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6 tips to get the most out of working with your eDiscovery service provider
Once a law firm or corporation has engaged an eDiscovery service provider, the hard work of implementing the project begins. There are several steps both parties can take to streamline the relationship and work more efficiently with each other. Below are six important tips to ensure you maximize your eDiscovery partnership.
- Centralize case team communications
Having a central point of contact, or primary Project Manager assigned to your matter, is crucial to receiving comprehensive and streamlined eDiscovery support. Beware of service providers that assign broad distribution lists of contacts to handle your requests. Along the same lines, it may be helpful on your end to assign a central litigation support professional as a conduit for case team communications with the provider. Oftentimes, service providers can receive conflicting database requests from the case team which may slow down or complicate the overall review process. Also, from a data security perspective, it’s a good idea to have one or two case administrators authorized to approve and submit all database requests sent to your service provider.
- Standardize repetitive requests
Most discovery matters will involve processing, review and production of electronically stored information. In large matters, there may be rolling requests that are sent out. A good eDiscovery provider will begin any new matter with a project design meeting to discuss the scope of the project and map out workflows and discovery deadlines. Utilize this matter design process to define standard processing, review and production specifications and create templates which can be used in communicating repetitive requests. If you have multiple matters with the same provider, you can go a step further and create templates that are automatically assigned to new workspaces with pre-defined processing specifications, coding layouts and batching views. Taking a little extra time upfront can result in major cost and time savings downstream as your matter begins to heat up.
- Understand the data
It can be difficult to have an accurate sense of the type and size of electronically stored information being sent to providers for processing and analysis, especially when it’s sent directly from an end-user on the client side without utilizing forensic collection services. However, any information you can communicate to your provider upfront about incoming data can be of great benefit. Data size can be used to help determine resource pools and storage options, while data type may dictate the type of processing software that is utilized and the turnaround time on processing requests. The more information a provider has to work with, the more consultative and proactive it can be in moving data efficiently through processing and into review.
- Take advantage of training
Depending on the size and bandwidth of your litigation support team, it may make sense from both a cost and time savings perspective to learn how to handle standard database requests in-house. Most eDiscovery service providers will offer initial or ongoing database user training free of charge. Good ones will even encourage and offer training on a rolling basis throughout the life of your matter. Beware of providers that lock down database permissions as a rule and require that all requests flow through them. If you can, leave the heavy lifting and complex database work to the experts, but learn to handle the basics on your own. For example coding layout, field and tag creation, basic searching and batching require minimal training time, but can maximize use of your professional service hours.
- Ask about consultative services
Project Managers on the provider side have evolved to be more than just great taskmasters and button pushers. Many now employ robust Professional Service teams which include attorneys and technologists with broad experience in eDiscovery consulting. It’s not uncommon for providers to collaborate with case teams in answering eDiscovery requests, oftentimes even participating as expert consultants in discovery conferences. A provider’s project management team can often be your best resource in determining whether opposing counsel’s eDiscovery requests are proportional to the needs of the case.
- Utilize automation
Advances in eDiscovery technology allow for the automation of many repetitive database requests from setting up automatic batching which run on dynamic searches to utilizing scripts, dashboards and other advanced forms of reporting to reduce manual work. Structured and advanced analytics can, and in many cases should, also be leveraged to streamline review and lower attorney review costs.
Contact the CDS Advisory Services team to discuss how you can streamline your next eDiscovery project.
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