No offense to Jim Croce or my legal tech friends, but If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do is—spend it doing pretty much anything other than doc review.
To that end, I’ve got some tips and tricks to help you make the most of every minute.
Learn the Language
The less time you have to spend Googling “what are Boolean operators” the better.
Spend some time familiarizing yourself with eDiscovery jargon and the search syntax of your review tool. A comprehensive understanding of how your review tool works is absolutely imperative to ensuring you’re not climbing through mountains of data that your tool could’ve cut down to a molehill with an advanced search.
Become a Serial Culler
When I first started working in eDiscovery I was terrified to cull. What if I make the wrong call and cull a document that is actually responsive? What if our smoking gun was removed from the review set?
Nowadays culling is one of my favorite things to do. This isn’t to say that you should cull indiscriminately, but rather that you shouldn’t be afraid to put records aside to make your relevant datasets more manageable.
Get to know your data and then trust your instincts. For example, you may be able to cull certain records based on their date. Narrowing your dataset means more time with eyes on the records that really matter.
Use the Costco Method and Go Bulk
Use bulk actions to tag and categorize your data en masse. For example, sometimes you come across records that are based on a form (like meeting minutes), and once you find one, it’s pretty easy to make a search that finds them all. This type of tagging and organization is great for getting the lay of the land, before you dive in for hyper-focused review before a depo.
Even more useful: Some review tools have bulk redaction options, so you can find and redact things like Social Security numbers with just a few clicks.
Let Automation Be Your Salvation
It’s Automatic, systematic, hydromatic - wait not that last one, I got carried away. Seriously though, automatic processes will absolutely make your eDiscovery workflow like Greased Lightning.
If you find yourself doing the same thing in every review, think about whether that process can be automated. For example, rather than downloading files just to reupload them into software for review, use features like Logikcull’s cloud-to-cloud uploads to pull directly from 3rd party sources. Other features like automatic deduplication or near-dupe detection, email-threading, and drag-and-drop uploads can be real time savers.
Regardless of your review tool’s capabilities, simple things like keeping a running list of standard searches you run for privilege checks, or even common hot keywords and phrases that can apply to multiple cases in your practice area can keep you from having to reinvent the wheel at the outset of each case.
Hopefully these little tricks can help you make your reviews more efficient, more accurate, and maybe even (dare I say it) more enjoyable.