Join BIA and our partner, ACEDS, in one of the most popular educational topics in our webinar lineup: Preventing Wasted Costs in eDiscovery.
In this webinar, BIA’s resident eDiscovery experts Brian Schrader and Barry Schwartz walk us through a plethora of eDiscovery’s best practices and most sought after topics when it comes to saving time, money, and how to prevent wasted costs, regardless of your litigation profile size.
The primary goal of eDiscovery remains constant, but the strategies, techniques, and challenges that come with eDiscovery do not. Outdated practices, inefficient workflows, old technologies, and general knowledge gaps can quickly and vastly increase the costs of eDiscovery and the time involved. It’s time to make the process more efficient and cost-effective.
In the Preventing Wasted Costs in eDiscovery webinar, you’ll learn about:
- New eDiscovery best practices and the efficiencies they bring
- Discover how implementing simple workflows eliminates chaos from eDiscovery
- Understand how modern technologies can drastically reduce timelines – and cost
- Visualize and create a truly streamlined collection, review, analysis and production process
- Achieve superior work-product throughout the life-cycle of a matter
- How you can mature your processes with the eDiscovery Maturity Model
Watch the Webinar
Webinar Q&A Session
We had a wonderful Q&A session at the end of the webinar, and we wanted to share our answers here as many of our online readers may have the same questions.
What’s the best way to document a defensible and repeatable eDiscovery workflow?
We suggest developing a detailed runbook that documents all internal processes, including litigation holds, custodian questionnaires, data collections, data processing and how data is culled, reviewed and produced. Having a guiding document, complete with easy-to-use checklists, on your shelf that covers the principles to follow for an eDiscovery matter will help you prevent wasted costs as you go through the process. And it will pay for itself many times over.
Could a standardized eDiscovery protocol be at risk for discovery?
In most cases, and especially when counsel is involved in at least reviewing that protocol, the protocol itself is likely covered by attorney/client privilege, which means it’s safe. At the same time, by demonstrating that you have a standardized process that has been used successfully on a number of cases in the past, it can be a great tool to present to opposing counsel and something both sides can agree to. That also allows you to maintain control of how the eDiscovery process is conducted. So, even though the protocol isn’t necessarily discoverable, you might not care if it was, because it would demonstrate that you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into the process.
What are the best practices for addressing accumulated eDiscovery storage costs with a client?
First, try to control the amount of data that you collect in the first place through targeted collections, and occasionally audit the data you have to make sure you’re not saving something you don’t need. For clients with large storage bills, it helps to think of them not as one-off expenditures, but a regular cost of doing business. One way to reduce your bill is enter into a long-term bulk storage agreement with your vendor for a reduced cost or flat fee. Vendors will be likely to give you a significant discount because you’re making a long-term commitment as opposed to a month-to-month agreement.
What advice do you have for a new eDiscovery manager when asked to propose an efficient workflow?
We’re big proponents of checklists at BIA, because they help you start at a certain point and know what you need to do to reach a successful conclusion of a project. So, we suggest creating an outline of what steps need to be addressed, beginning with the project kickoff, so you can start the project on the right foot. And then we suggest creating a detailed guide for your entire eDiscovery process.
What technological eDiscovery tools do you recommend for corporate legal departments, and do they scale into other legal operational areas?
Full disclosure: We’re a bit biased, because at BIA we originally developed the TotalDiscovery tool, even though it’s now its own company. However, we still think it’s one of the best tools today because it covers the entire left side of the eDiscovery process, handles everything remotely, requires no software or hardware installations and is extremely easy to use. From the first legal hold, to collecting data from just about anywhere, to culling that data and loading it into your review tool of choice, it covers each step with amazing ease and simplicity.
That said, we use other tools to complement it, because data collection has gotten very diverse. When the industry was young, the vast majority of data was found on desktops, email servers, network shares and backup tapes. Now, there’s social media, applications like Evernote and unlimited storage solutions like OneDrive or Google Drive. There can be data everywhere, so the only way to handle that is to have a variety of tools.
For review tools, Relativity is by far the market leader for good reason. We also use Catalyst’s Insight for some projects, and Reveal’s InControl solution is great as well. It really depends on the particular need, and often most importantly, the preference of the attorneys who will be using the review platform for their work.
In terms of scaling to other legal operation areas, some of our clients who originally licensed TotalDiscovery for eDiscovery purposes are now using it to send HR or security policy notifications, tracking, auditing and related questionnaires. It’s a great way to clearly track who has received a piece of communication, whether they’ve read or acknowledged it, and if they’ve been sent reminders. And it allows you to leverage that spend across other departments and needs.
Some of our clients also are using TotalDiscovery to run data collections on exiting employees. Anyone in a senior position, for instance, should have their data collected on the way out the door in case there’s a need for it later on.
Just as an aside, ACEDS is also an excellent resource for project managers, managing legal requirements and people planning.
Does remote collection software work with custodians connected through VPN or public Wi-Fi?
Yes, but that can depend on the collection software being used. With TotalDiscovery, for example, you can collect data from just about anywhere. Indeed, we’ve even had people collect files remotely while flying 35,000 feet in the air using the plane’s Wi-Fi connection. And no worries on data security, regardless of your connection type, because TotalDiscovery encrypts everything with AES 256-bit encryption on the local device before transmitting it – and uses secure transmission technologies as well.
Does remote collection software work with custodians connected through VPN or public Wi-Fi?
Yes, but that can depend on the collection software being used. With TotalDiscovery, for example, you can collect data from just about anywhere. Indeed, we’ve even had people collect files remotely while flying 35,000 feet in the air using the plane’s Wi-Fi connection. And no worries on data security, regardless of your connection type, because TotalDiscovery encrypts everything with AES 256-bit encryption on the local device before transmitting it – and uses secure transmission technologies as well.
How can a paralegal keep attorneys focused and engaged on eDiscovery?
It’s understandable that attorneys are going to be focused on the legal issues and arguments of a case instead of eDiscovery. But they need to understand that this is their ethical obligation, and if they don’t pay attention to it, they could potentially face malpractice claims. If you have a plan already in place, you can use that to explain what they need to do, then focus on implementing the plan based on the guidelines you’ve set forward.
Deja: Hi, everyone, and welcome to the ACEDS webinar channel. I am Deja Miller, and I am the operations specialist here at ACEDS and would love to welcome you here. Today we have a wonderful webinar with our affiliate BIA, “Preventing Waste Costs and eDiscovery.” Maureen is going to go ahead and do the introduction. We are very happy to have this team here with us today. Without further ado, Maureen?
Maureen: Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us today for ACEDS and BIA webinar on preventing wasted costs in eDiscovery. My name is Maureen Mirchi, and I’d like to briefly introduce today’s speakers, Brian Schrader and Barry Schwartz. Brian is BIA’s CEO and co-founder and is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in computer forensics, eDiscovery, information technology, and the law. Barry is BIA’s vice president of advisory services. He oversees all of our experts and advisors and has over 35 years of legal, business consulting, and management experience. As two of BIA’s most senior experts, Brian and Barry help our clients design and implement eDiscovery workflows and solutions that are not only defensible, but that also help save substantial costs, which is what we are here to talk about today. So with no further delay, I’ll turn the presentation over to Brian and Barry. The floor is all yours, gentlemen.
Brian: Thank you very much, Maureen, and thank you, everyone, for attending today’s webinar. My name is Brian Schrader, I’ll start out here, and Barry and I will toss it back and forth. If you have any questions, go ahead and submit those through the webinar application. We have a couple of them that we’ll try to answer as we go along, but we do have a spot at the end that we’ll attempt to answer as many questions as we can. So just wanted to give you an idea of what we’re going to talk about today when it comes to saving money in eDiscovery or preventing wasted costs. However, you want to put it. Some of the things we’re going to focus on today are things that you can do regardless of your case size, regardless of whether you’ve got one case or a hundred cases. There are obviously things that companies with large litigation profiles and large litigation needs can do in addition to these steps like volume purchasing and centralization and stuff like that we’ll touch on a little bit at the end. But really the things we’re going to focus on today are the list of things you see in front of you: creating a legal event team, creating standard protocols, the importance of issuing legal litigation holds and how that impacts costs, custodian questionnaires and interviews and how that can help you save money. One of the most important parts we’ll talk about is the targeted ESI collections because that can really help reduce the data, even before you really even get started in your case. And analytics and leveraging project management, saving sums on document review cost through TAR and other processes, and also reducing the cost of document productions as well. So lots of topics to talk about, hopefully, we can get through all of them in an hour, and we’ll go ahead and get started with the first one here.
And even before we get started talking about the first step in that chart, I wanted to mention the eDiscovery maturity model because it does impact this discussion a little bit. If you haven’t seen the eDiscovery maturity model before, this is a model that we came up with many years ago. It was published on the EDRM or the Electronic Discovery Reference Model Organizations’ website as well, and that’s now been taken over by I believe it’s Georgetown now, if I’m remembering correctly? But the eDiscovery maturity model is kind of a standard industry maturity model. You’ll see this in everything from manufacturing to technology, to even processes like this. What this is designed to do is show organizations kind of how they can mature their process internally and the different steps and the different places to focus. And you’ll see the last section there is costs. The more organized, the more controlled, the more mature your process becomes, you can see there that your costs go from surprising to controlled. And then targeted reductions, and then sharing costs and spreading that legal spend across the other parts of the organization. And this is a – we’ve got a white paper on our website, I believe it’s, like I said, still in the EDRM organizations website as well if you’d like to dig into that. But it can help you decide where you are today. And as you move up that model, your processes get more defensible. Your strategies get more predictable and more defensible; your costs get lower. And so we’ll be talking about some of that today.
So the first thing we want to talk about was the legal event team. This is something that I know for most organizations is the last thing you want is another committee, but it is really really important, and it’s not that hard to do. Whether you’re talking about a law firm who is managing many clients and advising many clients, or you’re within a single organization, the importance of creating a legal event team is key to not only making the entire process more seamless and less disruptive and less chaotic, but all of those things directly impact costs. And so this is the place to start. You want to create a legal event team. And the people you want to bring in – we call it as essential as a disaster recovery team. Just like you’ve got a team of people who go into action and create plans and test those plans with respect to disaster recovery and business continuity in your IT teams especially, having that kind of team where when the organization or when a client comes in with a new eDiscovery need – who already is assigned, already has roles assigned, who’s going to do what? Decisions are made as to how processes are going to be done. You’re not reinventing the entire process every single time. Like I said, the key thing is to have a couple of both internal and external resources. Internal in organizations would involve legal, IT, HR, executive sponsorship, things along those lines. Outside resources of counsel vendors, consultants. Who’s going to be on your team is largely dependent on what your organization looks like and what the approach is. But it should be relatively obvious depending on your organization who should be out in that group. That team, when they come together, not only create and select a solution and say you know here’s how we’re going to handle cases – from how we’re going to issue legal holds, to how we’re going to collect data, to what vendors we’re going to use, to what our process is, to whether or not we’re going to use TAR or other technologies. It’s that team who really kind of puts together the workflow inside the event organization or that the law firm uses to advise its clients. And then again, creating repeatable processes that you can always count on. And the key to that is having an organized team together in the first place. And again, one of the things is assigning responsibilities there. Who’s going to do what? When a case starts, whose job is it to get a legal hold out? Whose job is it to identify custodians? Whose job is it to automatically suspend deletion processes?
And so the first thing is assembling the team. And so once the team is assembled, the next big thing is to create an internal written plan. And this can be something that goes into extreme detail. We have a model plan that we supply to our customers that can range from 10 pages to 50 pages, depending on how complex of an environment we’re talking about, and how large the litigation profiles are, and what kind of solutions are out there. But having an internal written plan, even something as basic as taking the steps of the electronic discovery reference model or the EDRM, and saying okay, the first step that’s shown in there that we need to do is identify custodians, how are we going to do that? The next step is issuing a legal hold, how are we going to do that? Is it going to be emails and tracking with spreadsheets? Are we going to decide on a piece of software to use? What’s the solution? Having all that stuff planned and checklists created well before a case happens – not only do you not again invent the wheel every time, you are, you’ll start seeing substantial savings. Because once you have that plan and once you have a standardized approach, with anything in business, a standardized approach where it’s a repeatable, reliable process, will always reduce your cost across the board. And as you implement that and you start following that checklist, as you go through a couple of matters, you’ll start recognizing places where inefficiencies exist, and you’ll craft that plan a little bit better, a little bit tighter, maybe adjust some of your approaches. Without that written plan, you may have institutional knowledge. Somebody was involved in the last litigation, so now they’re involved in the next litigation as they remember how they did it last time. But you’re not really ever going to be able to truly control your costs because without a clear game plan, and you’re always jumping into chaos. And chaos will always increase costs. And so these are some of the different things that that plan should cover — responsibilities, who does what, when, where, and why. Again follow the EDRM every step along the way. You want to spell out the custodian involvement, meaning exactly how are you going to do legal holds, are custodian questionnaires something you’re going to use? We’ll talk about that in a little bit, and how that can help you drastically reduce costs.
And also, building in attorney guides and supervision, creating protocols, creating a collection strategy, how are custodian interviews going to be conducted, and very very important, focusing on how to create a reasonable schedule at the very beginning of a case. Because that’s also something we’ll talk about here in a minute, is the more you can prepare for a case in advance, and the more you can get started on some of the early steps in a process early on in the overall lifespan of a case, the lower your costs are going to be. The worst thing you can do is wait until there’s 60 or 90 days left in a discovery or discovery plan and start at that point because you’ll – thing is you can get stuff done good, quick, and cheap. Pick any two. So if you need it quick and good, you’re not going to get it cheap. And so these plans will help you get a head start and will help make sure that the process itself isn’t rushed along the way.
And then, of course, one of the other big things that the team should create is a standard eDiscovery protocol. And by protocol, I mean there’s kind of two different things we’re talking about here. There’s a written plan meaning okay, here’s the checklist, we got a new case, what’s our first step? Identify custodians, issue legal holds, things of that nature. What we’re talking about here is more about the eDiscovery protocol that you should enter into with the opposing counsel. One of the best ways to make sure again that you’re controlling costs and that you’re in control of the process is to be the first to step up and say here is our standard eDiscovery protocol that we’d like both parties to sign as part of the initial meet and confers at the beginning of cases. If you’re the one that comes with that protocol and says look this is the protocol we’ve used in the last five, ten, fifteen cases, whatever the case may be, you’re going to be much better prepared and much more in control of that process. And by establishing that, you’re going to establish from the very outset certain things, like can we prioritize custodians and focus on the top ten at first? – for example, maybe. Can we focus in on how productions are going to be made? Doing some documents native, some TIFF, whatever, there’s lots of ways to control costs there. How are you going to handle deduplication? Can you handle, is it going to be kind of basic deduplication where one custodian has two copies of something you only get one copy, or can you do cross custodian where it’s the whole organization? And if there’s 50 people in the organization, you only have to produce one of them? And how that’s going to work. Email threading, is there something that you can – could you enter into an agreement where, for example, you use the most inclusive email in a thread and produce that instead of all the individual emails? There’s a lot of stuff you can do in a standard discovery protocol that can help you control costs. There’s also a lot you can do in that standard discovery protocol that can help you prevent potential pitfalls.
So, for example, you can create, or you should have a section that talks about clawbacks that is explicit and allow for basically any party to claw back data that they might have accidentally produced. Inadvertent productions, be it privilege or whatever, you can cover that kind of stuff as well. And the more you have this stuff in writing, the less you have to worry about how the magistrate or the judge or whoever is overseeing the process might interpret what the federals say or what your locals say with respect to eDiscovery. Because in most cases, if the parties come together and say this is how we’re going to conduct eDiscovery, it’s a written agreement, it covers everything from how we’re going to decide which custodians, to how we’re going to do keyword searching, or TAR, or whatever kind of calling that we’re going to do, what that process looks like, what the production formats are going to look like. If you cover all the basic stuff, and again this is a standard document that you can reuse and customize for this step, you drastically reduce the potential for any misunderstandings or worse case, sanctions, that may result from somebody not liking what you’re doing. You could agree to produce all the documents on carved stone tablets if you wanted to – in an agreement, at the end of the day, that agreement in most cases will trump a lot of the local rules. We’ve seen things for example before where companies have wanted to do native productions but they – or demanded a native production after they had already gotten a TIFF production, and the courts have come back and said well you agreed in a stipulation to a TIFF production, that was the format everybody agreed from the outset, you’re not going to get your own new changed process now.
So again, having all this stuff from the organization and creating and a clear group of people whose responsibility it is to come up with the plan, having a plan documented that not only talks about what you’re going to do internally, and literally a checklist step by step, to having this written protocol that you share with your opposing counsel, you negotiate it, and you come to clear terms on all the key aspects of an eDiscovery process, it all falls under the idea of planning around eDiscovery. And as we all know, there’s no better way to start any new process than with clear and comprehensive planning. And it doesn’t have to be something that takes forever. The first time you put a plan together, sure that’s going to take a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months, depending on how often the team meets. But once that plan is in place, most of our clients have these plans, meet either once or twice a year, review the protocols, talk about cases that might have happened and things where they might see better ways of doing things because technology and solutions are always changing, and that’s about it, and just update those protocols as you go along. And the first case or two you’ll find you’ll smooth everything out, you’ll get bumps in the road taken care of, you’ll find the best way that things work in your organization, and essentially, what you’re doing here is turning eDiscovery from a completely chaotic, unpredictable process, into just another business process. And really if you walk away with nothing else from this discussion if you walk away with the understanding that what we’re talking about here to a large degree is just that. It’s about looking at eDiscovery as just another business process, just as you would look at how do you handle new customer orders all the way from acquisition to fulfillment. You have plans for everything else like this in your organization. eDiscovery should really be no different. And if you really want to get controls over the costs, it’s all about planning in advance.
So that being said, let’s dive into some of the stuff that some of the stuff – some of the actual steps of that process enhances how to save costs along the way. The first thing on that is the legal hold and custodian questionnaires. I will take a brief moment and let you hear the dulcet tones of Barry Schwartz. Barry, take it away.
Barry: Dulcet tones. Thank you, Brian. You know, as Brian shared early on in our presentation, the eDiscovery maturity model, we have our legal hold maturity model, which is not a whole lot, unlike the eDiscovery model. It starts with an ad-hoc chaotic approach all the way up to an integrated and optimized approach. And again, the steps to get from level one to level five involve planning and experience and knowledge and awareness of what you as an organization need to do in order to have a process in place for managing. One of these very important processes in a litigation matter and that is preserving the data. How do you preserve the data? How do you make sure that data is properly being preserved is to issue a legal hold and follow that through to its logical end, which is the end of the matter? And so, again, on the level one we have an ad-hoc creative chaotic process which is what we’re going to issue a legal hold by email, we’re going to send it out, and we’re going to try to track it in some kind of meaningful way. And as we move up the chain to a repeatable process, it means we’ve probably done it once or twice before, and so we’re going to do what we did previously. And then we see most of our clients in the three and four-level where there is a standardized process, and there is repeatability between matters, there’s a use of personnel in some controlled fashion. And as we move up to semi-automated and very integrated automated, we start to see significant cost savings for our clients. And as Brian was saying, the goal here again is to gain efficiency, repeatability, and defensibility, and hence you have cost savings. And again, it’s a process. How do you do these things?
The manual approach is, as I said earlier, with email notifications probably tracked in a spreadsheet or perhaps even in Outlook voting system, which is not the best way to do things. The manual approach is really in our parlance levels one and two, and as we move up the chain with legal hold solution software, we have the ability to automate notifications and reminders so that the system knows when to send it after you’ve set it up correctly. A reminder to custodians that either they haven’t acknowledged that they are on hold and what the responsibilities and obligations are, up to reminders to remind them along the way over time that they continue to be on a legal hold and their obligations to preserve documents of data remains until the item is released. And the more automated systems have the ability to send out the releases to custodians, so they know that they are no longer on a hold, and also have the ability to integrate with HR systems such as PeopleSoft and with the IT department who needs to know which data resources can be remediated or repurposed as we have exiting employees who may or may not be on a legal hold. And then as Brian mentioned as well, custodian questionnaires are an excellent way to learn about the matter at hand, and many times they’re integrated with legal holds so that it all happens in one easy, smooth step. And in here, the best way to learn about what information may be out there, who may be involved, and again we’re talking efficiency, is to discuss with your custodians who will know where the data is and will know presumably who else in the organization may or may not have information pertaining to the matter at hand. And we always recommend to add in a question, a stop question, that allows people who you think might be custodians to say well I may know something about this, but I really wasn’t involved, and I don’t have any data or information pertaining to the matter, so I’m really not somebody that you want to pursue further for detailed information regarding this matter. And at that point in time, the questionnaire stops, the custodian saves time, you don’t get a lot of meaningless or less than complete answers because the custodian doesn’t have that knowledge. And we think you can trust custodians to do the right thing.
And as Brian was discussing with the institution of a legal event team, one of the things that that team is typically charged with is educating the employee base that if and when a legal event happens and there is a need to issue a legal hold, and you have the need to inquire of employees what they may or may not know if they’re keyed in that they have this responsibility. When they receive a legal hold, receive the custodian questionnaire, they take it in the right light, they take it seriously, they respond promptly, and they respond with as complete answers as they possibly can provide. And also, you don’t want to be in the position of answering to the court where you say well I didn’t ask people involved where they got their most important documents. That is really a problem waiting to happen if you don’t have the ability to ask your custodians those questions. Other things that the custodians can provide in their answering is to identify the more difficult data locations that you don’t to miss such as I used my home computer, I’ve used non-work email accounts when I’ve been stuck away from the office, I’ve discussed something on social media, I’ve used social devices or Cloud storage resources such as Box or Dropbox or things of that sort. And also, the custodians can identify databases and other repositories. And we see in several cases where a long term custodian remembers oh we used this system a long time ago, it’s retired, but I still think there’s data around that we should look at for this particular matter. So it’s important to start with the key custodians and do those interviews. It’s typically a two, three, four individuals in an organization where you can do a phone or in-person interview. It helps you narrow the focus of your investigation. It also helps identify some of the more critical players, potential custodians, and the data resources that may exist within the organization. That’s an efficient use of time, with efficiency again translates into cost savings in doing your interviews in that manner. But as you move beyond the handful of key custodians, you may have 20, or 30, or 40 additional custodians, and that becomes a huge cost sink if you’re trying to interview each of those in a manual process, phone or in person. So with custodian the questionnaire, you can identify your custodians. You can avoid the cost of interviewing all of them, and you can gather your information much more quickly and in a reportable format where all the answers are accumulated in a document, and you can scan down the columns to see which custodians answers in which way. And it’s a very meaningful, efficient, and cost-saving event to use a custodian questionnaire.
And remember that in addition to just having a custodian questionnaire, you can have a variety of questionnaires depending on who your audience is. You don’t have to issue these just at the time you issue a legal hold. As a case develops and you learn more information, you’ve collected additional data, and now you have a whole additional set of questions you want to ask, you can vary those questions depending on who your audience is. It could be one set of questions for engineers, another set of questions for the marketing team. And we have a case citation here. Counsel must affirmatively act to communicate with the client to identify all sources of information. And that’s an ethical requirement, and it’s also a practical requirement. And Brian, back to you.
Brian: Alright, well, thank you. And so just to kind of build on as we’re going through the process here. First, we’re talking about the teams and how that just kind of being organized and having workflows and having defined things helps reduce your cost. The one thing about legal holds that is really interesting to me is that not only are legal holds a requirement from the outset, a lot of the sanctions – couldn’t think of the word – a lot of the sanctions you see today come around not issuing proper legal holds. So the best way to avoid that and therefore save those costs is to make sure you have a process in place for it. The custodian questionnaires are key to be able to narrow it down to where’s the right information, who are the right people, and get rid of all the fluff, right? And so as we’re moving through the process, the overall goal here is to continually narrow down what you’re looking at as early as you possibly can. So when you’re looking at custodian questionnaires, like Barry said, one of the best things to do there is you are eliminating people, and you’re eliminating potential data sources just from asking questions and having the conversation. Like Barry said, he talked to somebody who got added to a list of custodian questionnaires for the ABC widget, and they say I don’t even know what the ABC widget is, let alone ever been involved in the design or sale of that widget. And you can get rid of them right away before they ever go into collection, you know data collections before they ever go down the process. And so the kind of grand theme I want to focus on, especially as we get into this next section, is this idea of, and the EDRM itself kind of shows you this in its diagram, as you move through the process, the process itself should be designed to try and narrow in on what is important in the case, and get rid of as much fluff as possible.
And the next step in that process is legal data collection and preservation. So we talked legal holds and telling people not to delete data, IT task suspension – I touched on that a little bit, and using the custodian questionnaires to identify, help identify, potential sources. Because we’re not just talking about the email and desktops. We’re now talking about potentially Twitter and Facebook and Dropbox and Evernote and a million other different apps that are out there that might be potentially brought in. So, now that we’re talking about ESI gathering and all that ESI. How do we go about doing that? Well, one of the best things you can do is start with some early data analytics. Call it EDA, called it whatever you – early case analysis some people call it. One thing for certain, there is no shortage of acronyms in this industry. But the whole point here is there are tools out there. We use Total Discovery to do this. There are other tools out there that can do it as well that will scan custodians. And whether you do it to all the different custodians or you just do it to a couple of select custodians to get an idea of what the data universe looks like, having an early idea of what kinds of data you’re looking at and what kinds of data custodians are holding onto can help you target later collections. And really that’s what I’m talking about here in this data collection step is how do you get the targeted collections? When we first got into this industry back in, I first jumped in in the late 90s and then BIA was founded in 2002, at that point everybody was imaging hard drives. And one of the reasons we started BIA was because we thought that was crazy. You would never walk into your office or your clients’ office or go to a custodian’s desk and just blindly copy every piece of paper in the room or in the building. That’s what imaging hard drives were. You were copying tons of data. Usually, 90% or more of the data getting collected on a hard drive image was completely useless and a waste of time. And so right there with targeted collections, and by targeted collections, we generally mean, depending on the case, it could be targeting certain types of information. But at the very least, targeting just user-created data, and eliminating all the fluff that comes with the forensic image. From the very outset, you can limit your data source, or you can reduce your data source right at the very first step by 90%. And you can imagine what that does to the rest of the process because the less garbage in, you can drastically reduce your costs across the board. And that means not only the costs of data collection, data storage, hosting, processing, document review, but every step along the way also gets cheaper. And so if there’s one thing that you walk away from this and you want to implement – I know I said earlier it’s the planning which is really important too – but focusing collections to the most potentially relevant data. Now you know that doesn’t mean cross the line and get overly selective on a collection. But what it does mean is there are tools out there now, there’s a lot of different ones that can target in and say I just want to collect all the user files, the Word docs, the spreadsheets, the emails – that kind of stuff. Ignore the system files, ignore all the slack space and free space, you don’t need any of that. You’re not required to collect any of that, so why do it in the first place? And we tell clients all the time, look, if you’re talking about some sort of a criminal investigation or if you have a custodian who you think has been deleting data, then sure. Go ahead and do an image of that person’s hard drive or those resources because you may want to do an investigation. But absent bad activities are absent of good faith belief that there’s problems like that. There’s no legal requirement to go overboard. There’s no legal requirement to restore deleted data, for example. As long as data was maintained in the proper course, and as long as you had a legal hold out there and you stopped any automatic policies, there’s no reason to go beyond that to extraordinary measures. Absent significant showings in a court that that would be necessary.
And so how do you go about doing it? First off, like I said, you can do this data analytics. This again, we use the Total Discovery tools for a lot of this stuff. And that tool allows you to send out a little app to custodians they run on their computer. They don’t have to install anything, they can run WebEx or something, and they could run that. So it’s really easy to do. And we get back reports like this, and we can look at it and say oh these custodians have a lot of video files, is there any reason we need to collect those? No, this case has nothing to do with video. Okay, we can exclude that from the outset — things like that, for example. We can target in on the types of data. It helps with budgeting, it helps with the early negotiations, and it really is a great way to start controlling the amount of data you’re getting in the first place.
And now the next big thing is the collection process, right. The legacy approach as I talked about a little bit, the old fashioned drag and drop. You don’t see this as much today as we did in the very beginning, but that destroys metadata and all sorts of different problems. And it’s just not a great process to follow at all. We just bring it up because we do still see some people do that where they just tell custodians oh yeah, drop all your files in this network share, or on this Dropbox account or whatever the case may be. Really bad idea. All sorts of potentials for sanctions and increased cost. You’re going to have to go back and redo the process if somebody objects to it, and it’s going to really, really, drastically increase the time and the cost involved. Enterprise software, if you’ve got an enterprise need for that if you’re doing a lot of data collections. It’s a great way to help control some of your costs and help to target down collections. It can get expensive to deploy, and it’s a little bit costly to maintain those kinds of behind the firewall systems. The more modern Cloud stuff we’ll talk about here in a sec. But that’s a way to look at it. It’s a little bit cheaper than doing full forensic images probably, but it’s still rather expensive and a bit of a beast to maintain. And I won’t go into the forensic collection stuff. We do a lot of computer forensics at BIA, and I don’t want anybody to walk away from this who might be a forensics technician and be upset that I said that there’s no value to it. I’m not saying that at all, there is value to forensic collections; just shouldn’t be your default go-to method for collections because it just does result in a lot more data, travel costs, and shipping costs, and all sorts of other things as well. And it generally takes a lot longer to do. So try to avoid these legacy approaches. They are very expensive, and it’ll increase your cost.
So what are the more modern approaches? Well, we’re talking about Cloud collections. There’s a lot of tools – well not a lot of tools – there’s several tools out there. They do a Discovery Pod, which is part of the Total Discovery platform that we use to do it. But we have other solutions we use as well. We have a whole toolkit that has a lot of different tools, but they’re all cloud-based, and they’re all very secure. A lot of people ask us about you know well Cloud, is that secure, we hear about data breaches all the time. Well yeah, if you select a system that is encrypting the data as it’s getting collected so that it’s highly encrypted from the very outset, then you’re never going to have any problems. Even if somebody were to break into a storage array, they still couldn’t read the data because it’s all encrypted. So as long as you’re doing something like that, this is the absolute best way. And it doesn’t take – just paint the picture. We first got into this industry. If I needed to collect data from a custodian, we’d send out a forensic technician, and we’d go on-site, we’d pull the hard drive out of their computer half the time, snap it into a machine, couple hours, the custodian is there, the employee sitting there twiddling their thumbs losing efficiencies in the business, taking a whole lot of time. And even as that process gets a little bit better, you don’t have to take out the drive anymore. It’s still very disruptive to the custodian; it still takes a lot of time and still has a lot of high-cost. Whereas the modern approach, and again there are a couple of different solutions out there that do this. Literally, the custodian gets an email, and they click on a button, maybe they spend a minute or two selecting some files if you want them to – there’s different ways of doing it, but then they go about their business, and these tools run in the background. They collect the data, they encrypt it, they upload it up into the Cloud into a secure platform where it gets processed, and immediately that stuff becomes searchable and available to you. Compared to the old method of sending someone out on-site, collecting that data, bringing it back, putting it into one system to pull out the data, putting it into another so you can index it and search it, and putting into another one to review. Just the simple fact of having that unified solution across the board that literally you could collect from 200 custodians in a day with only a minute or two of the actual distraction of those individuals. The soft cost savings, let alone the savings you get from those targeted collections not collecting all sorts of junk you don’t need in the first place, is a huge way to reduce your costs in the process. This is 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% savings across the board by using targeted remote collections as opposed to the old process. So if you can’t tell, we’re a big big big proponent of the targeted collections. So, and again, this is just some of the reasons: you avoid employee disruptions, you avoid over collections, you don’t have to go back and recollect data over and over again, you don’t have a lot of unnecessary IT costs, you can definitely avoid sanctions if you’re doing it the right way, and you can avoid increased eDiscovery costs that come just from being able to reduce that data set.
And so now that you’ve collected all your data, the next step is to review that data. And when we’re talking about review, basically in that processing and review comes a lot of technologies and a lot of analytics. And I think this is where I will hand it back to Barry to talk a little bit about this.
Barry: Thank you very much, Brian. As you can see, we’ve listed out I think six different areas of technology considerations here. And the first one is eliminating duplicates across your data set. Not only exact duplicates within the custodian sets or within the custodian but exact duplicates across custodians as well as near duplicates. If you don’t have to review the duplicates over and over and over again, you’re obviously saving costs. Near duplicates can be identified through some of the technology platforms that are available, whether it be Brainspace, Relativity or Catalyst Predict software. All these tools have that kind of capability. And it’s an important consideration as you’re looking at ways to control your document review costs. Email threading is the notion that you’re reviewing only the most inclusive email in a thread, so if there are 10 sub emails to that thread and you don’t need to review items 2 through 9 or 10 where you just reviewed the top email. And that allows for a more consistent and efficient document review. And obviously, it reduces the time involved in completing your document review. File filtering allows for the elimination of clearly irrelevant files. There could be logos that sneak through the processing engine just because of the nature of how they’re embedded or not embedded in files. You can reduce film files such as sports betting and other irrelevant things that may have been caught up through your searching prior to loading to a document review platform. But you also do need to be careful not to overly filter and be mindful of what your date restrictions are in a given matter. And then, we also have the ability to use conceptual analytics. Who is talking to whom? Which is an important thing? If you have a concept, somebody’s entered into an agreement. You want to know what the backstory is regarding the creation of that agreement. You can identify again who’s talking to whom through the use of communications tracking tools. And then we’ve talked several times today, mentioned it several times today, regarding technology assisted review. There are quite a few options. I mentioned the three lead ones of Brainspace, Relativity, and Catalyst Predict, but you need to be sure that you’ve picked the right tool for the situation at hand. And the critical thing here, and this is where huge cost savings come into play, and that’s in having a subject matter expert who is intimately familiar with the case at hand – with the issues that you know exist within the prosecution or defense of your claims – and is able to lend that insight in educating the technology assisted review platforms at the most detailed and highest level. And it’s important that when you’re doing technology assisted review that you have at your right hand a certified solution expert for the platform that you’re utilizing. And we have here mentioned the top tip – don’t forget that these review platforms and technology system review platforms could be used to review opposing and third party productions as well. Did the opposing party produce all the documents that you think they should have produced? Has their production been deficient or not? And another area that we can use and have used successfully in many matters is doing the privilege review to identify privileged documents to make certain that the privilege calls are correct and consistent. And that way, when you’re producing your privilege log, it is as correct as it possibly can be.
And we had an early question about project managers and how you key in a project manager from the outside. And remember that project managers aren’t just order takers. They are the critical glue in your team to make certain that the bullet points here that we have: budgets, timelines, coordination, solution identification, protocol development, and the following are indeed done. Remember that in most matters, there are really three project managers. There’s the client’s project manager who may be responsible for corralling the custodians and assisting with the data collection and so forth. There’s also a project manager within the law firm who is typically these days we see it to be a paralegal or an associate. And then, of course, there’s the vendor’s project manager who is there to make certain that things flow as smoothly as they possibly can. And one of the keys we like to discuss here at BIA is to have consistent personnel, matter over matter. If we’re a vendor in the space and our project managers learn our client’s nuances, and it is a huge cost saver for our clients, and we presume for yours as well that the project manager has this institutional knowledge. The learning curve for new matters is much much slower – or much much quicker, I’m sorry.
And again, we go back to – now we’ll talk about document review costs and so forth. The key here is, as we said right along today is the process of preparing and planning. Take your time, create the right protocol, plan plan plan, and make sure that your protocol is correct and appropriate for the matter at hand. And one thing that we’re very cautious about is tracking changes in review protocols. As a case evolves, notions of what’s responsive, what’s not responsive, what’s a key issue, what isn’t a key issue change over time. And it’s important to know when those changes happen because it may be necessary to go back and make coding changes along the way. Of course, in document review, which is a very expensive process, consider your technology system review options. Again, TAR isn’t always the best solution, but in the appropriate matters, it can reduce your costs and provide a more efficient and perhaps even a better result than linear manual review. And again, going along with what I said just a second ago regarding project managers, consider developing a dedicated core review team that has team leads that are familiar with your clients’ matters or your matters so that the institutional knowledge transfers from matter to matter to matter. And with that, I’ll turn this back to Brian, who will provide some discussion on production cost savings.
Brian: Thank you, Barry. So yeah, this is the last step in the process always is producing documents. And while document productions have become pretty standardized, there are ways to still save potentially significant costs there. So again, like we mentioned earlier, plan, plan, plan, plan, plan. It’s always better like Barry mentioned even with document review, you know I can’t tell you how many times we have clients who just want to jump in and start doing the review. And we warn and say look, let’s take a day, talk about it, develop a protocol, get the team leaders on the phone with counsel and really talk through the requests and what the case is about and make sure everybody is on the same page. Because if you don’t do that, you’re just going to end up repeating things. And that’s kind of something that applies to everything – if you don’t have a plan in place at the very beginning, you’re going to end up repeating things. If you don’t have a production protocol in place, you might end up producing a lot of documents and then having to do it all over again because something wasn’t done correctly or the other side objected, and there was not a decision, to begin with. So have a plan in place when it comes to document productions. Have a clear protocol that you’ve decided. Even if you entered into a production to an eDiscovery protocol with the opposing counsel, even if you don’t include stuff like clawbacks, and litigation holds, and how custodians are going to be done, and how searching is going to be done, and whether or not TAR is going to be there – if nothing else at least agree in advance exactly what your productions are going to look like. Are they going to be natives or TIFFs? Are there documents that you produce in certain ways? What metadata fields? What’s the format? PDF, TIFF, whatever. Having all that stuff settled before you do your first production is going to help make sure that you don’t have to repeat those costs, or repeat those steps and increase your costs across the way.
The other thing we always tell people is start early. There’s no reason why you can’t start producing documents relatively early once review has started. You can. Even within the first week or two of review, you can identify some documents for production and start rolling productions over time. If you wait to the end of the case, you’re going to complicate everything. Just dealing with massive amounts of data and transferring it and getting it all set up just takes a lot more time than people often think. It’s not just copying data off of Relativity onto a hard drive. You have to TIFF everything out; you have to stamp everything; you have to pull out all the metadata; you got to build the actual production files. And all of that just takes time. A lot of it is just machine time, you’re clicking some buttons and waiting for the machine to do the work, but it still takes time to do it. So rolling productions are a great way to start out, and if you even start that with a tiny little production of 100 or 1000 documents in your very first production. And the whole purpose of that is to make sure that everybody agrees, yes this matches the protocol, yes this works for us, no tweaks are needed to be made. And so you’re not creating some massive production that you have to go back and redo because it didn’t have the right confidentiality stamps on it or whatever the case may be.
So there’s some great ways to do that. Again the key to eDiscovery across the board is to start as early in the process as possible, and that goes for every step, including productions. And not only that, any time – if you ever talk to anybody who deals with data, they’ll tell you that dealing with a lot of small data sets when you’re transferring data especially is often going to be a lot easier, a lot cheaper, and a lot faster. If you’re doing rolling productions every week or so, you can usually do those productions and deliver them via FTP. You don’t have to have hard drives and CDs and DVDs floating all over the place that although are going to be encrypted if you’re doing it on a rolling basis and you’re doing smaller productions, everything is going to move faster. You can save shipping costs, you can save media costs, and while those aren’t huge costs in the end of the day, they are costs, and they’re avoidable easily. So if you follow those processes, you’ll help reduce those costs across the board. Consider alternative production forms. It depends on your vendor, some vendors – everybody kind of charges differently for productions. One of the things we always encourage our clients to do is to do native productions for a lot of file types like spreadsheets, especially. Spreadsheets, audio files, video files obviously can’t be TIFFed out, databases, things that were never really meant to be dealt with on paper should just be produced natively. And it’s going to save money. It’s not only going to save money in creating the production sets, but this is one thing a lot of people don’t think about, you can save a lot of money in your hosting costs down the road when you’re dealing with all sorts of this data if you’re just getting a native file. Native Excel file might be a couple of kilobytes where if you convert it to TIFF, it might turn into ten thousand TIFF pages that’s going to take up gigs of data. And so you’re using up a lot more data for no reason because nobody’s ever going to use the TIFFed out version of the spreadsheets where they’re actually looking at stuff. It’s just too difficult. So there’s native productions. You could do summary reporting. We have a lot of clients who have to do data collections from big databases like a transactional system, or in HR cases, you might have a wage an hour where you have to analyze a lot of check-in and check-outs. See if you can negotiate with the other side the ability to produce summary reports because a lot of times, the detail doesn’t matter. What matters is the summaries is are the reports you can run off of those systems, and it can be a great way to reduce the costs when you get into the complex eDiscovery areas of large enterprise database productions if you can avoid that. So, for example, instead of producing your whole financial system. Can you produce reports from it? And that goes for any larger system as well. In some cases, there’s even the possibility of a shared repository. At the very least, if you’ve got multiple parties on one side or the other, you can enter into joint agreements where you all use one solution and one hosting repository. And you can even in a lot of these repositories, depending on the solution you choose, you can have individual access. Every firm or every individual party could have their own notes and comments, but they’re all pointing to the same document and the same metadata and so you’re paying. Imagine a case with ten defendants. You can either have ten different databases, or you can have one that everybody shares, but they each have their ability to keep private notes and information as well. I’ve even seen it wherein some very large litigations, you have a shared repository between all the parties in the case, although admittedly, that’s much rarer. But those are some of the things you can think about.
And again, we talked about some of the other cost-saving tips, and these bleed into the production as well as far as cross custodian deduplication, most inclusive email, production, and also to the extent you can reuse data from one case to another, which is a whole topic onto itself. That will help you save costs. So we’ll go ahead and answer some questions, but just to highlight what we’re talking about here, taking it back to the original list, the kind of big takeaways that I hope everybody got today. Number one is planning, planning, planning, planning. Taking the time, getting started early, even creating plans in advance where you’re creating a legal event team, and you’re developing your standard protocols – that will go immensely to saving your costs. It will have a probably the largest impact on costs across the board just because it’ll give you a chance to select the best solutions, to select the things that work for you, and not have utter chaos, which is what a lot of eDiscovery cases end up being. And then identifying the right people, using legal holds the right way, making sure you’re issuing the legal holds, so you don’t get sanctioned just for that, and then utilizing those, and utilizing the custodian questionnaire process to really focus in on who are the right people and where is their data. Then targeting that data for collection using analytics to take care of that, not only to eliminate some of the data for review but also in the right cases utilizing TAR in the way it’s supposed to be done. John Connecticut Catalysts did a great blog post in a series on the chicken cases. If you haven’t heard about it, do a Google search for TAR for chickens – talks about how they actually went about using TAR in that case, so that big boiler chicken litigation has been going on. And they talked about how having your individual resources, having a really really knowledgeable person doing some of the review for technology assisted review, coupled with somebody who really understands the technology. Those two individuals are going to cost you a lot more money per hour than a standard document reviewer who’s just going doc by doc. But you’ll need two of those people instead of a team of 20, 30, 50, 100 reviewers. And chances are, in the right cases, their results are going to be better and more reliable, and your overall costs, yes, the two individuals are higher by the hour, but you’re paying for two people and not 30. And you’re talking a smaller amount of time. So that really controls costs. And then again the production side of things.
So I hope you see that these are some of the low hanging fruit things. Some of them are easy to implement, like targeted collections. Some were a little more difficult to implement, like technology assisted review. But these are the places where you’re going to find the most significant cost savings. The other flip side is once you’ve forged large organizations, there’s other things to talk about as far as data reuse, and some of the larger enterprise systems and volume pricing and various things that you can go after. That’s kind of for people on the high end of the maturity scale that we looked at before as far as their processes. These, I hope, everybody sees can be implemented by just about anybody.
And so with that being said, there’s a couple of questions. Let me answer the one of them here because as I was talking about targeted collections, one of our listeners asked us the collection software – meaning, sorry – remote collection software. Does it work with custodians connected via a VPN or a public Wi-Fi? It can. The answer there is it depends. It depends on what solution you’re using. The solutions we do, we’ve actually had somebody collect a couple of pieces of data, a couple of files while they were 35 thousand feet in the air on a plane using a Wi-Fi on a plane. Of course, it was a small collection because those connections are slow in speed, but you can collect from just about anywhere. And you can collect remote machines; you can do all sorts of different things. It depends on the data collection software you’re using to get really specific on some of it. But it is absolutely possible. And I know we’re going a little bit over, we’ll continue to go through some of these questions for the next couple of minutes. Please feel free to stay on, but we’ll also post questions and answers on our blog following up in the next couple of days as well.
So the next question is – and this is a great question – is there any risk that a standardized internal discovery protocol could be subject to discovery? Or would it privileged or work product? That’s a really interesting question. In most cases, it would be considered a privileged work product because you’re probably going to have counsel involved in that process. They would make it an attorney-client work product. However, that being said, in most cases, you want this to be out there. You want to talk, and you want to say to judges or anybody who asks, hey we have a standardized process, this is how we do it every single time, we’ve done it in x amount cases before, and it’s always been blessed by the courts, and everybody’s agreed to it, and it becomes really a great tool to control your spend and to get kind of your way when it comes to how you’re going to conduct eDiscovery. You can say look, this is our plan, we’ve used it forever, we’ve had it blessed by outside counsel, we’ve brought in experts, this is how we conduct eDiscovery at this company. And so while it’s not necessarily discoverable, the reality is you probably wouldn’t care if it was to a large extent because it’s going to show that you’ve put a lot of thought and effort and process into it. And when anybody questions your process, even if you’ve made mistakes along the way, to show such an effort is going to go a long way with a judge or a magistrate who’s looking at the sufficiency of the process.
Let’s see. Would you share a link to join blog postings? Yes. It’s – we’ll follow up with everybody it’s basically our website – www.biaprotect.com/blog I think it is just forward slash blog, but if you go to our main website up in the right-hand corner there’s a direct link to the blogs and to other resources, and we will send around some information everybody where you can find follow up questions. Alright! We got four more questions left. So if you’re all still there, we’ll answer them as quickly as we can.
The next question is best practices for addressing accumulated eDiscovery storage costs with a client, especially when on a pay-as-you-go plan with a cloud discovery, cloud-based eDiscovery platform, also planning firm protocols for maintaining this long-term. So this is a question that was submitted to us kind of before the process, and it’s a great question because one of the things that you can do to help prevent some of these long-term costs is to control the amount of data you’re collecting in the first place. Like we talked about with ESI, targeted collections, that’s an important thing. For clients to have a lot of eDiscovery and end up having large storage bills, one of the most important things I think you can do is to look at this as not a one-off process, but again, just kind of part of daily business. Create those processes and try to figure out what you’re usage is over the last year or two, and then work with the vendor and see if you can come up with flat-fee arrangements, bulk volumes, like buying a bulk volume to a certain amount of data storage or a certain amount of online storage be it Relativity or Catalyst or Reveal or Total Discovery or whatever solution you’re using. If it’s clear that you have this ongoing need and it’s going to be something that’s going to be continually repeated, most larger eDiscovery providers today will enter into long-term bulk agreements say 10 terabytes of a relativity license for a three year period. If you commit to that over a longer period, a lot of vendors will be able to give you significant discounts because you’re making a long term commitment and it’s not a month to month thing. And so that’s what I would say is one of the best ways you can kind of control those data storage costs. And also, to the extent you’re storing data, one of the things you can do is audit it every once in a while and make sure you’re not storing data you don’t need. And you can always pair off data if you defensively show that it’s not relevant. So Barry, why don’t I throw this one to you? How best to document a defensible and repeatable eDiscovery workflow?
Barry: Well, thanks, Brian. That too is a good question, and we did discuss some of that. The best way to document your workflow is something that we do here at BIA, which is developing a legal processes run book that runs through all of your internal processes and identifies again legal eventing, your process with respective litigation holds, your process with respect to the collection of data for the matter, how you process that data, how that data is reviewed and produced. And as Brian was saying earlier, the ESI protocol is a key part of that process. And again, in answer to one of the earlier questions regarding the discoverability of that, having a run book that is your guideline, your guiding document that covers the principles that you follow for an eDiscovery matter, and it goes back to the theme of this presentation, is it will help you prevent wasted cost as you’re going through the eDiscovery process. And I think that having a document which is available on the shelf ready to go if and when you face a litigation event is something that will serve you and your organizations well and it will pay for itself many times over.
Brian: And Barry, kind of a connected one to that a little bit – what advice would you give to a new eDiscovery project manager when asked to propose an efficient workflow and savings for a new client matter?
Barry: Again, going back to planning is to have an outline of what the steps are as a project manager you need to address. And this would be a subset to the run book as to project kickoffs, what kind of outlines you want to follow in order to start a project off on the right foot so that all the steps again are outlined and able to be followed. We’re a big proponent of checklists here at BIA, and that’s one of the things we work with for our clients is to develop those checklists so that you’re starting at a point and you know what various steps you need to follow in order to get to a successful conclusion of a completed eDiscovery effort.
Brian: And the last question that we’ll wrap up with is what specific technological tools do you recommend throughout eDiscovery for corporate legal departments, and do they scale into other legal, operational areas? So full disclosure here, we used Total Discovery. Total Discovery got it started at BIA, we spun it off three, four years ago into its own organization and now it’s not owned by BIA individually anymore or completely controlled by BIA, but it is still – I just wanted to be absolutely clear that there’s a little bit of bias there because it was born here, but we still do think it’s one of the best tools today out there. There are other tools as well that you can use, but we use the Total Discovery tool because it goes across the board. It’s very remote. It’s extremely easy to use, it can do everything from issue the first legal hold to collect data from just about anywhere and filter that and then load it up into the review tool of choice. When it comes to review tools, of course, Relativity is by far the market leader out there and with good purpose. We also utilize Catalyst for some projects, and also Reveals’ In Control Solution is a great solution out there. Any of those review tools, it really kind of depends on what the needs is. The old saying is that everything looks like a nail if you just got a hammer. We believe, even with Total Discovery, where we obviously have a little bias, we use other tools as well to complement that. It’s a very, very diverse world out there when it comes to data and resources. And when we first got into this industry, you had to collect data from desktops and email servers and from network shares and from backup tapes, and that was about it. Now you’ve got social media, you’ve got applications like Evernote and all sorts of other stuff, you’ve got unlimited kind of online storage solutions from Microsoft’s OneDrive, to Box, the Google Drive, all sorts of other places. There can be data everywhere. And so the only way to handle that is to have a great deal of tools. But if you’re inside of an individual organization, there are behind the firewall tools that you can install. There are complete cloud solutions like Total Discovery, that you can do that don’t require all that kind of installation. It really comes down to understanding the organization, understanding the solutions that are there, and bringing somebody in with a little bit of experience with some various tools to be able to recommend individual solutions.
When he’s talked about scaling to other legal operation areas, yes, that is actually something we see a lot. And again, I hate to continue Total Discovery route, but with Total Discovery, one of the things a lot of our clients do who bought it originally for legal hold purposes, are now starting to use the notification and tracking and auditing and questionnaire part of that. I mean, at the end of the day, what is a legal hold? It’s an email notification to your employees telling them about a policy that they have to acknowledge, and that they got it and understood it. What is a custodian questionnaire? It’s a survey, right? So we have organizations that are starting to look at this and say hey, we can use this solution to send out HR policy notifications, to send out computer use policy notifications, to ask our employees questions about their understanding of our security policies, all sorts of stuff like that. So you’re seeing it used in regulation, in HR, in compliance because at the end of the day, it’s a great way for any type of communication where you need to be able to very clearly and easily track who got what, and when did they acknowledge it. Did you send reminders out? And especially when we’re talking about more and more concerns about data privacy and things like that, any solution like that, whether it’s Totally Discovery or Xterra or any other legal hold solution you got out there, you can use it for that kind of thing. And it really starts paying dividends when you can spread that cost across the board. And the same thing with data collections. The right data collection technology. We have clients who are using it for exiting employees. When they have senior employees leave, they will oftentimes run a data collection against their resources so that A their IT department can quickly turn around and redeploy those assets to another employee, but more importantly, it’s a great way to just say okay look, everybody who’s a VP or above or in these types of positions or in sales or whatever the case may be, we’re going to collect their data on the way out the door just in case there’s something we want to look at later on. And so we’re seeing that same kind of technology used in IT, and compliance in regulatory investigations, and in all sorts of places. So yeah, absolutely. You’re starting to see the legal technology be used across the board.
Barry: Brian, let me step in for one point if you don’t mind. I wanted to thank also ACEDS, that is ACEDS. It’s an excellent resource for a lot of the information we’ve been discussing here as well and particularly for project managers and people planning and needing to manage their legal requirements. So don’t forget to utilize the ACEDS library of knowledge.
Brian: So there’s one last quick question, and this will take me a couple of seconds – how do you as a paralegal involve and keep your attorneys engaged in the data collection efforts? So the easiest answer to that is tell them it’s their ethical obligation, and if they don’t pay attention to it, they could potentially face malpractice claims because it is. Courts have very clearly stated, especially California ethics decisions have come down, making it a potential ethics violation for attorneys not to pay attention to this stuff. So that’s become a really interesting thing, something that is obviously very eye-catching. But at the end of the day, how do you keep the attorneys focused on it? It’s hard sometimes, and I get that. They’re focused on the legal issues and the legal arguments in the case. The best way to do it is to have that plan in place where you can sit down and say here’s what we’re going to do. And then you can go and implement the plan and focus on getting the work done if you don’t have to check-in, you don’t have to go back and ask questions over and over as you get to each step. Put together that checklist, have that plan in place, have a quick meeting at the very beginning of the case where you get started, and then you can control the collections based on the guidelines that have been set forward.
So anyway I know we’ve gone 15 minutes over, but we wanted to answer all the questions. I hope everybody got their questions answered. I think that’s the last of them, and I guess Deja, I’ll throw it back to you.
Deja: Thank you so much for that excellent webinar! And thank you all for joining and attending. This webinar will be on demand for all ACEDS members within the next 24 hours, and even if you are not a member, you’ll be able to access it through the link that you use to join the session. So thank you and have a wonderful day!