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Aligning Your Lenses to See through the Fog, ECA Fundamentals Series Part 6

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.

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Advanced Analytic Tools, ECA Fundamentals Series Part 5

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.

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Threading, Duplicates & Near-Duplicates, ECA Fundamentals Series Part 4

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.

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Searching and Filtering for Fun and Profit, ECA Fundamentals Series Part 3

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.

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Sampling a Well-Stocked Toolkit, ECA Fundamentals Series Part 2

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.

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Clearing the Fog of War, ECA Fundamentals Series Part 1

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.

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Key eDiscovery Program Management Takeaways – Program Management Series, Part 8

Unfortunately, the establishment of an effective, efficient eDiscovery program is not a one-and-done activity.  Like all active programs or systems, it requires ongoing maintenance to ensure that it continues to be effective and efficient.  For an eDiscovery program that means doing things like post-mortems, periodic program reviews, and more. In addition to maintaining your program over time, you will undoubtedly want to improve it over time. Read to review the steps on how to maintain and improve eDiscovery programs and what they entail.

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Ongoing Program Maintenance and Improvement – Program Management Series, Part 7

Unfortunately, the establishment of an effective, efficient eDiscovery program is not a one-and-done activity.  Like all active programs or systems, it requires ongoing maintenance to ensure that it continues to be effective and efficient.  For an eDiscovery program that means doing things like post-mortems, periodic program reviews, and more. In addition to maintaining your program over time, you will undoubtedly want to improve it over time. Read to review the steps on how to maintain and improve eDiscovery programs and what they entail.

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Management Metrics for eDiscovery – Program Management Series, Part 6

There are advantages to moving beyond intra-project metric monitoring to inter-project metric monitoring.  When the relevant project details are captured across multiple projects in a standardized, normalized way, they reveal additional insights invaluable for proactive program management within an organization. Which metrics will be most useful to your organization will depend, to some extent, on the types of matters and eDiscovery activities in which your organization is most often engaged, as well as on your balance of insourcing and outsourcing.  Here, we will review examples of key project metrics to consider tracking for the realization of cross-project, program management benefits.

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Evaluating Potential Service Providers – Program Management Series, Part 5

In this segment, we discuss the proactive evaluation of service providers for the establishment of ongoing relationships, whether as a preferred provider, a managed services provider, or a total process outsourcing provider. This is generally accomplished through a Request for Information (“RFI”) process in which a service buyer collects desired information from a group of potential service providers in an organized way to facilitate comparison.  Here we will review the core competencies it is most important to investigate when planning an RFI for eDiscovery service providers, along with some tips for an effective RFI process.

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Evaluating the Available Solution Models – Program Management Series, Part 4

Before organizations begin proactive management of their overall eDiscovery programs, they typically make case-by-case decisions about service providers and resources, buying services à-la-carte and treating each matter as a one-off.  This approach offers great flexibility, but little predictability or consistency. Once organizations begin proactive management efforts, they must wrestle with the question of what functions to insource and which ones to outsource. Read further to learn the benefits and trade-offs of insourcing and (aggregated) outsourcing, and how to select the hybrid model that’s right for you.

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Evaluating Existing Service Needs and Resources – Program Management Series, Part 3

Engaging in effective, proactive management of an eDiscovery program requires a full understanding of how that program has been operating up to that point.  The complex, cross-departmental nature of eDiscovery projects can make the full cost and impact difficult to discern.  How are things currently done?  What is the true cost of doing them?  What internal and external resources are utilized?  Which activities must be undertaken most frequently?  How well do current resources fit current needs?  How are those needs changing over time? These are all questions that can be answered by undertaking a multi-prong investigation into your own program, including gathering input from key stakeholders, reviewing personnel and financial records, and studying eDiscovery and legal records. 

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Evaluating and Improving Organizational Readiness – Program Management Series, Part 2

Litigation readiness is a measure of how prepared an organization is to respond to the next litigation event that arises.  How quickly can the organization leap into action?  How long will it take to identify relevant sources and custodians?  How long to identify the resources needed to begin collections and review?  How many processes will have to be defined on the fly?  How many wheels reinvented?  How much unnecessary duplication of past work will take place? Continue reading to learn how to approach and answer these questions, and more.

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Taking the eDiscovery Bull by the Horns – Program Management Series, Part 1

Program management should be an active concern for those attorneys and other legal department personnel responsible for eDiscovery activities within an organization.  Effective program management can do even more than effective project management to reduce costs and risks and to increase predictability, consistency, and defensibility. Along with cost, defensibility is a primary concern about eDiscovery activities, and as with cost, defensibility can be improved with effective program management. Read on to learn how.

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ECA Options and Planning Considerations – Data Targeting Series, Part 3

The last segment discusses data targeting options during early case assessment and considerations for overall strategy. During early case assessment (ECA), in almost any modern document review platform, case teams have a powerful set of tools at their disposal for data targeting prior to review. Your goal should be to understand the specifics of the options available in your source systems and your discovery tools so that you can assess which ones will be most useful to you in each specific project and how aggressive you should be in your overall targeting efforts. Read on to learn more about data targeting tools that can be used prior to review.

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Data Targeting During Collection and Processing – Data Targeting Series, Part 2

In this segment we review the data targeting options during the collection and processing phases. The extent to which the right data can be targeted during the collection phase will depend primarily on the specific devices and systems from which you are collecting. Once your material has been collected and you are ready to begin processing the data, another range of data targeting options is available to you. In addition to standard removal of known system files, duplicate files, and duplicate messages, there are several filtering options you can dive into.

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Target More, Spend Less – Data Targeting Series, Part 1

eDiscovery continues to evolve but remains a costly endeavor. To more narrowly target the right data prior to review, there are a range of tools and techniques available in each prior phase–before litigation, during collection and restoration, during processing, and during early case assessment and review preparation.  To leverage these tools and techniques effectively, you will need to think about discovery as more than just a legal activity–you will need to think about it as an information management and retrieval exercise. Read on to learn more about the key data targeting options available to you in each project phase, from simple data mapping to full technology-assisted review.

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Key Project Scoping and Planning Takeaways Series, Part 7

One final piece of advice for effective eDiscovery project scoping and planning: seek help from experienced practitioners early and often.  It is quite common for organizations not to involve an eDiscovery service provider or independent expert in their eDiscovery project efforts until much of the initial scoping and planning has already been done – sometimes after the meet-and-confer has already occurred and an agreement has already been negotiated.  Unfortunately, at this point it’s already too late to avoid some of the pitfalls discussed in this series, and the negotiated agreement may not even be technically feasible. Read on to review the other key project scoping and planning takeaways from this series.

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eDiscovery Project Roles and Communication Series, Part 6

As you transition from your planning and estimation activities into the full eDiscovery project, taking time to predefine key roles and communication guidelines can save significant time and confusion later.  Even a modestly-sized eDiscovery project is likely to involve individuals from the client organization or one or more law firms. Just as important as setting a plan in place for key roles and delegation of decision-making authority is establishing some rules or guidelines for how communication should be handled, including how it will flow, what rules should be followed for email, and what other documentation should be generated. Learn how to assign primary points of contact and delegate key authority as well as how to establish communication and documentation rules.

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Volume Estimation and Downstream Planning Series, Part 5

Once you have completed your initial planning and completed your investigation activities to validate and flesh out your initial assumptions, you should be equipped with enough information to proceed to estimations of project volumes and potential costs. As with volume estimation, cost estimation is largely a matter of math, multiplying your projected volumes and counts by your preferred service provider’s price list (or bundle, etc.). Several of the calculators linked to within the post for data volume estimation can be used to help you estimate pricing as well, and many service providers also offer their own calculator built to reflect their specific pricing model. Read further to review the factors used in these calculations and to discover the types of calculators available.

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Surveying and Sampling During eDiscovery Project Planning Series, Part 4

The investigative options you need to undertake to test your project assumptions will depend on the specifics of your project, especially on its scale.  Larger or more complex projects will require more – and more ambitious – investigative efforts.  Surveying and sampling are particularly useful and important in projects that feature a large number of potential custodians or other sources. Surveying in this context, like targeted interviews, is part and parcel of what would normally be your full, pre-collection custodian interview process. In the land of eDiscovery, “sampling” is used to refer to both judgmental and statistical sampling.  In this early project planning phase, both kinds of sampling can be useful. Learn more about the specific types of these methods and when each is the most beneficial.

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Investigating Your eDiscovery Project Assumptions Series, Part 3

Once you have collaborated with knowledgeable individuals to brainstorm hypothetical materials and potential sources (and prioritize them), you are ready to begin investigating the facts on the ground to bridge the gap from your imagination to actual reality.  A variety of investigative options are available for accomplishing this, including: targeted interviewing; data mapping; surveying; and, sampling.  Which one (or more than one) will be most useful to you will depend on your circumstances – in particular, your expected number and types of sources.

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Initial eDiscovery Project Scoping Steps Series, Part 2

Each new project is going to be fairly opaque to you at the outset.  You will know the general legal subject matter, the essential event(s) giving rise to the issue, and any individually named defendants within the organization.  Beyond that, however, anything and everything (or nothing) might be relevant. Starting with what you know about the type of matter, the underlying facts, and the key players (typically based on a complaint or preservation notice), you and your collaborators must extrapolate what types of relevant materials are likely to exist within the organization and where (or in whose custody) they are likely to be.  This should include consideration of both the information and materials you will want to see and use and the information and materials you anticipate the opposing party will request. Once you have finished your brainstorming exercise and have a list of potentially-extant relevant materials, likely places to look for them, and distinctive characteristics you might use to identify them, your next step is to prioritize these potential materials, sources, and custodians to guide your subsequent activities and allocation of resources.  Read more to learn the general flow of inquiry and the criteria on which to base prioritization.

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Clichés, Chaos, and eDiscovery Project Planning Series, Part 1

eDiscovery is undeniably challenging.  Data volumes continue to multiply, data types continue to diversify, and data custodians continue to modify their tools and practices.  Couple this daunting set of variables with an ever-expanding set of eDiscovery tools and services available to be leveraged, add time-pressure and an adversarial process, and you have a perfect recipe for chaos, uncertainty, and small (but important) things getting missed. The reliable way to reduce the risk of such errors is to take the time for proper planning before rushing headlong to action.  To be sure, planning an eDiscovery project is an iterative process that overlaps and intersects with other early project activities, but investing the time and effort required for effective planning, from the beginning (and throughout those early phases), will produce downstream benefits including saved time, saved money, reduced risk, and increased defensibility. 

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Archiving, Release, and Destruction of Information – The Importance of Information Governance as Preparation for Successful E-Discovery Series, Part 4

The governance of information addresses all aspects of its life cycle, and no stage is more important than this final phase. Data volumes continue to rise at an increased velocity, with 90 percent of all information having been created in the last two years. Keeping, archiving, cataloging and leveraging legacy data has been a solid and acceptable practice for nearly ever. While the storage of data becomes less expensive, the real issue is whether or not it is safe to hold on to unwanted and unneeded information. If the properly authorized destruction of data significantly reduces the risk associated with keeping data, shouldn’t it then be destroyed? Read on to learn more.

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Hey…You…Get Off of That Cloud

Managing and storing data in the cloud can be the most cost-effective solution for many; however, serious due diligence is required to ensure that all data is protected and to guarantee eDiscovery best practices.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Let Your Document Review Travel: Why Legal Process Offshoring Might be Right for You

Offshore legal services offer significant savings in terms of both time and money, and, when managed correctly, can yield excellent results.

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Dealing with In-House Counsel Concerns Regarding the Management and Discovery of Electronic Data

What e-discovery and data management issues keep in-house counsel up at night? XDD’s Jordan Serum discusses four common concerns and how to address them.

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Managed Review – A Recipe for Success

The simple purpose of managed review is one of efficiency, cost savings and having a dedicated e-discovery project manager lead a team of attorneys through a document review project. Know the basic ingredients that will make a managed review project successful.

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Finding Your Discovery and Document Management Soul Mate

Modern litigation has gotten technologically complex, and in many cases, it makes more sense to let the “experts” handle the e-discovery side of things. Of course, this is only true if the vendor understands what you want and can produce those results.

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Tips for Streamlining Your Document Review

Improving efficiency typically yields lower costs too – a win-win in litigation. In this article, XDD’s Dave Jensen offers suggestions to improve your next review.

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Combating Big Data with Cost-Effective TAR

Why use Technology Assisted Review (TAR)? Saving review costs is a big reason, but improved resource management is a key benefit.

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Machine Translation: A Cost-Effective Solution for the eDiscovery Toolbox

It is commonplace today to have documents within eDiscovery collections that contain foreign languages, but this no longer need to be an obstacle for English-speaking legal teams. Handling documents in foreign languages has become much simpler and more cost-effective than in years past, and legal teams should understand their options.

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Managing eDiscovery Costs: Who Should Perform Your Document Review?

Keeping idle associates temporarily occupied with document review may seem like an efficient use of resources, but it pales in comparison to organizing a well-trained, well-versed, consistent team of professional contract reviewers. The latter approach is not only more cost-effective, it is more efficient and produces a superior end product.

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Reining in Litigation Costs with a Strategic Partnership and a Data Policy

In this era of Big Data, companies can take steps to reduce the costs of defending themselves in litigation.

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