10 Steps For Preparing Your Production Population

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If there is one thing we learn in law school, it is that preparation is key. The process of production is no exception. While DISCO’s user-friendly production tool allows clients the control and transparency of generating their own productions, a production is nonetheless only as good as the population of documents within.

Each time I run a production for a client, I go through the below-outlined steps. While some steps may seem unnecessary, they take much less time than discovering problems once the production is already run, or worse, after it has been submitted to opposing counsel. The littlest steps are very often the most profitable ones in terms of discovering potential issues.

Step 1: Create a production QC view

Creating a production QC view only needs to be done once and can be used for all productions in the life of a matter. I recommend to include such columns as Productions Tag Group, Bates Numbers, Privilege Tag Group, Redactions, Redactions Reason, Confidentiality Group, Applied Tags, and Tag Predictions.

If you intend to create custom slip-sheets with field or tag information contained therein, be sure to include as columns whichever fields you plan to use. For example, add the custodian field into your view if you are planning to incorporate it into a custom placeholder. This allows you to look over the information to be included ahead of time. (Please note: the terms  slip-sheets and placeholders are synonymous for the purposes of this article.)


Step 2: Create a tag group

Create a tag group for productions with tags created for each of the elements of your production. Suggested examples are below.

Tag Group: Productions

Tags:VOL001 – ProduceVOL001 – Slip-sheet for PrivilegeVOL001 – Slip-sheet as Non-ResponsiveVOL001 – Produce with Redactions 

Step 3: Isolate your overall population

Mass tag all documents within the population with your production tag. The tag should be family inclusive as we highly recommend producing in full families. Including family members may add documents that you will want to withhold in whole (by placeholder) or in part (by redaction). The following steps will allow you to identify and address those documents as needed.

Example Search: tag(responsive) % tag(privileged) PLUS FAMILY

Example Tag: VOL001 – Produce

Step 4: Create a search on your production tag

Create a search for your production tag and save this search. This search will contain everything in your production including any documents to be withheld as placeholders. As noted in Step 3, this search should be family inclusive. You can test that its family inclusive by selecting the family toggle. If the number changes, your production tag is not family inclusive.

Example Search: tag(“VOL001 – Produce”)

Step 5: Use production QC view to spot check for errors

Using your Production QC View, scroll through the Tag predictions column to see if any predictions stand out, potentially in contrast with current coding. Changing the sort to tag recommendation can make this easier. You can also run searches against the production tag to look for discrepancies.

Example Search: tag(“VOL001 – Produce”) AND (prediction("privileged", >75)) AND tag("not privileged") 

Step 6: Identify potential issues

Looking at the population, identify potential issues such as already produced documents or documents to be slip-sheeted. Run searches to identify those documents within your production population.

Example Search: tag(“VOL001 – Produce”) AND tag(privileged) 

Step 7: Decide how you would like to treat found issues

Decide how you would like to treat those documents found in Step 6. Mass tag those documents you would like to produce as slip-sheets. If you are planning to use multiple custom slip-sheets, distinguish those documents with different tags.

Example Tags:VOL001 – Slip-sheet for PrivilegeVOL001 – Slip-sheet as Non-Responsive

Step 8: Create a search to identify redacted documents

Create a search to identify those documents that have been redacted. Scroll through the production view to confirm that all redactions have corresponding reasons. If you have tagging indicating that documents require redactions, confirm that all necessary documents have been redacted and that any redacted documents have been coded as needing redaction. Mass tag the documents to be produced with redactions.

Example Search: tag(“VOL001 – Produce”) AND hasredactions(true)

Example Tags:VOL001 – Produce with Redactions 

Step 9: Complete a final spot check of the overall production set search

Scroll through the overall production set search again to ensure that you have coded everything accordingly for the production. Select the family toggle one last time to ensure the production tag is family inclusive. Spot check counts. For example, if you are branding the whole production for confidentiality, confidentiality tags should have the same total as the production count.

Step 10: Create the production

Head to the productions interface. Create the production using the Productions group tags prepared in earlier steps. Using these tags allows you to know exactly what you are producing. The tags can also serve as an easy reference later as to how the documents were produced, should any of the underlying tagging change.

While it is a matter of preference whether you use the production tag or a search of the production tag, the most important thing is that the population is the family inclusive set that you have created through the above steps. If you create your production based on the original tagging fields such as responsive rather than an overall production tag or overall production search, it is very possible you will produce incomplete families.

Use only the family-inclusive production tag or search of the production tag when generating your production. Do not add any tags to the exclusion portion as you have already accounted for them as either slip-sheets or with redactions. Adding tags to exclude will cause documents to be produced in partial families.

Following the above steps will ensure that you are producing the population correctly the first time around. I would also recommend running a small test production ahead of time incorporating the above steps in order to capture any additional questions you may have about formatting or the production interface itself.

Below are links to additional articles within DISCO’s Knowledge Base that go further into the production interface and slip-sheets.

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Tracy Hallmann