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Redefining eDiscovery in the hybrid working era

| Written by Imogen Fraser-Clark


The era of hybrid working is well and truly here, and while the ratio of hours spent working remotely vs working in the office will differ for each organisation, most of the legal sector appears to have settled comfortably into a hybrid state of working. However, when it comes to eDiscovery, the same cannot always be said. Many are concerned about the impacts remote/hybrid working might have on the document review process, but not to worry, we are here to put your mind at ease. 

From specialist law firms to in-house counsel, many legal teams are finding that more flexible modes of working continue to create new benefits and challenges in equal measure. While we’re over the hill in many senses, teams in charge of collection and review still have much to refine as far as their eDiscovery processes and practices are concerned. Here are a few ways legal teams can hope to combat the ongoing challenges presented by hybrid working, and refine their eDiscovery approaches to work optimally in the new, hybrid world of work.

Only collect the data you need:

Rising data volumes and sources continue to add to the time and cost associated with eDiscovery projects. The key to keeping these down in the future of hybrid working is to devote more time and effort earlier on in the process to assess what information is needed – rather than only realising the burdensome nature of your document batches once it’s too late. One way to help do this is by leveraging proportionality.

Typically, proportionality is not brought into an eDiscovery strategy until after the data has been collected. However, thought leaders in the eDiscovery space have begun to draw attention to the benefits – particularly for remote and hybrid workforces – of using proportionately early on as a form of collection strategy. Mandi Ross, CEO and MD of Prism Litigation Technology, previously explained it thusly in a webinar on remote eDiscovery:-

“There’s often a gap between the identification and collection where proportionality can be leveraged as a means to right-size discovery early and align it to the merits of the case. Addressing proportionality earlier in the process provides valuable institutional knowledge to the case team, and it also dramatically reduces the volume of content and downstream discovery cost.”

Use the right tools:

businessman shows modern technology as conceptNot only are data volumes expanding, but they are also coming from an increasingly complex and varied mix of sources and devices. The end result of this is that it makes both defensibility and collection much more challenging, as more eDiscovery tools may be required to both effectively retrieve the data, and provide sufficient evidence or documentation on how that data has been gathered.

Thankfully, the huge surge in problems that this has created in the past couple of years, has created an equally huge demand for software innovation. As such, the response has been a great leap forward for remote collection tools.

For example, solutions like Collect by RelativityOne are flattening out the learning curve that can come with a difficult mix of data sources. The premise of Collect is that it enables eDiscovery teams to retrieve data from different sources without having to purchase and learn how to use a range of different tools – instead, tools like Collect can enable you to access a wide range of data sources from one unified front end.

Check out our RelativityOne PillarPage for more information about the tools available to you within the platform that can boost your efficiency and lower your costs!


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Don’t neglect quality control:

One of the biggest positives that came from the initial move to remote workforces in the legal space was a demonstrable rise in productivity. But with more employees away from the support of the physical office environment for more hours of the working week, it’s important that meeting targets is never achieved at the detriment of quality. Keeping up review speeds is important, but this should never come at the cost of poor coding decisions.

One way to ensure both quality control and productivity are upheld to a sufficient standard is by enlisting senior reviewers to perform a QC review of the coding decisions made by first-pass reviewers – keeping a close eye on how often the decisions of your first-pass reviewers are overturned. From there, you can focus your attention on any reviewers who need extra guidance, and schedule meetings with them using videoconferencing and other remote collaboration tools to discuss anything that the reviewer may be finding challenging or confusing.

As part of our client package here at Altlaw, you also receive access to our Altlaw Ingenium - a place where reviewers and project managers alike can go to find out useful information and to ask questions for our expert staff to answer. 


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