Finding the Solution Outside of the Box

“Think outside the box.”

As sayings go, it’s probably over used and you probably do not think much about it when you actually have a problem to solve. Recently, an industry report pointed out how challenging it is to find and hire e-discovery professionals with good (or better) problem solving skills.  Electronic discovery projects present new and interesting problems so it is pretty important to learn effective problem solving as you learn about e-discovery. This week, I’d like for you to try this problem solving exercise… let me know how you do in the comments.

 

 

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LTNY 2012 in Review

Learning about electronic discovery includes keeping up to date with the latest technology and practice trends in our field. Legal Tech New York 2012 was this year’s first major trade show and conference. Here are a few of the top blog posts & articles covering the event:

Apersee

E-Discovery Journal

E- Discovery Daily

E-discovery Beat

Legal Talk Network – podcast 1 and podcast 2

eDisclosure Information Project

Discovery Resources

Predictive coding dominated the sessions. Most agreed that it is coming – you should be prepared – but even the most enthusiastic advocates cautioned it does not necessarily replace humans. Two primary drivers for adoption emerged: 1) skyrocketing costs associated with human review teams, especially when data volumes are very large; and 2) superior accuracy of technology-assisted review, which is not susceptible to the random errors and inconsistencies of humans, and which can identify and remediate inaccuracies through a process of iteration.

In addition to the excitement about predictive coding, cloud-based data and ECA were also hot topics. Another common theme might be summed up with the phrase “methodology matters” – that is, business process is critical and must be well understood before you can make real progress in improving efficiency and controlling costs.

My new favorite phrase is “methodology matters” to describe what is essentially project management. Technology is great but if your business process is lacking, then you might as well plan on wasting a lot of time and money.  And by now, you can tell that the other major topic at LTNY this year was predictive coding (also known as computer assisted coding).

What did you learn about e-discovery at this year’s show? What changes to your practice are you making since you returned from NY?

How to Manage an ESI Review Team

The following links point to a series of posts from the E-Discovery Daily Blog. The focus of the content walks you step by step in best practices for managing an e-discovery document review team.

1.       Introduction

2.       Clearly Define Objectives

3.       Get a Handle on the Document Collection

4.       First Steps in Drafting Criteria

5.       Drafting Responsive Criteria – a Step-by-Step Guide

6.       Drafting Privileged Criteria

7.       Applying Topic Codes in the Document Review

8.       Identify a Project Manager

9.       Prepare a Review Plan

10.   Assembling the Project Team

11.   Training a Review Team

12.   Starting the Project

13.   Keeping Decisions in the Hands of the Attorneys

14.   Ensuring High-Quality, Consistent Work

15.   Keep the Staff Motivated

16.   Use the Team’s Knowledge

Strategic Legal Technology :: Legal Project Management (LPM) Overview [Live Blog Post]

Need to distinguish between process improvement and LPM. Ideally, firms would improve processes before focusing on project management. But in reality, many firms have gotten on the LPM bandwagon first. Hypothesis is that LPM is less culturally challenging than is process improvement. But LPM does not in and of itself lead to efficient execution of matters – to achieve this require legal process improvement.

via Strategic Legal Technology :: Legal Project Management (LPM) Overview [Live Blog Post].

 

Review Guide « The Electronic Discovery Reference Model

EDRM Document Review Workflow Chart

Aim: To gain an understanding of document content while organizing them into logical sub-sets in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Goal: Develop facts, reduce risk, reduce cost, leverage technology, facilitate collaboration and communication.

via Review Guide « The Electronic Discovery Reference Model.

This is a pretty in-depth overview of what you need to know to successfully plan and manage a document review.

Key Learning Points include:

  • Review Technology, Process & Workflow
  • Review Team Management
  • Vendor / Service Provider Selection
  • Reporting and Metrics

Managing Lawyers for your Document Review – 10 Tips

Here are 10 tips for managing contract attorneys.

via Managing Lawyers.

  1. Privilege law
  2. Choose wisely/ do your homework
  3. Quality control
  4. Conferences/ getting started
  5. Review software
  6. Share knowledge
  7. Provide managerial and technical support
  8. Provide the proper office equipment
  9. Treat contract professionals with respect
  10. Build teams

Self-Collection Prohibited in Delaware & Why Self-Collection is a Bad Idea for ESI

On the issue of self-collection, when the Court says not to “rely on a defendant to search their own e-mail system” and “we don’t rely on people who are defendants to decide what documents are responsive,” I believe the Court refers specifically to the practice of a client acting as document reviewer and sole arbiter of responsiveness. That is well understood to be a bad practice, so there is nothing shocking about this pronouncement.

via Self-Collection Prohibited in Delaware : Delaware eDiscovery Report.

E-Discovery project management thought leaders suggest that at a bare minimum ESI collection is completed with meaningful supervision.

Another recent blog post discusses why self-collection is increasingly not a best e-discovery management practice.

Update: one more blogger reviews a case regarding the dangers of self-collection here

Will Agile Project Management Practices Reduce the Risk on Your e-Discovery Project? « Electronic Discovery Project Management

What are the risks for every project? The folks at Project Smart list six common risks for any sort of project:

  1. Unrealistic Customer Expectations and Developer Gold-Plating
  2. Insufficient Customer Involvement
  3. Poor Impact Analysis
  4. Scope Creep
  5. Defective Requirements
  6. New Processes and Tools

How would we manage these risks within the context of electronic discovery?

via Will Agile Project Management Practices Reduce the Risk on Your e-Discovery Project? « Electronic Discovery Project Management.

Failure to Test Keywords by Sampling a Prominent Consideration in Court’s Finding of Waiver : Electronic Discovery Law

Keyword searching is a task which requires using technology. As a best practice you should make sure you allow enough time in your project management plan to test and perform quality control measures on your search results. You must have a methodology in place to which you apply the technology you have available. Not the other way around.

What happens when you rely too heavily on the technology?

Here‘s the case summary

Here‘s an overview of what happened

Key learning points include:

  • discussion of the importance of planned workflow
  • discussion of the importance of quality control as a part of your workflow
  • application of FRE 502(b)(3) and FRCP 26(b)(5)(B)

e-discovery 2.0 » Searching… TREC Legal Track

e-discovery 2.0 » Blog Archive » Electronic Discovery, EDiscovery, E-Discovery, Legal Discovery.

Clearwell Systems has been keeping up with the latest discussion and trends in searching thanks to its participation in the TREC Legal Track. Here they discuss and link to the latest white paper which analyzes “the task of producing specific records in response to a `discovery request'”

This is a very high-level discussion on searching technology that will aid you in discussing application vendor claims about how their search & retrieval technology is better than the next guy.

In an e-discovery world where simple keyword searching is no longer considered a reasonable effort, it is recommended that you learn all you can about how to turn your mountain of data into a mole hill in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.