If Your Ediscovery Vendor Does This, it's Probably Time to Break Up

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When it comes to a discovery platform, most legal professionals think, “Clearly I can use search in this review tool to find the documents I need!” But, unfortunately, many options on the market today employ search tools too complicated and convoluted to use on your own. This can lead to a seriously codependent relationship with your vendor.

An unhealthy relationship with my ediscovery vendor

When I was practicing, the case that caused my biggest discovery headaches had eight key themes we were trying to develop, translating into more than 40 issue tags. There were millions of documents to review, search, and organize into usable evidence — in a platform that basically required help from vendors at every stage from loading documents to searching for evidence and productions.

I had to send multiple emails a day to my vendor (not DISCO in case that was a question) telling them what I was trying to find. Then I would have to wait for my project manager to interpret that request, construct and run the search, and set up the documents for my review. If I was feeling lucky (and had the time) I would try to run searches myself, hoping to remember the right keywords, Boolean structure, and search syntax to find the documents I was looking for.

What does that mean in practical terms? Here are just a few examples of the types of projects I would try to work with my vendor on:

  • If I was looking to identify documents with similar copies to ensure they were coded correctly, I had to email the vendor to set up a random sample for analysis.
  • If I was trying to locate that one hot document from “Dr. Joe” that the partner insists exists with a specific phrase (that is probably wrong), I had to poke around for hours myself or email my vendor and have them create a sub-category of documents for my review to locate the key evidence.
  • If I needed to find other hot documents regarding similar issues to those discussed in the “Dr. Joe” email that weren’t tagged hot...well, to be honest, that wasn’t possible even with the help of my vendor.

All of the back-and-forth communication and hunt-and-peck review for documents made finding evidence tedious and costly. And so frustrating. Let’s just say — I had a lot of time to pull my hair out while I was waiting on my vendor. 

How does DISCO do it differently?

It’s not only possible for users to run their own searches — we make it easy. With DISCO’s user-focused designs and obsession with performance, exploring your data could be even easier than finding your next impulse buy on Amazon. In fact, 80% of the most common searches our users perform can be replicated with just a few clicks from the filters list.

DISCO puts our powerful search technology in the hands of our users. We believe attorneys and legal professionals are uniquely positioned to find the right evidence if they’re given the right tools.

Finding documents is as easy as online shopping

Searching shouldn’t require the mastery of a specific search syntax or mandate that you have certain columns displayed in order to work with your data. DISCO built our filters panel to surface more than 30 data types, allowing at-a-glance data insights and searching with a simple click of a button. Just like on Amazon, this list is dynamic — updating your available choices and result counts as you click to add new elements.

Looking for those hot documents from Dr. Joe? With two clicks you can pull them up. Need to look just at the documents from a certain date range while limiting the sender and recipients to certain key custodians? Not a problem when you use the integrated date filters.

Familiar online shopping-style interface helps explore documents quickly and easily

Find trends before they go out of style

Let’s say you’re at the beginning of your case. Your data is collected and loaded into DISCO, now what? 

Want to look and see what kind of data is in your collection before meet and confer efforts or figure out how to get rid of the junk in your database? Pop open the search visualizer to explore all kinds of metadata combinations that inform your team of what’s in your data set. It’s always useful to know that 50% of Sam Smith’s emails are coupon offers or from a fantasy football group. 

Explore trends in your data with a few simple clicks

And with document counts that update as you add elements to your search, you’ll never have to guess the impact of your search choices on your data set.

The ability to visualize data or filter it is not limited to the documents you collect. These same powerful tools make interrogating productions from opposing counsel or third parties a streamlined process.  

After all, finding that gap in the data isn’t helpful if fact discovery deadlines have passed you by.

Discover something new (or unknown) in your data

Remember my partner’s insistence on the email from “Dr. Joe?” Even working directly with my vendor, I would not have been able to find other documents on similar topics that were hot but weren’t tagged as such.

With DISCO’s tag predictions, I could find similar hot documents, whether they’re tagged as hot or not. With a couple of quick clicks, I could locate and begin reviewing documents that DISCO AI thinks are hot based on how I’ve tagged the Dr. Joe emails and other hot documents.

DISCO’s search tools surface information on predictive scores (i.e. this many documents are likely something you’d want to review for a given tag) at the issue level. Want to see how many documents are likely responsive to your trespass claim? A single click on the “Highly Likely” option for a tag like “entry” would pull up all the documents most likely to relate to your improper entry issue.

Predictive tag recommendations surfaced in the filters to help guide review workflow and data exploration

Bringing key predictive information to a legal team’s fingertips through easy visual tools makes deciding how to conduct a review, the likely time and cost needed to complete a review, and finding documents a team might otherwise have missed faster and accessible.

Breaking up doesn’t have to be hard to do

Moving from my previous platform to DISCO when I was practicing felt like a breakup. I was no longer communicating with my project manager daily (let alone multiple times a day) to get help on searches and document management. But surprisingly (or not when you think about it) my team and I became more efficient and learned more working iteratively with our data than we did simply relying on our vendor to execute on tasks. 

This is a story we hear frequently from our users:

Interested in learning more about how breaking up with your vendor can help improve your discovery experience and overall process? Schedule a time to talk with an expert and see the search and filtering process in action.

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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.