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Tackling challenges in construction eDiscovery

| Written by Imogen Fraser-Clark

eDiscovery is typically the most labour-intensive aspect of the litigation process, for all disciplines of law. eDiscovery tools are designed to help combat this by introducing efficiencies in the form of consolidated searching, concept clustering, enhanced data security and the availability of AI tools that help speed up your processes.

These tools afford those who use them a far simpler, more streamlined eDiscovery experience, however, certain industries have a more difficult time of eDiscovery than others. In this blog, we will be exploring the stand-out difficulties lawyers face in construction eDiscovery and how the available tools can be manipulated to best support their unique challenges. 


Fragmented Data Sources: 

When dealing with construction litigation you are often having to work with data that many different entities and data controllers own. This can make collating this evidence in a forensically safe way quite problematic. Data is spread over a greater range of devices, often in multiple locations and varying conditions. Bringing all of this data together can therefore require more nuanced processes than a standard data collection. You must also consider the security of your data that much more, as more people will be affected by any form of data breach or discrepancy when you have a greater number of custodians involved in eDiscovery. 

To combat these issues, we would recommend always using a data management platform that has been designed to promote collaboration safely and securely. The RelativityOne platform has fantastic scalability, enabling it to handle large quantities of data in its secure cloud environment. Pair this with a forensic collection undertaken by a seasoned professional, such as one of our Altlaw experts, and you have the beginnings of an efficient, effective eDiscovery project.

At Altlaw we offer a variety of collection services. Take a look at our Collection Blog to determine which option best suits your collection needs. 


A Greater Volume of Non-Textual Data:

In addition to textual documents, construction projects generate non-textual data such as images, videos, and CAD drawings. Reviewing and analyzing this non-textual data effectively often requires specialised tools and expertise beyond traditional text-based eDiscovery platforms. 

Despite the growing AI revolution sweeping the industry, there is a surprising lack of development when branching out existing tools to encompass a greater variety of file types. This means that many eDiscovery providers, that rely on these text-based platforms, are simply not equipt to handle such a demanding data processing challenge, this in turn causes the cost of construction eDiscovery to rise as capable platforms are often more expensive. 

One way to combat this issue is to bring in expert providers who take a technology-forward approach, celebrate technology and aren't afraid of bringing in new tools for testing and eventual use on your matter, should they prove effective. Approaching these providers will increase the likelihood that they have access to technology better suited to your needs, or at least have workflows in place to better support these types of data. 

At Altlaw we have handled many different construction eDiscovery cases and as such have a number of bespoke workflows tailored to filter and pick out these more complex filetypes to make their review easier and more efficient. We also focus strongly on innovation and regularly meet with solution providers to learn about the latest technology entering the market and how it might benefit our clients.

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Handling Large Technical Drawings:

Alongside producing a large volume of non-textual data, construction also produces incredibly detailed large-scale technical drawings that pose individual challenges. Not only are they images - a file type that is far more difficult to process when compared with textual data, but they are also large files that take much longer to process and often cannot be displayed in full resolution by typical eDiscovery platforms. 

When it comes to deduplicating these images or analysing the journey one of these images has made from the multiple iterations you are likely to have in your data set, there are very few tools available as standard within eDiscovery platforms. This means that specialised workflows and tools need to be brought in. 

There are now some AI tools - thanks to the rise of ChatGPT and other LLMs - that enable a project manager to upload these large technical drawings to a platform and ask an algorithm questions about the data they have provided. These prompts can be written in natural language and responses will also be provided in natural language. Tools like this should be able to point out differences between technical drawings and summarise their findings in an understandable way. 

If you are a little more cautious of emerging technology you could instead opt for a managed review service where all the paralegals and lawyers sourced to complete your review have construction experience. At Altlaw we tailor our reviewers to the needs of individual cases and work hand-in-hand with our clients to determine the ideal reviewer criteria. We find this often helps in increasing the efficiency of more niche reviews such as these as reviewers are pre-trained on what to look for and understand the subject matter more thoroughly. 


Cost Considerations:

The cost of your eDiscovery project is always something to factor in when liaising with your end client, however, this is often a greater burden in construction as the eDiscovery process usually requires more niche, and therefore, more expensive tools and expertise. 

At Altlaw we have a wealth of experience handling construction cases and practice transparent pricing - meaning that our pricing is available on our website and we regularly communicate about costs with our clients. Our experience with construction cases enables us to provide more accurate initial project pricing, assuming we have all the relevant information, and also means that we are able to suggest methodologies proven to reduce cost and increase efficiency. 

We have also developed a Cost Tracker tool within our instance of RelativityOne that allows our clients to monitor how much money they are spending on PM support, which is often one of the hardest costs to control. This increased visibility on accrued costs gives both our clients and their end clients greater peace of mind and control over their spending. 

You can also get an instant quote for your next eDiscovery project by filling out our on-page project calculator. This calculator will provide you with a price range for your next project based on some preliminary information. You can then reach out to a member of the Altlaw team for a more detailed quote should you wish to proceed. 

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