Could your load file leak privileged content?

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The protection of privileged information is fundamental to the attorney-client relationship. To that end, the ediscovery workflow should direct top priority to protect privileged information, even where an agreement is in place that allows for clawback of inadvertently produced privileged information.

Throughout the review process, steps are put in place to mitigate the leak of confidential or privileged data. Review managers have reviewers flagging records for potential privilege, redacting documents, conducting second-level privilege review, running pre-production quality control and sampling, and attorneys make agreements allowing for clawback of privileged material that is inadvertently produced.

In the face of the great care legal professionals take with privileged information in the ediscovery workflow, there is an adversary that lurks just outside the sight of that workflow – the production load file. Legal teams go to such lengths and invest so much time and effort to withhold documents or redact parts of documents, but if just one of those redactions has a corresponding piece of metadata in the load file (e.g. a project name mentioned in the email subject) that is not also withheld, they are inadvertently producing privileged information in the production.

The challenge comes when metadata contains content which attorneys have already put forth the effort to review and redact. While the creation and production of redactions are quite well covered, too many people are still having to spend time in Excel, text editors, or other third party tools, manually combing through metadata values and load files making sure that any metadata that should not be produced is not included.

At DISCO, we want to allow reviewers who are concerned with privilege and confidentiality to designate metadata to be withheld from load files. This will free legal teams from a laborious and highly manual post-production quality control process that in some cases might be performed by someone who is not as focused on privilege or confidentiality.

Protect privileged information in your production load file

DISCO’s metadata redaction function allows the user to draw a redaction directly on the metadata panel in the document viewer. Once drawn, this redaction will ensure that the production load file does not contain any of the redacted information in that field. The redaction can be drawn on all or part of the field, it's not an all-or-nothing proposition. Additionally, the redacted metadata can be assigned a redaction reason in the same way as redactions drawn on the face of the document. Any redaction reason will then appear in place of the redacted text in the load file.

In addition to redacting document text, redact entire metadata fields or values, or portions of them, in DISCO's document viewer.

It is also critical to have robust quality control around productions, especially with respect to redactions. Along with the ability to create load file metadata redactions in the document viewer, DISCO gives the user the ability to search on this attribute specifically. When using our search syntax to surface redacted documents, you can specify whether you're looking for redactions on the face of the document, on the metadata, or both. You can now add this important step to your privilege QC with very little modification to your existing workflow.

Now, close out that Excel window or stop paying for third-party tools to accomplish this critical task. Everything you need is right in DISCO.

Interested in learning more? Read next: 10 steps For Preparing Your Production Population

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Ed Valio