It is crucial for solicitors to have only relevant data relating to their case for analysis. One way that we ensure that only relevant documents are being analysed is through the reduction of data volumes during eDiscovery in preparation for eDisclosure.
The eDiscovery process can produce huge volumes of data, also known as electronically stored information (ESI). It’s impractical for a solicitor to review every item of ESI within a litigation or dispute resolution matter. This will make for a lengthy eDisclosure service. However, there are various sophisticated and effective filtering and data culling techniques that reduce data volumes and narrow a data set before document review is initiated. These techniques drastically reduce processing and review timeframes as well as associated costs in the process.
Data Reduction Techniques
Searching within a date range: different devices are capable of holding information spanning over a number of years. By specifying a timeframe for when the documents you require may have been sent or received. Here you can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend reviewing documents.
Keyword searches: Strategic electronic keyword searches can be invaluable when reducing data. It is more beneficial to use longtail keywords or Booleans to further narrow down the documents that the client will have to review for litigation. As well as this, it proves to be more cost-effective for the client.
Specifying file type: Limiting review to only the document file types most likely ‘user-created’ can dramatically speed up the process. Examples of such files include Word documents, Excel files and PDFs. Ignoring system and multimedia files, which often don’t have any relevant information for your case, will mean that you have less clutter to go through.
De-duplication of documents: This technique ensures that you can reduce your data set to only one unique and relevant copy when culling the overall data. By doing this, you reduce the time and costs that would be spent reviewing several duplicate files.
Identify custodians: Only collecting and reviewing data from the individuals you know are involved in a case can help to speed up the process. This can be expanded further down the line to incorporate an increased number of custodians. However, the best practice is, and will remain, to ‘collect wide and review small’.
Take this case study, for example, which gives a brief walkthrough of a data reduction exercise that the CYFOR Legal team completed for a client.
- The email accounts and documents of 10 x custodians were collected.
- The client requested that the data be put on hold as they were still going through the initial disclosure phase. Here they had to provide key documents which were going to be relied upon in support of their claim.
- The total number of user-created documents was 3,328,435.
As the client knew this was too large a volume of data to search through – the initial disclosure allowed them to focus on the key documents and agree on keywords with the other side.
- After instructing CYFOR to focus on just one exhibit with a date range applied, we were able to reduce the document size to 935,000.
- Search terms were then applied across the data set using the Nuix processing tool. This further reduced the document count to 31,000.
All these elements were actioned before the documents were ever uploaded to the Relativity online review platform. This saved the client considerable time that would have otherwise been spent attempting to conduct the search themselves. In addition to this, they did not incur Relativity hosting fees until the final document count was produced.
CYFOR Legal implements these techniques, as well as other industry-leading methods to reduce the volume of information. Thus, leaving you with only relevant files for your eDisclosure. Speak to one of our experts about how we can assist you with your project here.