How to Fix the 4 Most Annoying Issues with Your Opposing Side’s Production

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When I started at my first law firm, I was excited to defend my clients with the kinds of high-minded legal arguments I had spent so much time studying in law school. 

Instead, I spent my first month making hyper-technical arguments about something we had definitely never studied: metadata. 

My case was in the throes of contentious discovery (what discovery isn’t?), and we had just received millions of pages of documents that were basically unreviewable because they lacked key metadata fields. I wrote a strongly worded email to the opposing counsel, and he snidely (but correctly) responded that the metadata I was demanding was not required by the ESI agreement. 

So, we spent months muddling through thousands upon thousands of documents and creating dozens of binders so we could keep track of different email strings and make sense of our facts. 

(Too bad for them, we took that case all the way to trial and won.)

For too long, the ediscovery equation has looked like this:

Bad production + Legacy ediscovery tool = Frustrating review experience 

At DISCO we’re seeking to change that. We’ve hired industry veterans like Youssef Bittaf, our Head of Data Operations and Forensics, to help us make sure you can get to the facts of your case easily, even if you have less-than-ideal data. 

I’ll let him tell you about how DISCO works magic with production load files.  

(My favorite part of the video, in case you didn’t make it to the end: “All of these amazing features are built into the Data Management Suite. They require zero intervention or configuration from the user. All you have to do is point the high-speed uploader at the data, select your settings, and hit go.”)

To recap, here are four of the ways DISCO works magic when you ingest an incoming production via load file ingest to give you a better review experience. 

1. Easy review of native documents produced as slipsheets

It’s common practice to produce PowerPoint or Excel files as natives because imaging them is too unwieldy. In these cases, most ediscovery platforms will just show you a slipsheet telling you to go download the native file. This used to make me groan because, even though my ediscovery platform was slow, booting up PowerPoint was still likely to be a bigger pain. 

In contrast, when DISCO sees a slipsheet and a corresponding native file, we import the native file and process it as if it was being loaded during a native ingest. In the case of PowerPoints, you get the fully imaged version of the presentation right behind the produced slipsheet. And in the case of Excel files, you can use DISCO’s native Excel viewer to review the spreadsheet. 

This means you never have to leave the DISCO platform and can take advantage of DISCO’s speed regardless of what type of document you are reviewing. 

2. No metadata, no problem!

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Instead of getting emails with all of their metadata, the opposing side dumps a bunch of scanned PDFs on you. Before DISCO, the easiest way to review these was probably in a chronned binder with sticky notes. Oy.

When you load these documents into DISCO, the platform recognizes that they are emails and extracts all relevant metadata from them. This means you can search by senders, recipients, and subject line — just as if they had been produced to you correctly. 

3. Conversation threading for produced emails

Not only does DISCO extract standard metadata from natively produced emails and images of emails, we also build out conversation threads regardless of what metadata you received. We’ll even thread native emails from your client with the emails that were produced to you. This makes it far easier to find those snarky offshoots that show bad intent.

4. Analytics on multi-value fields from de-duped load files

Multi-value fields are one of the hyper-technical metadata considerations that don’t seem like a big deal until it’s all gone horribly wrong. Some documents — like an email with many senders or recipients — can have many custodians. In this case, the custodian field may contain something like John Doe;Sarah Smith;Jay Johnson. If you ingest a load file and don’t tell the system to expect multiple values, you get something that looks like this. Terrible, right?

When you ingest a load file into DISCO, we detect which fields have multiple values and do everything necessary on the backend so your review experience still works seamlessly. You can even map multiple fields in your load file to a single DISCO field, and we will de-dupe them for you (no post-processing scripts required!). 

You can then use DISCO’s full analytics capabilities — from search visualization to filters — to dig into your documents and find your key facts.

All said, DISCO's mission is to help lawyers find evidence faster. We do that by ensuring you can find the documents you need via search and analytics, regardless of how they were produced to you. While it’s possible to win your cases even when you are forced to muddle through with stacks of paper and binders, it is way more efficient (not to mention enjoyable) to do it with DISCO. 

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Caitlin Ward

Caitlin Ward is a product marketing manager at DISCO. She has more than a decade of experience leading ediscovery initiatives and advocating for the adoption of legal tech as an attorney. Since joining DISCO, she focuses on helping lawyers innovate to overcome their ediscovery and case management challenges.