The fog of war is apt shorthand for the state of uncertainty that exists early in a new legal matter. Whether you are gearing up for litigation, an agency enforcement action, or an investigation, you are faced with potential conflict and liability shrouded in a fog of uncertainty. Early case assessment (ECA), fundamentally, is the process of trying to clear as much of that fog as possible.
Practitioners have a wide array of tools and techniques at their disposal to work towards each of these goals during the ECA phase of an eDiscovery project. The specific bells and whistles of those features vary, but the core functions almost always include: searching tools, email threading tools, duplicate handling tools, conceptual analysis tools, and random sampling tools.
Any modern document review platform provides case teams with a powerful set of tools for investigating their collected ESI in pursuit of the three goals, like a series of overlapping lenses you can use to bring your quarry into sharp focus. The next major type of tools and techniques available is search and filtering, including keyword and phrase searching, Boolean searching, fuzzy searching, conceptual searching, and more.
Any modern document review platform provides case teams with a powerful set of tools for investigating their collected ESI in pursuit of the three goals, like a series of overlapping lenses you can use to bring your quarry into sharp focus. After sampling tools and searching and filtering tools, the next major types of tools available for pursuing the three goals of ECA are tools for handling email threading and for handling duplicates and near-duplicates.
After thread and duplicate management tools, the final major tools and techniques available for pursuing the three goals of ECA are advanced analytic tools, powered by semantic indexing and other advanced mathematical analyses, including: concept searching, concept clustering, categorization, TAR 1.0 and 2.0 workflows, and new AI tools.
Our survey of tools and techniques for early case assessment has revealed a wide range of available options, each with different strengths and intended applications, but achieving effective ECA is not a question of applying as many of these tools and techniques as you can. Rather, it is a question of selecting the right ones to best serve your primary goal – whether that’s Traditional ECA, EDA, or Downstream Prep.