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Four Inefficiency Traps to Avoid in Your Legal Document Review Process

For every time-saving, cost-cutting efficiency available in legal document review lives an equal number of challenges and pitfalls which can consume your productivity and budget. For LSPs and law firms, a thorough and effective legal review will depend on more than just data size and solution speed. Navigating successfully through the review process means knowing where you can expedite and streamline your project with efficiency and how to avoid costly mistakes.

Read on to learn about four potential inefficiency traps you can avoid in your next legal review to save time and money:

  1. Document format and storage
  2. Inefficient upload speeds
  3. Duplicate data
  4. Single-user access to documents

Trap 1: Document Format and Storage

One of the first challenges to overcome is determining the best method to consolidate and convert collected data into searchable content. From digital emails and websites to printed letters and hand-written notes, different document formats are collected and stored across several disparate systems. While you may have some stored in Outlook, others could be kept in a binder on your desk.

A legal document review system digitizes and stores every document in one place, allowing you to search and review all documents at the same time. This enables you to apply a search strategy to locate relevant documents quickly and efficiently. It also provides you with the flexibility to view data in different, organized layouts to easily see document attributes such as:

  1. Source
  2. Type
  3. Origin date
  4. Author
  5. Recipients

With all case documents organized and stored on a single platform, LSPs and legal departments can locate and produce responsive content, ranging from scanned documents to email to spreadsheets and more.

Trap 2: Inefficient Upload Speeds

Initiating your review project will be determined by the speed of your initial data import. This phase can make or break the rest of your project timeline making it essential to start off strong.

Scheduling and staying within the time budgeted for your project will equally affect the efficiency of your whole team. The faster your team can scan and import documents, the faster you can start your document review.

While we can’t control your connection speed, we can manage the resources and technology on our platform to ensure the application performance is optimized for maximum efficiency.

Time equals money; having an eDiscovery tool capable of moving as quickly as you do allows you to work on the next step of your case faster.

Trap 3: Duplicate Data

Nearly 30% of email data is duplicated which directly impacts hosting costs if not removed prior to promotion for review.  Duplicate data occurs when the same file originates from multiple sources and in different formats.

For example, if you have two people engaged in an email exchange and both become custodians in a legal case, both sets of emails are collected for discovery. Now you have the same exchange from both people and you have to determine which set of emails you’re going to use. The complexity of duplicate data increases when the matter is shared across email distribution groups.

By cutting out duplicative documents, you save storage space and reduce the chance that two copies of the same document will be reviewed differently.

To prevent duplicate data from costing time and money, you need an eDiscovery tool to:

  • Centralize your data in one place
  • Eliminate duplicative data
  • Track how data is being reviewed in real-time
  • Prevent conflicting tags by different reviewers

Trap 4: Single User Access to Documents

Remote document review should be an easy and convenient option for you and your staff. However, documents still need to be digitized and uploaded to a shared system. This can be problematic for a number of reasons:

  • You don’t have anyone in the office to upload documents.
  • You don’t have the infrastructure in place to share working documents across multiple users at the same time.
  • You don’t have the ability to review, redact, and produce documents electronically without affecting the originals.

This forces the organization to spend time and money building new infrastructure. Or, they could use a private cloud-hosted system like CloudNine Review.

 

How CloudNine Review Helps You Avoid Inefficiency Traps

CloudNine Review is a safe, robust, and cost-effective solution that simplifies the eDiscovery review process and keeps you more productive.

We offer a single spot repository for all your discovery documents. Whether they are electronic or paper documents, you can load them into CloudNine Review to make them searchable. This allows you to access all the data at the same time giving you a consistent search strategy.

By utilizing a search strategy, you create an efficient way to review your data without wasting time by:

  • Showing search-term history
  • Filtering out previously reviewed documents
  • Setting up preview sets

With incredibly fast upload speeds on our end, installation is simple and straightforward. If there’s a slow connection speed on your end, we can help you identify the source of the problem while offering alternative solutions to upload heavy data loads.

To prevent duplicate data from slowing down your legal document review process, our processing engine detects duplicates and suppresses them before the data gets advanced for review.  Plus, all documents are hashed during the import process, so you can set up automation to identify and review specific documents from the searchable and reviewable records.

Hosted on a private cloud, CloudNine Review is a web-accessible, legal document review platform providing secure access to every approved member of your team. Every document is locked down so nothing can be deleted, altered, or sent to anyone without access. Even metadata like the author and timestamps are protected.

To protect sensitive or confidential data from being exposed, CloudNine Review will redact images of documents. Redacted files are copied and saved as a single-layer file so the redaction bars can’t be removed by outside parties.

 

CloudNine Review is designed to help your eDiscovery services be more efficient and productive.

To avoid the pitfalls of inefficiency traps, click banner below to request a free demo and see how CloudNine Review can help you today.

Evaluate a Proven Approach to eDiscovery and Data Processing with CloudNine Explore

The digital age has had a major impact on more than just how we occupy our free time. It’s also changed the way we review and process legal data.  

 Lawyers and paralegals handle much more than the physical evidence of discovery. Most law firms sift through unprecedented volumes of evidence that come with the digital age. 

 

When Data Volumes Exceed Capacity: Controlling The Ever Growing Amount of Data

Legal service providers (LSPs) review and process massive sets of complex and diverse digital content oftentimes, in the terabytes. For context, consider this comparison of data:

  • 1 MB = a 400-page book
  • 1 GB = over a thousand 400-page books
  • 1 TB = more than a million 400-page books

Faced with this overwhelming volume of data, an eDiscovery solution capable of working at a high speed and top-of-the-line accuracy will equip you to fight your cases with maximum efficiency. 

Reaping the Benefits Out of Cloud-Based Discovery Software

You can also lose control of your data in expensive cloud platforms. You’re completely dependent on THEIR solution, as they hold your data hostage indefinitely, at whatever rates they set.  Plus, if an eDiscovery solution doesn’t have the capacity to scale with your ever-increasing data needs or carry the solutions you need, you can suffer from ineffective workflow functionality. 

Your organization needs an eDiscovery solution that provides you with:

  • A great degree of workflow flexibility with on-premise and cloud solutions
  • The ability to add new fields, as needed
  • The power to flex up and down the data storage as you consume, allowing you to only pay for what you need
  • The process of continuous improvement in regards to their data processing engine

With a cloud-based eDiscovery solution capable of handling the volume and variety of data you have in addition to the functionality and features you need, you will be able to work efficiently.

 

Evaluating The CloudNine Explore Solution

As the industry leader for processing eDiscovery data, CloudNine Explore is based on four key components:

  • Explore
  • Assess
  • Protect
  • Deliver

Explore:  

CloudNine Explore helps you navigate your way through massive volumes of data to identify risk, determine the scope of the project and control your costs. This helps you uncover important information about the data before you begin:

  • How much data is there?
  • What type of data has been collected?
  • What languages are included in the data?
  • What data is hidden from view?
  • Where did the data come from?

Knowing this information will help you evaluate the risk and potential cost of litigation at the earliest possible point.   This knowledge enables you to set more realistic costs to process and store the data, as well as to determine the size of your review team and necessary skill sets. 

Assess:  

With CloudNine Explore, you can inspect and review your data using both automated and manual processes. When you receive hundreds of thousands of documents and files through eDiscovery, you need to be able to process through it quickly and efficiently. CloudNine Explore’s multi-threaded, multi-core indexing functionality helps you filter through your exported data faster so you can pull only the data you need. 

Being thoughtful about your research and using specific keyword search terms to promote specific documents, helps you filter out data like specific email domain names for later review.

Protect:  

If the integrity of your data is compromised, lost, distorted or manipulated, the consequence can be devastating to your case. 

CloudNine Explore allows you to securely upload, ingest and preserve all relevant data for your ongoing investigations or litigation with an easier and more efficient eDiscovery platform.

All your data is stored securely in a single, on-prem location, housed safely behind the firewall. This safety net saves money while giving you direct access to your data so you know exactly where it is at all times.

Deliver:  

Sharing discovered assets with the opposing side for review is more than a courtesy, it’s required.  CloudNine Explore makes it easy to provide information as required for legal production or further investigation so you stay compliant. 

Avoid costly and time-consuming production of redundant and unnecessary documents while reducing the risk of producing privileged or protected content. 

 

Faster Data Ingestion, Faster ROI With CloudNine Explore

CloudNine Explore saves you money, which in turn positions your project to yield high ROI. 

  • Explore works extremely fast, which means less time spent processing and reviewing data. 
  • Explore stores your data securely in a single, on-prem location, which provides your organization with consistent and transparent pricing. 
  • Integration costs are minimal because of its simplicity. Installation, scale, and automation are simple and straightforward. You don’t even need an IT department to deploy it. 

Now that you’ve learned how CloudNine Explore allows you to safely store and process your data; request a free demo to learn how you can save time and money.

 

What Happened in Vegas? It’s No Secret – Read the Buzz

With many reasons to celebrate, CloudNine is still enjoying the excitement of our time Vegas last week. Visiting with valued customers and meeting new contacts are always fortunate opportunities. As an enhancement to those already fruitful conversations, we were thrilled to announce our expanded capabilities through the acquisition of ESI Analyst. Adding modern communication formats such as mobile, chat, social media and more to CloudNine’s powerful and proven applications, fills the market need to manage eDiscovery more effectively, with both modern and traditional data types, on a single platform.

The buzz of our expansion reached the news feeds across multiple social media channels.  A few highlights include:


 

Demonstrations are being scheduled now to debut CloudNine’s new technology – click to request a time to speak and a member of our team will be in touch to schedule.

 

Ready to try it out for yourself?  Request a free demo and see how CloudNine can help you.

Focusing on speed, security, simplicity, and services, CloudNine is dedicated to empowering our law firm and LSP clients with proven eDiscovery software solutions for litigation, investigations, and audits. 

Release Preview LAW 7.6

As data volumes grow, fortunately so has computer processing power.  CloudNine LAW and Explore 7.6 will take advantage of this power boost to amplify your speed to review and production.  The import technology behind both LAW’s Turbo Import and Explore uses a computer’s multiple processing cores more efficiently, making processing faster.

The application updates will include over 200 enhancements to build upon the already strong, import speeds of LAW and Explore.  The most notable improvement in LAW will be the introduction of a Turbo Imaging that can be used in parallel with existing imaging.  Turbo leverages near-native imaging technology to create static images of native files without relying on the native application.  This saves time while imaging, because the files don’t have to be opened, printed to image, and then closed.  The module can also take advantage of multiple processing cores, if available.  With imaging speeds up to eight times faster than the traditional imaging license, Turbo Imaging generates production-ready images quickly and easily.

In Explore, users will benefit from improved reporting capabilities.  This builds on Explore’s email threading, near duplicate detection, advanced filtering and integration with Relativity to provide a first-class, early case assessment experience, allowing clients to reduce the volume of data promoted for review by as much as 70%.  The import and ECA processes are all done without creating additional copies of the data until the client is ready to commit an export of potentially responsive content for further review.  This saves clients from storing copies of data that they don’t need, reducing cost and risk associated with managing multiple identical files.

To learn more about these and other enhancements coming in CloudNine LAW and Explore 7.6, please reach out to your account manager, or email us at info@cloudnine.com to schedule an overview and demonstration.  We’re excited to give you a preview of these updates and plan a wider release in the week of September 13th, 2021.

 

Focusing on speed, security, simplicity, and services, CloudNine is dedicated to empowering our law firm and LSP clients with proven eDiscovery software solutions for litigation, investigations, and audits. 

Ready to try it out for yourself?  Request a free demo and see how CloudNine can help you.

CloudNine Announces the Sudden Passing of Its Co-Founder and CTO

Houston, TX – August 12, 2021 — CloudNine, regretfully announces the untimely death of Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, William “Bill” David on Saturday, August 7, 2021.

The Company issues the following statement: “We are deeply saddened by this sudden and tremendous loss of a highly esteemed colleague and treasured friend. Bill was a founding member of CloudNine and has been an integral part of the leadership team ever since 2002. He was an innovative and visionary leader whose dedication to his team and the Company is a key contributor to our continued growth and success.

Bill’s greatest joy was his family including his wife and son who have our greatest sympathies. To honor Bill’s legacy of supporting others on their journey to success, CloudNine will establish a scholarship fund to assist students with their educational goals. In closing, one message cannot begin to capture what Bill brought to all of us both personally and professionally. He was an integral part of the CloudNine family serving as its Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and more importantly, he was our friend. Bill’s memory and legacy and impact will persist. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to know him and work by his side.”

In the short term, the Company said they will appoint Jacob Hesse, VP of Product and Chris Getsfred, Director of Engineering and Principal Architect to ensure the Technology team has the guidance needed to continue current development initiatives and projects. In addition, CloudNine offers an Employee Assistance Program to support its employees.


About CloudNine

Every day, our customers including corporations, law firms, government agencies, and legal service providers answer their most pressing eDiscovery questions using CloudNine applications. By offering CloudNine Collection Manager™, Data Wrangler™, Discovery Portal™, Explore™, Review™, LAW™ and Concordance® as individual or comprehensive and integrated solutions, hosted and on-premise, CloudNine delivers market-leading flexibility and performance. For company information, visit www.cloudnine.com or email info@cloudnine.com.

For more information, contact:
Salana Yarger, Director of Marketing
syarger@cloudnine.com

Answer the Unknown Challenges of eDiscovery Review

When it comes to document review in electronic discovery, choosing a solution can be a daunting task. To make an informed decision, you need to know what challenges await you and how to overcome them. 

The three biggest challenges to address when looking for a document review platform are:

  • Security
  • Volume 
  • Cost

By better understanding these challenges and their impact on your operations and bottom line, you’ll be in a better position to choose the best eDiscovery software solution for your business.

Is My eDiscovery Data Safe and Protected?

The benefits of storing eDiscovery data in the cloud are many but, digital security and remote access top the list of concerns among legal teams and legal service providers (LSPs) for these reasons:

  • Lack of control over their data
  • Concerns about handing data over to a third party
  • Worried about their data integrity

Utilizing a company dependent on public cloud solutions like Azure or AWS, means you can’t specifically tell your client where your data actually is as it can be stored across multiple cloud locations.

Another topic, more relevant since the COVID-19 pandemic, is security for remote document review. Creating additional access points can cause worry about your network being vulnerable to data breaches.

Can My eDiscovery Software Handle the Volume and Variety of Records?

Investigations and litigation can create a lot of digital records, often soaring into the terabytes. This is compounded by the variety of digital records being used as evidence in legal proceedings, including:

  • Emails
  • Instant messages
  • Digital images
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Text messages
  • Social media posts
  • Websites

This volume and variety of data can have a detrimental impact on your operation if you don’t have the digital space to process or store it all. 

The more documents you have, the more infrastructure you need to support it. This can compromise your software performance which could affect your ability to navigate, search, report, export, or produce required information, in a timely manner.

If that happens, new eDiscovery projects could be delayed or canceled outright while you complete your current project. Delays could also lead to missed deadlines which could cause your clients to be sanctioned or fined by the courts.

Are eDiscovery Tools Cost-Effective?

Simply put, some eDiscovery software can be expensive. Many include a lot of features and functionality you may not even need but, you are charged generously for it. 

When looking for an eDiscovery solution, it is important to take the following into consideration in order to get the most cost-effective solution:

  • Is the pricing flexible, allowing you to pay only for what you need?
  • How much archived data is stored on the cloud vs. on-prem? Often a hybrid solution will provide you with the most cost savings. 
  • What support is included within your contract? In order to reap the most cost-saving benefits, it’s important to have your team well-versed in the eDiscovery tool.

The eDiscovery Solution – CloudNine Review

Secure, powerful, and cost-effective, CloudNine Review simplifies eDiscovery enabling you to upload documents quickly and to begin reviewing data within minutes. 

CloudNine Review utilizes a private cloud environment so you know where your data is at all times, giving you better audit controls and the assurance your data is intact. To protect client data, CloudNine cybersecurity safeguards are always up-to-date and constantly monitored.

Another safeguard to protect your data on the CloudNine platform are access controls allowing only authorized staff to review specific documents:

  • User-based permissions
  • Project-based rights
  • Document-level rights

By utilizing our private cloud platform, you have access to all of your data anywhere, anytime, without having to log into your network VPN. 

Also, CloudNine Review carries greater bandwidth so you’re able to get your data much faster. As an example, the first day for a new project can look like this:

  • Registered online and began uploading data
  • Uploaded 27 GB of PST email files
  • Processed 300,000 documents (emails and attachments)
  • A reduced document set by 61% with deduplication and irrelevant domain filtering

Imagine being able to accomplish all of that in just the first 24 hours. 

The best part is you get what you pay for. CloudNine’s transparent pricing model includes multiple pricing methodologies so you’re never caught off-guard.

Beginning with a predictable upfront cost and low storage fees, CloudNine pricing models are designed to keep your costs down while providing the essential services you need.  To learn about our flexible pricing options, click here to speak to one of our eDiscovery experts.

  • All-in Model – one ‘all-in’ price with no hourly rates for self-service
  • Flex Model – low monthly storage costs for long-running litigation

Plus, you only pay for what you use if your case ends or becomes dormant. Older, dormant case data can be archived and saved at your own location using CloudNine Concordance to help you keep costs low and your data safely archived for the future. 

Focusing on speed, security, simplicity, and services, CloudNine is dedicated to empowering our law firm and LSP clients with proven eDiscovery software solutions for litigation, investigations, and audits. 

Ready to try it out for yourself?  Request a free demo and see how CloudNine can help you.

CloudNine Launches Discovery Portal to Provide a Powerful Connector for Interoperability Across the eDiscovery Ecosystem

New platform enables seamless workflow between CloudNine technologies and integrated third-party providers

HOUSTON – May 4, 2021 – Today, eDiscovery technology leader CloudNine announced the release of Discovery Portal, a powerful new integration platform facilitating the interoperability of eDiscovery technologies across the EDRM spectrum. The CloudNine Discovery Portal provides a seamless connector between cloud and on-premise solutions, including CloudNine’s existing suite of eDiscovery software and third-party review products. The launch of Discovery Portal will empower legal and eDiscovery professionals to accelerate their discovery projects, safely and efficiently through a single, secure platform.

Integrations through Discovery Portal move data quickly and effectively across multiple platforms. Discovery Portal integrates on-premise CloudNine Explore™ to Relativity, enabling users to export data from Explore into Relativity automatically without manual exports and imports. Discovery Portal enables seamless transfer of clients’ native data to CloudNine Explore Cloud for processing, early case assessment (ECA), and loading to CloudNine Review™. Additionally, Discovery Portal enables transfers from CloudNine LAW™ to CloudNine Review, and from CloudNine Concordance® to CloudNine Review.

As a native file processing engine for ECA, Explore can process, search and filter data in place, without expansion and export data to Relativity via Discovery Portal. Since Explore’s data indexing mirrors the structure of Relativity’s destination folders, the data remains uniform and easy to find. As reported by many Explore customers, the efficiency and speed of the software provides significant cost and time savings over their previous processing resource by omitting irrelevant data production or running risks of producing privileged data.

“Explore’s data processing is faster and less expensive than other solutions and now, with the Discovery Portal integration, we can export seamlessly and directly from Explore to Relativity with unprecedented efficiency,” remarked Tony DeVito, Sr. Project Manager, eDiscovery at IST Management Services, an eDiscovery and litigation support services company managing large litigation matters for law firms and corporate legal departments. “In just our first few weeks using the Explore/Relativity integrated solution with Discovery Portal, IST has processed several million documents faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost. Collaborating with CloudNine on this project has been a great experience. The CloudNine team is refreshingly responsive, receptive and confident. They listen to our requests and do not stop until they produce the results we need.”

Discovery Portal also allows users to transfer exports from CloudNine LAW processing, imaging and production software to CloudNine Review with a few clicks. Users can transfer their processed, exported data or transfer an export based on a filtered set of documents responsive to a search. Discovery Portal reduces steps and manual hand-offs when advancing responsive data from LAW to CloudNine Review.

Discovery Portal also provides capability to advance data from CloudNine Concordance to CloudNine Review. Concordance is a great tool for reviewing and producing documents. However, if a case requires access by several external parties or otherwise exceeds Concordance’s capacity, Discovery Portal offers a pathway to transfer a Concordance export to CloudNine Review. Then, the data will be available to any authorized user with an internet connection.

“Discovery Portal is a substantial breakthrough which will have a direct, positive impact on our clients who move data between technologies,” said Jacob Hesse, VP of Product at CloudNine. “Our development team has done amazing work to increase the speed, accuracy and performance of Discovery Portal and our products like CloudNine’s Explore, LAW, Concordance and Review. Discovery Portal will create tremendous time and cost savings for our clients and partners.”

Find out more about CloudNine’s company, team, technology and career opportunities at www.cloudnine.com or email info@cloudnine.com.

About CloudNine Discovery: Every day, our customers including corporations, law firms, government agencies, and legal service providers answer their most pressing eDiscovery questions using CloudNine applications. By offering CloudNine Collection Manager™, Data Wrangler™, Discovery Portal™, Explore™, Review™, LAW™, and Concordance® as individual or comprehensive and integrated solutions, hosted and on-premises, CloudNine delivers market-leading flexibility and performance.

For more information, contact:
Jacob Hesse, VP of Product at CloudNine
jhesse@cloudnine.com

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Working with CloudNine Explore and PST Attachments

#Did You Know: Yes, users really DO attach PSTs to emails!  When examining your early case data, you need complete content visibility including the multiple layers of PST and OST attachments within email containers.

Older processing engines have trouble extracting certain archive containers especially when those containers have PSTs and OSTs attached to emails.  In these cases, the processing may skip over the attached email container or record it as an error.

CloudNine Explore fully expands the data container, without creating duplicate files to process its contents in full, including multi-layered PST and OST files.

A custodian creates a PST file containing several dozen messages about a particular topic and emails it to a co-worker.

Earlier processing engines could process the email sent to the co-worker but could not expand the attached PST to process its contents without requiring a separate and manual process.

 

Visual example of a PST file in a Zip file, with a PST attachment:

 

Explore uses the newest extraction technologies to fully expand the attached PST and collect the metadata and emails contained within.  The manual processes are not necessary, and the data is fully expanded and available for searching and review.

 

Example display of extracted email and metadata within Explore:

Have the assurance of a thorough early case assessment to find hidden or multi-layered files with CloudNine Explore.

Learn how to automate your eDiscovery with the legal industry’s most powerful processing and early case assessment tool.  Click the button below to schedule a demo with a CloudNine eDiscovery specialist.

Export Review Documents Using Self-Serve Productions

#DidYouKnow: You can export your own documents for production from CloudNine Review, with or without support from the CloudNine Client Services team?

 

Document production sizes can range from one document to tens or even hundreds of thousands of documents.

Some platforms require legal teams to work with their project managers to coordinate productions, regardless of size or complexity. This can lead to delays and risk as instructions are handed off to teams, unfamiliar with the case.

 

Self-service productions provide complete project control with 24×7 access to export case documents independently.

  • Control your data to ensure important, relevant documents are not missed.
  • Control your project cost by paying only for what you need and, nothing you don’t.

CloudNine Review empowers clients to export documents themselves, including native files and emails, searchable text, and static images of documents containing confidential language, unique identifiers, and redactions.

Ready to Get Started with Self-Service Productions?  

To start a self-service production in CloudNine Review, select the Tools menu in the upper right corner then, click the Self-Service Production option.

Next, select whether you would like to produce images, native files, text, and metadata, or any combination of these.

If your documents do not yet have static images, they can be created during this process.  Annotations and redactions can be permanently applied to images, and there are several Excel imaging options, including using slip sheets instead of generating images.

The fielded metadata associated with the production records can be exported in a variety of formats including the common .DAT file, a .CSV file, or XML.

Users running a production can select and deselect fields to include in the production metadata file.

View Productions As They Progress in the User-facing Dashboard:   

This screen also allows users to clean up old productions and exports they no longer need to access.

Stay informed of software updates and browse training documentation in the CloudNine Review Knowledgebase (login required).

To learn more about CloudNine Review and Self-Service Productions, click the button below to schedule a demo!

eDiscovery Daily Blog

Convenience and Catastrophes of Self-Collection

Navigating through discovery to find affordable and time-saving efficiencies is now more important than ever.  As the number of employees working remotely has dramatically increased during the COVID-19 Pandemic, attorneys are looking to alternative solutions for data collection amid challenges of reduced budgets and limited access to workplace assets and staff.  In this scenario, a compelling alternative might lead one to custodial self-collection.  Consider the benefits of self-collection against the risk of compromising potentially admissible data and jeopardizing court-defined responsibilityand the answer becomes evident:  the high cost of the short-cutting discovery far outweighs any potential for convenience or cost savings. 

Experts have declared their warning on the risks of self-collection and judges have issued sanctions for abuse, or mishandling over the process, for years.  Still, attorneys continue to make the same mistakes of assigning the task to self-interested employees; failing to supervise the process; delivering corrupted metadata because of the way it was collected, and the list goes on. 

Whether the attorney asks the client’s employees to preserve, search, identify and collect their own data, or the internal IT staff performs the final step, self-collection remains questionable practice.  The process of preservation and collection roll-up to a matter of competence, ethics, and duty of candor in their “obligation to have knowledge of, supervise, or counsel the client’s discovery search, collection and production.”1

Court Response:

These issues were demonstrated clearly in the recent case of EEOC v M1 1500 GroupPresiding Judge Matthewman of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, reprimanded the defense attorney for his oversight of the collection process, citing their failure to exercise the requisite supervision.  According to the Court, the surmounting concerns over self-collected discovery are validated through incomplete discovery productions and the destruction of responsive information.”  

Fortunately, Judge Matthewman extended another opportunity to collect the data but, also suggested the defendants hire a legal service provider to remedy the problems caused by self-collection and deliver a valid dataset to the plaintiffs.  Further, the Court advised its intention to “closely supervise the discovery process” to ensure counsel complies with all discovery obligations. 

All things considered, cutting corners at any phase of discovery can be a compromise of catastrophic proportions.  Without the proper actions in place to support self-collection process, one is subject to judicial sanctions, ethical violations, or the invalidation of potentially responsive records.  A prudent and more practical approach would be to leverage the right technology early in the process and streamline your workflow or, entrust service professionals with existing tools and certifications to complete collections confidently and thoroughly. 

1 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(g)(1); ABA Model Rule 3.3; and, commentary about Rule 26(g) from the Advisory Committee Notes, case law, and the Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Production.