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What is eDiscovery software?

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What is eDiscovery?

eDiscovery software allows legal professionals to process, review, tag, and produce electronic documents as part of a lawsuit or investigation. The right software can help attorneys discover valuable information regarding a matter while reducing costs, speeding up resolutions, and mitigating risks.

In the legal system, discovery is the legal process governing the right to obtain and the obligation to produce non-privileged matter relevant to any party’s claims or defenses in litigation. eDiscovery is that process applied to electronically stored information (ESI), such as emails, computer files, and databases. In other words, it is the legal procedure by which parties are required to exchange information and evidence with one another in state and federal courts.

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Discovery Software isn’t Just for Litigation

  • Ediscovery eDiscovery
  • Case Early Case Assessment
  • Chair Internal Investigations
  • Public Records Public Records Requests

How does eDiscovery software work?

eDiscovery software, also known as document review software, allows legal professionals to handle electronic documents in discovery and investigations. Such tools automate common discovery steps such as data ingestion, file indexing, OCRing, virus scanning, and more, preparing documents to be reviewed and produced.

Once data is loaded into a platform, legal teams can begin reviewing the data, creating searches to find documents, sorting information by metadata fields such as creation data or document author, and tagging files as responsive, nonresponsive, by subject or legal element, etc. Discovery software can also drastically reduce the amount of documents requiring eyes-on review by allowing teams to quickly cull out extraneous files, such as duplicate files and information outside the scope of the review, to focus in on the most important data. Once data has been culled, reviewed, and tagged, discovery software can automatically Bates stamp documents, apply redactions, and create productions that can be securely shared with other parties.

Discovery software that is cloud-based has the added advantage of making it possible to upload, review, and produce documents online, without the delays, costs, and frustrations associated with eDiscovery approaches such as manual review, third-party vendors, or legacy software.

Why eDiscovery Matters

Electronic discovery is one of the primary ways of uncovering the facts in a dispute. In years past, parties exchanged paper documents—often hundreds and hundreds of boxes of them.

Over time, paper documents have been largely replaced with computer generated content, and the process of discovery was forever fundamentally changed.

ESI can now be email, social media, cell phone data, digital audio or video recordings, global databases, apps, global positioning data, data stored in a household appliance, onboard computers in a car, or any of the thousands of digital records produced by an average person on an average day.

Today’s ESI is more than just email:

  • Slack Chat Slack messaging
  • Cloud Cloud-based documents
  • Icon Set Copy Team Social media
  • Text Message Text messages
  • Camera Digital photo and video
  • Location GPS and location data
  • Mobile Data Mobile data
  • Database Electronic databases
  • Iot IoT devices
  • And many more!

2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. That’s about 75 trillion pages’ worth of data.

That profusion of information has created a “golden age of evidence.” Today, legal professionals have access to more information about a matter than ever before. Information surfaced during eDiscovery can hold the key to a winning case or favorable resolution—for those who know how to find and review the data.

Today, competence in discovery is a must-have. Being able to understand and handle electronic discovery is essential to:

  • Serving the Interests of Your Clients: Skill at electronic discovery can help you uncover valuable evidence in a way that is time and cost efficient.

    Icon Set Copy Search
  • Fulfilling Your Ethical Duties: Competent and diligent representation require an understanding of eDiscovery and courts are increasingly critical of inefficient and manual processes.

    Healthcare
  • Saving Time and Money: When you’re billing by the hour, time is money. Powerful discovery software allows you to do more work, more efficiently in a manner that is both client and firm friendly.

    Icon Set Copy Timer
  • Avoiding eDiscovery Sanctions: When discovery is done wrong, sanctions can follow. Parties who don’t know how to handle ESI risk expensive and potentially case-dispositive sanctions as a result.

    Shield

What Approach to eDiscovery Is Best for You?

Manual Document Review

Before the digital era, document discovery was fairly straight forward. An attorney headed to her client’s office, identified the documents potentially relevant or responsive in a matter, hauled them off in banker’s boxes and reviewed the manually, one by one. Redactions were made with giant black pens, Bates stamps were applied with actual stamps.

Redacted Stamp

Inefficiencies with Manual Document Review

Today, many attorneys still take a manual approach to eDiscovery. Electronic files will be collected from clients and reviewed, one by one, in programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Adobe Acrobat, organizing their review in a giant spreadsheet. But even with a small amount of documents, this process is inefficient and ineffective. Review teams lose the ability to search against multiple files at once or to quickly organize information by metadata such as date, creator, recipient, etc. Indeed, such manual review may alter the documents, leading to potential spoliation. And even when done right, review teams are stuck reviewing huge amounts of unnecessary information—documents like spam emails or duplicate and irrelevant files that could otherwise easily be culled.

Using Adobe and Outlook for Document Review

Imagine, for example, a review involving 10 gigabytes of email, reviewing those files in tools such as Microsoft Outlook or Adobe Acrobat. At 3,000 documents a gigabyte, that’s about 30,000 documents requiring review. With manual review, attorneys are forced to work through these files individually, at a rate of about $250 an hour and a total cost of almost $200,000. Such expenses may be so high that clients simply refuse to pay for them. The resources needed to conduct the review would be so great that many firms just wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Alternatives to Manual Review

With the right eDiscovery software, however, that approach is no longer necessary. Smart filtering, such as limiting documents by date range or focusing in on only those containing specific keywords, could eliminate the need to review up to 95 percent of those documents. That leaves only 1,500 documents to evaluate. Assuming an attorney reviews 50 documents an hour, that’s $7,500—savings of about $192,000. When the discovery is done in house, rather than through eDiscovery vendors, that means lower costs to the client and more billable hours for the law firm.

And because this new era of eDiscovery technology is simple to use, almost instantly deployable, and charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, many of those law firms previously shut out from eDiscovery technology due to its cost or complexity are best positioned to take advantage.

Smart filtering, such as limiting documents by date range or focusing in on only those containing specific keywords can reduce the documents you need to review by 95 percent—saving almost $192,000 vs. manual review.

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eDiscovery vendors

eDiscovery vendors are third-party legal service providers that aid in the processing, preparation, and production of electronically stored information during discovery. Under a managed services and managed review model, some vendors may also handle collection, review, and analytics as well.

eDiscovery vendors flourished as electronic discovery grew. Indeed, many vendors began as copy shops specializing in servicing law firm clients and expanded from there. Technologies originally designed in the 1980s were unleashed on ESI, creating some of the review platforms that are still with us today.

One widely-circulated report from 2011 estimated that “conducting an electronic discovery event may cost upwards of $30,000 per gigabyte”—or about 60 percent of the median household income at the time.

How Much Do eDiscovery Vendors Cost?

Consultants made their fortune advising law firms on how to approach massive discovery projects. Vendors popped up throughout the country, bringing needed technological expertise to the process, but nickel-and-diming users with $250-per-gig data ingestion fees and penny-per-page Bates stamping charges.

Vendors became famous for their inflated price tags. One widely-circulated report from 2011 estimated that “conducting an electronic discovery event may cost upwards of $30,000 per gigabyte”—or about 60 percent of the median household income at the time. It wasn’t hard to find million-dollar eDiscovery bills in high-profile litigation, with a sizable chunk of the discovery costs going to vendor costs like “near-line storage” and “hibernated subcollection fees.”

What is a hibernated subcollection fee? We don’t know either, but it could cost you $20,000-plus.

eDiscovery Software

As discovery has evolved, it has moved from banker’s boxes to brick-and-mortar vendors to sophisticated, cloud-based eDiscovery software. Today’s eDiscovery processing software allows legal teams to automate thousands of steps, such as data ingestion, indexing, OCRing, virus scanning, and preliminary quality control. Cloud-based discovery software makes it possible upload, review, and produce documents online, via the cloud, without the delays, complications, or expense of traditional eDiscovery services.

Today’s eDiscovery processing software allows legal teams to automate thousands of steps, such as data ingestion, indexing, OCRing, virus scanning, and preliminary quality control. See how automated discovery processing works.

How Are Cloud-based Discovery Tools Different?

Modern eDiscovery software is worlds away from the legacy tools that were once common—or the overly complex, incredibly expensive discovery approaches that still are. Innovate design makes formerly difficult processes powerfully simple and easily deployable for legal teams of all levels of experience and sophistication. With 24/7 accessibility, on-demand help, predictable pricing, and the ability to grow your resources as you need them, today’s eDiscovery software can often be deployed in under a day—even in a matter of hours.

How long does Logikcull’s Instant discovery take?

  • <1 Min avg. project creation time
  • 35 Min avg. time from upload to review
  • 22 Min avg. time to create a production
  • <2 Min avg. response time for in-app support
  • <24 Hrs avg. time needed to implement

This automated, cloud-based process also allows for use cases well beyond traditional document review. In some organizations, compliance teams are using such systems to conduct internal investigations. General counsel’s offices are using it to move eDiscovery in-house, while finance departments utilize the technology to conduct tax audits. With the best eDiscovery software, any document-intensive project can be transformed from a potential burden into something as simple as drag, drop, done.

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eDiscovery Software Comparison

The best solution for your discovery work will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of data you need to review, the amount and complexity of your data, the probable length of review, and, perhaps most importantly, the eDiscovery software used to conduct the review.

Here’s how the available options compare:

Scales

eDiscovery Vendors

eDiscovery vendors emerged as electronically stored information first started working its way into litigation, initially as a small group of glorified copy shops and expanding from there. Today, vendors range from traditional “ship us the DVD” companies to managed services providers, who will collect data, process it, and manage an army of contract lawyers to sift through it.

eDiscovery Vendors

Logikcull’s Instant Discovery Software
Time to go live: One month or more 24 hours or less
Time to create a project: 24+ hours <1 minute average
Time to begin review: 24+ hours <35 minutes average
Support: 9-to-5, time-based fees 24/7/365, included in plan
Control over your process: Low High
Control over client data: Low High
Data loading: $ Automated
Database setup: $ Automated
Advanced analytics: $ Automated
Seat licenses: $ Unlimited users
Storage: $ Included
Third-party productions: $ Included
Database restoration: $ Automated
Native processing: $ Automated
Pricing: Per GB + dozens of additional charges Simple, predictable, inclusive per-GB or subscription pricing
Total cost: $300-$500 per gigabyte As low as $40 per gigabyte for pay-as-you-go pricing; customizable subscription prices

On-Premises eDiscovery Systems

Years ago, many firms sought to reduce vendor costs by creating their own on-premises eDiscovery systems. These systems allow firms to bring eDiscovery in-house, but can require significant investment in software, hardware, and internal IT staff.

On-Premises eDiscovery Systems

Logikcull’s Instant Discovery Software
Time to go live: Months 24 hours or less
Time to create a project: 24+ hours <1 minute average
Time to begin review: 24+ hours <35 minutes average
Support: Dependent on internal resources 24/7/365, included in plan
Security: Limited by internal expertise Industry-leading security, backed by independent inspections
Storage infrastructure: $ No limits to storage, included in plan
Maintenance: Hundreds of thousands of dollars Automated
System downtime: Frequent Available 24/7
Client bill-back: Difficult Simple
Control over your process: High High
Control over client data: Limited by expertise High
Data loading: Handled in house Automated
Database setup: Handled in house Automated
Advanced analytics: Unavailable Automated
Seat licenses: Limited users Unlimited users
Pricing: Six-figure investment in software and infrastructure Simple, predictable, inclusive per-GB or subscription pricing
Total cost: $30-$70 per GB + six figures a year in hardware and maintenance As low as $40 per gigabyte for pay-as-you-go pricing; customizable subscription prices

Vendors in the Cloud

The cloud has revolutionized discovery, allowing legal professionals to begin a project in minutes and conduct discovery from anywhere. Some cloud discovery services apply simple, predictable models. Others replicate the approach of traditional vendors, from line-item charges for easily automated process to per-project minimums and restrictive user fees.

Vendors in the Cloud

Logikcull’s Instant Discovery Software
Time to go live: Days to months 24 hours or less
Time to create a project: 24+ hours <1 minute average
Time to begin review: 24+ hours <35 minutes average
Support: 9-to-5, added cost 24/7/365, included in plan
Control over your process: Moderate High
Control over client data: Moderate High
Data loading: Manual for all but the smallest projects Automated
Per-project minimums: $ None
Seat licenses: Limited users Unlimited users and projects
Hosting overages: $ None
"Data reduction" charges: $ None
Data processing: $ Automated
Pricing: Per-GB pricing + additional fees Simple, predictable, inclusive per-GB or subscription pricing
Total cost: $75-$350 per gigabyte As low as $40 per gigabyte for pay-as-you-go pricing; customizable subscription prices

Logikcull

Logikcull’s Instant Discovery eliminates hidden fees and puts you in control of your discovery process. It automates thousands of steps that vendors bill for, from deduplication to OCR’ing to metadata preservation. Start a new project in seconds, search through documents as easily as using Google, and automatically categorize documents through dozens of filters—and keep costs under control, with clear, per-gigabyte price tags or a customized subscription plan.

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When it comes to picking the best eDiscovery software, your peers have a clear favorite. Logikcull is ranked as the highest rated and easiest to use software by hundreds of verified, third-party reviews.

Which eDiscovery software is best?

When it comes to picking the appropriate approach to eDiscovery, start with these questions:
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