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Cheaper Isn’t Always Better - 2: Why covering the basics isn’t enough

| Written by Altlaw

We all want to save on costs and make the most of the tools we already have available in house, but this law firm narrowly avoided serious business damage. Read on to learn why, in the world of eDiscovery, cheaper does not mean better.

A law firm (which has since partnered with Altlaw) once worked for a very prestigious corporate client, who was a leader in their sector.

For dealings with this client, the law firm mostly used a form of document management software that was particularly useful at the very early stages of the litigation process known as ECA (Early Case Assessment).

This information governance system included a tool capable of ingesting, filtering and organising large volumes of data for retrieval purposes. On the basis of this, the firm decided to use the software for their corporate client’s litigation review – after all, it appeared to be the most time and cost-effective solution available to them.r

The Challenge

The law firm in question had concluded that they appeared to have most of the disclosure basics covered by this one system, but some crucial functionality was missing. As the litigation review with their client went on, it became clear that there were some tasks that simply could not be accomplished beyond the ECA process.

The system quickly proved to be very poor at the later stages of disclosure, and the many lawyers that needed the system to perform proper disclosure review throughout the later stages were extremely frustrated and voiced their complaints.

It also transpired that the software was unable to process scanned images to an acceptable standard – the in-house team could not export the data in a sensible manner without losing the work product, nor could they disclose any information to the other side as per their court ordered obligations.

This led to this particular aspect of the disclosure review being put entirely on hold until an appropriate solution could be found. This did not reflect well on either law firm or their client.

The Solution: Partial data extraction and Relativity

Altlaw stepped in to help, and assisted with a partial extraction of existing data, in addition to the processing of new data.  Our team extracted a total of 250,000 records from their database, and also processed an additional set of complementary data.

This new combined dataset was made available to the review team via our Relativity instance in a timely fashion.

While this did represent an additional cost to the firm, it crucially allowed them to meet their disclosure obligations and receive the disclosure of the other party – free from the complaints of the other sides lawyers, and free from potentially more costly developments in the long run.

Our work also laid the foundations for the firm to further investigate the extracted data in greater depth, and ensure that when it comes to the other side making their own disclosure, they now had a robust system in place to handle it.