Do I Need an E-discovery Vendor? Likely, Yes.
Most, if not all, cases brought today involve e-Discovery. Nearly everyone texts, emails, and uses ephemeral messaging apps. Think about how little you see people interacting face to face these days – not just because of COVID-19 but because of the tech boom, and our obsession with our cell phones. Now imagine getting sued – or suing someone else. Certainly, your adversary is going to want to look at your messages, and you’d want the same. Let’s narrow our focus to text messages for a second: think about the volume of messages you send on a daily basis – now double it because I can almost guarantee you’re underestimating.
How do you capture such voluminous data – and not only capture, but process, review, and produce it? With the assistance of an e-Discovery vendor. Even if you think the data set is relatively small, there are many benefits to using a vendor over trying to collect, process, and produce the data on your own. One advantage is efficiency. I often hear complaints about vendor costs but imagine the billable time you’ll spend attempting a production on your own. Importantly, you’re much more likely than a vendor to make a mistake necessitating a supplemental production. The time will add up and the headaches will mount.
Another advantage of using a vendor is that you can learn more about your data than you can with data directly collected by a custodian and reviewed outside of a specialized review platform. For example, Gmail recently added metadata fields that, when included as part of data processing, enable the organization of emails into the same unique threads Gmail users see within their inboxes. This Gmail linking process, called email threading, can only occur within a review platform. Analytical tools such as email threading, predictive coding/machine learning (to prioritize more relevant documents), and document workflow (automating document routing and distribution to streamline review) not only enable an accurate and efficient review – they also make it more likely that any “smoking gun” communications are found at the early stages of review. This will help you to better assess your legal claims, ask the right questions of your opponent at depositions and in written discovery requests, and evaluate the settlement value of your case.