5 Must-Have eDiscovery Features for Legal Firms
Data volumes are increasing at rapid speed. As noted by Forbes, there are 16 million text messages, 156 million emails, and 154,200 video calls made every minute. Human curiosity is keeping pace, with search engines now processing more than five billion inquiries every day.
Along with instant information gratification, a data-driven world gives rise to new concerns. When everything is collected, everything becomes evidence. Emails, documents, images, text messages, and other data types now form the basis of both criminal and civil legal actions. What’s more, they’re subject to the increasingly rigorous process of eDiscovery: identifying, cataloging, and sharing key documents as required to ensure lawyers on both sides of a case have access to the same information.
The result? Firms need a better way to practice law and create order across multiple data sources. The solution? Top notch eDiscovery tools. Not sure what passes the bar? Look for these five must-have features.
File Format Support
The legal profession is evolving. According to The Counsel Network, while this has prompted some pushback from more traditionalist firms, these changes present the unique opportunity to redesign the delivery of legal services.
One harbinger of change? File formats. From emails to text messages, accounting spreadsheets to Word documents, and image formats such as TIFF, JPEG, CAD, CAM, PSD, and PCX, the sheer number of file types lawyers must be able to locate — and view — during the eDiscovery process makes it critical to leverage a solution that both integrates with existing applications and provides single-click support for virtually any image or document type.
Full Text Search
Conducting eDiscovery for clients often requires a wide-ranging search through operational and organizational data across multiple sources. Keyword-driven, full text searches simplify this process by quickly identifying relevant documents; when combined with document-viewer interactivity, lawyers can easily determine context and confidently include or exclude files.
The biggest challenge for eDiscovery tools in law firms? According to Legaltech news, it’s getting lawyers to reliably use these solutions. Familiarity plays a role, too. Staff comfortable with current processes are often resistant to making the switch. Lack of features is the other caveat. If attorneys can’t easily annotate critical files with their team’s particular scheme of color-coding, notes, or shorthand, they’ll actively avoid using new eDiscovery tools.
Best bet? Leverage an eDiscovery viewer that provides in-app review, commenting, and markup capabilities across multiple file types for collaboration and sharing in addition to preserving unaltered versions of the original document.
Traditionally redaction is a labor-intensive process that involves manually redacting sensitive information by blacking it out by hand. Improperly redacted files could put confidential data at risk, not to mention the possibility of federal and regional fines associated with inadvertent disclosure. Fines like these can cost legal organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, manual redaction inhibits the productivity of an organization, ultimately impacting its profitability. Simply put, this process has become inefficient, risky, and costly. There's a better way. Native redaction tools enable parties to streamline the redaction process to reduce time and costs associated with eDiscovery. The right tool can increase accuracy and reduce the risk of human error.
Technology like this allows lawyers to focus their time in more valuable ways rather than going through documents manually applying redactions. Native redaction makes it possible for lawyers to “burn in” their alterations by effectively removing the underlying image mask replacing it with a custom markup. These tools also empower teams to view and create redactions across multiple files types without the need for application switching.
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Who has access to documents? What permissions do they have? Digital rights management (DRM) is now a key aspect of legal eDiscovery. While firms are often required to disclose critical information, native DRM integration lets them set limits on printing, saving, navigation, and document sharing outside corporate firewalls.
The Total Package
Accusoft’s PrizmDoc Viewer is your all-in-one eDiscovery solution. With support for hundreds of file formats, full text, annotation, redaction, and DRM capabilities, PrizmDoc Viewer offers easy integration and complete customization to help law firms bring order to eDiscovery chaos.