Collect. Process. Don't Repeat: Using a Managed Litigation Repository
Living with digital collections is becoming second nature to most of us these days. Photographs, recipes, music: if it can be digitally corralled, you’ve got yourself a collection. We even have digital collections—bookmarks for example—that organize digital collections!
Think about ESI amassed for litigation, a digital collection if there ever was one. What usually happens is that potentially responsive information is collected from designated custodians or data sources, processed, and then hosted in a repository for attorney review. If and when the next litigation comes along, the process is repeated from scratch, even though many of the custodians and data sources have already been collected for the previous litigation. Instead of an additive process where only new material is addressed, it becomes a duplicative one because it’s too much of a challenge to know and keep track of what’s already been collected.
Now think about iTunes. I don’t think it’s much of a leap to see how the organizational concepts of iTunes could be applied to effectively manage ESI collected for litigation. iTunes, after all, is just a centralized digital repository that can be easily managed. When I rate my favorite songs, for example, I’m creating “work product.” When I create playlists, I’m creating searches that identify music I want to gather together (read “collect for a new matter”). Once I’ve downloaded songs and grouped them, I can push them to my devices when I need them (think review workspaces). If my taste in music or mood changes (read: a new matter comes along), I can go out there and add new material into the existing digital collection without having to re-create the collection from scratch.
It if works for digital music, why shouldn’t it work for digital documents? Well, the simple answer is, it absolutely does, and frankly, it’s a bit crazy not to apply the same principles. If a company has repetitive litigation, or even just a group of custodians who are collected from frequently, why in the world wouldn’t it make sense to keep it all in one place to leverage work already done? Why go back to the well to re-collect, or re-tag or re-review for privilege? Do it once, and then store the data in a managed repository. New material can be added, if necessary, but starting over each time to do what’s been done before is a waste.
“Managed” is the key word here. At its core, a managed repository should be a litigation-ready knowledge base containing your aggregated ESI, attorney work product, and any other document intelligence procured from matter to matter. If it’s been organized properly and then intelligently managed with reuse in mind, you should be able to effectively leverage the content to get a head start on new matters, cut out the rework, bring order to chaos, boost your situational awareness for ECA and investigations, and save a truckload of money in the process.
A managed repository is a powerful solution that requires a great deal of organizational skill and planning. In the hands of the right provider, it can be leveraged for substantial dollar and time savings on collection, processing, hosting, and even review services. The time you don’t have to spend on wrangling multiple vendors, recollecting the same data, and reinventing the pricing wheel with each new matter will finally give you that free time to get that “Day at the Beach” playlist together, load up the iPod, pack up the kids, and head out on that next big matter…I mean vacation.
Selecting a provider is an important decision. What do you need to know? See below and get our latest resource: “Top 10 Tips for Selecting a Managed Litigation Repository Provider.”
Jason Richard has more than 12 years of experience in the legal services industry. As Director of E-Discovery for H5, Jason Richard’s main area of expertise is in the area of Electronic Discovery, Litigation Readiness and Data Analysis, with a focus on strategic production of electronic records in support of all phases of litigation, investigations, and litigation preparedness initiatives. Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonediscovery