The eDiscovery process requires agility, collaboration, organization, and efficient project management. A holistic, outcome-based approach to eDiscovery project management is crucial for any law firm, legal department, or attorney. Adopting methods like the EDRM model (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) and other PMP principles gives your team a streamlined framework for large-scale and complex eDiscovery projects while helping to reduce costs and mitigate the risk of errors.
In this article, we explore what eDiscovery project management is, why EDRM is important, and review legal project management software tools.
What is eDiscovery Project Management?
eDiscovery project management is the process of managing how legal teams identify, collect, and organize electronic documents. These electronic documents can include emails, legal documents, presentations, databases, voicemail, audio and video files, social media, and websites. A single discovery process can produce hundreds of gigabytes (GB) of data (PMI) that legal teams must sift through.
Effective project management and workflows are necessary so teams can move quickly to identify key insights that can be pertinent to early case strategy.
Processing Electronic Documents for eDiscovery
eDiscovery management can be complex because of the sheer volume of electronic data being processed at any one time. Electronic documents are more dynamic than hard copies and contain hidden data that must be processed.
This hidden data includes things like: (H4)
- Metadata such as file properties
- Time-date stamps
- Author information
- Recipient information
Once the data has been identified by parties on both sides of the legal case, any relevant documentation, including hard copies, can be placed under a legal hold. A legal hold will preserve the information so it cannot be modified, deleted, erased, or otherwise destroyed. It also helps to eliminate any claims of data spoiling or tampering with evidence.
Then that relevant data can be hosted in a secure environment, accessible to reviewers who code documents, usually paralegals, and contract attorneys. Sometimes, the documents are converted to other formats like TIFF or PDF, and edits are made to the non-relevant information.
The main aim of eDiscovery is to produce a core volume of evidence for litigation that can be made defensible.
EDRM Helps eDiscovery Project Managers Be More Efficient
There are a large number of tasks associated with project discovery. The Project Manager (PM) oversees the eDiscovery process and is responsible for creating project plans, creating budgets and schedules, identifying required resources, and implementing a number of frameworks, like the EDRM model. They also use technology to streamline the process. Legal teams must employ eDiscovery project managers with specific knowledge and skill sets to process electronic documents.
Your eDiscovery project managers must have:
- Technical knowledge and skills to review electronic document metadata
- Knowledge about your client´s policies and practices
- Knowledge about the litigation process and the rules of civil procedure
- Expertise in search technology, techniques, and strategies
- Project Management skills and experience, preferably with an agile management approach
Even litigation or lawsuits that require fast-paced discovery can mean managing lots of data, making project management a full-time job.
Legal Project Management Software
Project management tools assist lawyers to streamline and automate their project management workflows. If you don´t have a Project Manager, there are non-legal software tools out there that can help such as:
Asana is a great work management tool based on the Kanban board system. You can visualize workflows step-by-step, and break down complex projects into actionable tasks. You can create and assign tasks to specific individuals as well.
Trello is a similar software tool to Asana, and stores information in the cloud. Each board can be customized with different columns so that staff members can track or manage how a case develops. Communication is shared across a whole team.
This software is a popular choice for attorneys and is useful because information can be captured for legal research and productivity tasks.
Trialpad is a popular iPad presentation app that is also a project management application. This tool allows lawyers to organize and manipulate documents in order to present them in the courtroom.
Fortunately, due to new technologies, every aspect of the legal industry can be streamlined and become more efficient with a designated system set in place.
That said, many lawyers still do not use project management tools for eDiscovery or otherwise. Lawyers often lack the knowledge or training in the tool, and many have a fear of security or data breaches. There are costs associated with eDiscovery Project Management, but streamlining project management is crucial. By employing the right legal project management software or project management team, you can reduce your overall eDiscovery cost, identify insights sooner, and free up resources.
UnitedLex Streamlines eDiscovery Project Management
If you are a law firm or legal department, UnitedLex can help with your eDiscovery Project Management strategy as well as provide Litigation and Investigation solutions. Our eDiscovery project managers are experienced with streamlining this process and creating cost-effective management solutions.
UnitedLex is a technology and legal services company committed to delivering full-scale Digital Legal Transformation. The world’s most forward-thinking law departments rely on the company’s expertise in over 25 global jurisdictions. Founded in 2006, the team includes 3,000 legal, engineering, and technology professionals with major operations in 18 countries. For more information, read more about our eDiscovery Project Management and see how our litigation and investigation teams can help you optimize each step of the eDiscovery process.