Five Tips for Building a Database That Meets Your E-Discovery Needs

1 - Five Tips for Building a Database That Meets Your E-Discovery Needs
2 - Identify Goals
3 - Create Security Measures
4 - Build a Workflow
5 - Be Able to Make Changes on the Fly
6 - Remember: You're Not the End User
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Five Tips for Building a Database That Meets Your E-Discovery Needs

by Darryl K. Taft

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Identify Goals

First and foremost, identify the goal of the database, which typically includes document review and receiving other documents for potential review. Goal setting impacts every step of the database building process, so it's crucial. Then, set the standards for expectations. Level set with attorneys to understand the results they're expecting to receive. Learn what information they want to capture, and how many times they'll want to review each document.

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Create Security Measures

In e-discovery, it's important to understand who has access to which documents, and which documents are confidential to the company. Keep in mind that attorneys often share documents externally with third-party experts for analysis. Ensure their access is granted, but limited to only the necessary documents.

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Build a Workflow

Once you receive a document, identify the steps it should take throughout the e-discovery life cycle. For example, litigation support receives the documents and prepares them for review, then attorneys specializing in document review perform a first pass review on the documents. Later on, a senior attorney on the case performs a second pass review on relevant documents and so on. Of course, you'll be able to adjust this workflow as the case evolves.

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Be Able to Make Changes on the Fly

Once you've developed a secure process, it's time to ensure it can be battle-tested and flexible. Cases can change at the drop of a hat, requiring new ways to categorize documents or that new users be involved in the review process. When building a database, it's impossible to prepare it for every single user need, so it's important to stay nimble and have the ability to incorporate new components. One solution: Create custom applications that will help solve ad hoc problems. For example, you might want to track pleadings and other case-related data in real time.

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Remember: You're Not the End User

It's important to collaborate and keep an open line of communication between IT and legal throughout the entire database development process. Share updates with the review team to help them understand the steps you're taking. This way, they can provide feedback on what information they need, or which users should have access to certain documents. It's also important to inform attorneys of what the technology is capable of, as they're not always aware just how far the technology can service their needs.

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