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How Communication Analysis Can Help Improve Your eDiscovery Matter

May 28, 2020

In eDiscovery, it can be very helpful to conduct a preliminary analysis of the communications of the key parties. By doing so in the early stages of a matter or investigation, reviewers can gain insights on the individuals and discussions that may be most relevant. One effective way to do this is to add the Communication Analysis widget to the dashboard within Relativity. The widget helps users visually follow the interactions between entities including who has been talking to whom, how often, when, and what about.

How to Use the Communication Analysis Widget

In order to effectively utilize the Communication Analysis widget, the user first must run name normalization over the data set. Name normalization is a structured analytics option like email threading. It examines email document headers to identify all aliases (proper names, email addresses, etc.) and the entities (person, distribution group, etc.) those aliases belong to. This will populate the Entity From and Entity Recipient fields needed to run the Communication Analysis visualization.

The widget provides a visual representation of the communications over a specific set of email documents. The top 500 communicators in that document set will be displayed visually with each individual represented as a “node.” By hovering over each individual node, the user can see the number of communications to and from that individual person. Selecting the individual node filters the documents to show where that person was a communicator for the document. The user can further narrow the scope of the analysis focusing on precisely who that individual was communicating with in the documents.

For each node connection, the user can see how much communication there was between two individuals by the width of the line between the nodes. A thicker line represents more frequent communication. Here is an example:

Benefits of Communication Analysis

The visualization aspect of the widget is critical to quickly identifying the people and topics relevant to the matter. This is turn benefits the eDiscovery process in multiple ways:

  • Identifying additional custodians for preservation and potential collection. By detecting who was frequently communicating with the key individuals, the widget can help determine other parties who may have necessary information.
  • Analyzing communications during critical time periods. The widget enables users to easily filter down to communications occurring during that essential period.
  • Adding search terms. Searching for words critical to the investigation can identify individuals whose communications should be further analyzed.
  • Incorporating other analytic tools. Analytics such as clustering can help identify conceptual topics in the data set. Filtering communications by those individual conceptual topics can confirm the individuals having discussions related to those topics.

The Relativity Communication Analysis dashboard can speed the analysis of data sets for a more efficient and accurate review. For more information, contact the CDS Advisory Services team to discuss how we can improve the results of your next eDiscovery project.

About the Author

Brian Zimmermann, Esq.

Brian Zimmermann, Esq.

As a Client Director, Brian Zimmermann manages workflows and provides high-level expertise to his clients. He has over 7 years of eDiscovery and legal experience and has consulted on multiple large matters for a variety of clients, including Am Law 100 firms, global financial services organizations and multi-national pharmaceutical companies. In his time with CDS, he has managed challenging eDiscovery matters including second requests, significant multi-district litigation and large class action cases. Brian is a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois.