjected to some combination of quality control checks. Typically, these are performed by the same technical professionals that prepared the production, but some may also be performed by the case team.
Common quality control checks for a prepared production include:
Members of the case team may also repeat some of the substantive checks performed prior to production preparation to ensure that no privileged or unreviewed materials have been inadvertently pulled into the production set during the actual preparation.
Finally, once all quality control checks have been completed, the production set must be prepared for delivery to the requesting party. Options for delivery include delivery on data CDs or DVDs, delivery on flash drives or hard drives, and delivery via cloud-based repositories. The primary determinant of which you use will be the size of the production:
In addition to size, another factor to consider is the security of your chosen delivery method – particularly when delivering on discs or drives:
If you are delivering via a cloud-based repository, such as a dedicated Relativity database, there are additional questions to address:
Upcoming in this Series
Up next, in the final Part of this series, we will conclude our review of production fundamentals with a discussion of privilege logs, production logs, and key takeaways.