5 Undiscovered Benefits of eDiscovery Software
Although digital solutions are gradually finding their way into legal practices, there is still a great deal of progress that needs to be made with regards to the discovery process. The dramatic growth of electronic documents over the last few decades has seen the emergence of eDiscovery, which involves all electronic aspects of gathering, identifying, and producing information in preparation for a lawsuit or investigation. Resources gathered during the eDiscovery process are referred to as electronically stored information (ESI) and can consist of things like documents, emails, databases, voicemails, audio/video files, website content, and social media posts.
Today’s LegalTech developers have created a variety of applications to streamline the eDiscovery process and make it easier for legal teams to comply with the regulations pertaining to the management of ESI. Unfortunately, 48 percent of legal professionals admit that their organization is still conducting much of their research and discovery manually.
By continuing to rely on cumbersome, error prone manual processes, these organizations are missing out on many of the benefits offered by eDiscovery software. This creates an opportunity for LegalTech developers that are continuing to build eDiscovery tools to meet the evolving needs of the legal industry.
5 Undiscovered Benefits of eDiscovery Tools
1. Lower Costs
While there’s a lot more to eDiscovery software than cost savings, it’s important for firms and departments to understand just how much time they could be saving with eDiscovery tools. According to data from Thomson Reuters, the typical lawyer takes about 51 minutes to locate a key document during the litigation process, but using an eDiscovery solution can reduce that time to a mere 16 minutes. The saved time can easily be directed toward more high value tasks, which allows firms to deliver better value to their clients.
LegalTech developers can help deliver these cost-effective platforms by keeping their own costs under control. Implementing key features like file viewing and document assembly by way of SDKs and APIs rather than building them from scratch is one of the best ways to keep projects on time and under budget.
Designing user interfaces that legal teams can quickly understand and use effectively is also crucial because it increases the likelihood that new platforms will be adopted and used within a firm. Any discovery tasks that can be automated should be integrated into application workflows so that lawyers can spend less time managing documents and more time honing their legal strategy for a case.
2. Better Information
One of the challenges of discovery is the sheer quantity of information that needs to be managed. While a small case may only amount to a gigabyte or two worth of documents, that data could very easily consist of hundreds of files, many of which might not have any relevance to the case itself.
This is especially true when it comes to records of electronic communication. Simply CCing a relevant party on an email, for instance, could suddenly add dozens or even hundreds of emails to the discovery process. The right eDiscovery tool can help to winnow down this massive trove of data by screening documents for relevance and eliminating redundant or immaterial information.
LegalTech developers can streamline the eDiscovery process by incorporating powerful full-text search tools that can help litigators find what they need quickly and easily. Documents can even be assigned barcodes as they’re scanned into the system so they can be routed to the proper storage location while their metadata is passed along to a database for easy reference in the future. Comparison tools can help identify differences between similar documents and avoid redundancies.
3. Privacy Protection
Although most legal teams understand the importance of protecting confidential and private information found in so many documents, they don’t always know the best way to protect it. Redacting content from printed documents can be difficult enough, but all kinds of mistakes are frequently made when it comes to digital files.
Without dedicated eDiscovery software, firms and departments often end up making classic redaction mistakes like covering text with a black box or changing the text color to match the document background. Using the right eDiscovery tools to redact sensitive content helps to ensure that firms are complying with relevant privacy laws.
When it comes to incorporating redaction features into their eDiscovery software, LegalTech developers need to think beyond the purely visual aspects of redaction. True redaction requires more than simply burning annotation markups into a document.
Any redaction tools they provide must be able to actually remove sensitive content from a file while still retaining an original, unaltered original for internal use and ESI compliance purposes. They should also give users the ability to add redaction reasons when content is removed to provide better context and justification for why it was excised from the document.
4. Compliant ESI Retention
There are complex standards in place governing the preservation of ESI to ensure that the integrity of documents is maintained. Failing to comply with those laws can result in substantial fines and penalties.
While the digitization of documents should make preserving them much easier than the hard work of maintaining physical files, the task can quickly become chaotic without a dedicated eDiscovery solution. Manually saving files to hard drives without any clear structure is a recipe for files being misplaced. Even worse, improperly converting files from one format to another could alter or erase metadata that is vital for demonstrating ESI compliance.
By building versatile document management and conversion tools into their eDiscovery tools, LegalTech developers can ensure that files are being preserved in accordance with ESI standards. Centralizing all eDiscovery content into a singular workflow makes it much easier to locate any version of a file at any time.
Once the review process is completed, it’s not uncommon for attorneys to combine many important documents into a single file for easy reference or to break a long document up into several smaller sections. Effective conversion tools should leave the original version of the file intact, along with any unredacted and unannotated versions of documents.
5. Improved Access to Data
Courtrooms and legal organizations may still rely on paper for many processes, but during the discovery process, they need to be able to manage a dizzying array of file formats as they gather documents, images, and other sources of information. Some legal teams think they will be able to “get by” relying on a patchwork of software to access this data.
Unfortunately, managing eDiscovery documents with conventional word processors, PDF readers, and email applications is a recipe for confusion and frustration. Files can be lost or altered easily, and sharing them over email can create significant security risks. Dedicated eDiscovery software provides a central hub that not only makes it easy to access and view information, but also allows legal teams to control who has permission to open or comment on files in the first place.
Developers can easily turn their LegalTech solution into a powerful, collaborative eDiscovery platform by incorporating HTML5 viewing technology. With its ability to display multiple different file formats, an HTML5 viewer allows legal teams to open and review documents, images, and other file types gathered during the discovery process without having to switch between multiple applications.
For LegalTech developers, integrating an HTML5 viewer is a simple way to quickly give users the ability to access the information they need. Since the viewer can run in a web browser, there’s no need to build a complex viewing solution from the ground up, which could pull resources away from working on other innovative LegalTech tools.
Enhance Your eDiscovery Capabilities with Accusoft
Accusoft’s collection of SDKs and APIs provide LegalTech developers with a broad range of tools that allow them to add powerful features to their applications. Whether it’s the broad HTML5 viewing, annotation, and redaction capabilities of PrizmDoc Viewer or the data capture and conversion tools offered by ImageGear, our integrations deliver the functionality to support your innovative eDiscovery tools.
Check out our whitepaper to find out how implementing the right features can help your LegalTech application capitalize on the latest trends in the eDiscovery software and services market. Talk to one of our LegalTech solutions experts today to learn how Accusoft integrations can unlock your solution’s full potential.