You may already know that there are alternatives to the “classic” eDiscovery process. One of these alternatives is an Early Case Assessment (ECA). An ECA can be an extremely beneficial first step, allowing you to quickly identify key information and potential evidence at the onset of a legal matter, which can be leveraged to guide case strategy.
With an initial deeper understanding of the data, we can make reasonable considerations of the case’s liability and projected costs and consider if this case is worth going to trial or if a settlement is an appropriate option. Not only can this approach help guide your initial case strategy but is a cost-effective option leading up to Discovery, allowing us to refine our scope and define and refine our key custodians, key words, etc.
What Is Early Case Assessment?
There’s no doubt that the early phases of Discovery are the most critical. By using an ECA workflow in the initial phases of Discovery, you can refine vast volumes of data and extract the key facts of your case immediately for review before committing to hosting your entire dataset and the associated costs that come along with that. By refining and analyzing your dataset, we can make reasonable, cost-effective considerations of the case’s liability and projected costs and consider if this case is worth going to trial or if a settlement is an appropriate option. Costs can be significantly reduced by analyzing a smaller subset of data initially, rather than going through an entire collection of all your data only to find out that you don’t need to go to trial.
If you do however decide to go to trial and move to formal Discovery, the work product from your ECA has already helped you refine your data set, with key custodians, key words and documents initially defined. Your data will be easier to work throughout the case since you will have already limited the number of documents that need to be reviewed. You can now also make more informed decisions from the meet-and-confer through the life of the case, keeping your scope defined and costs contained.
Early Case Assessment with RelativityOne
RelativityOne provides a simple Early Case Assessment option, allowing you to access your data in the same workspace interface you’re familiar with but at significantly reduced cost and a few limitations.
Initial stages of an Early Case Assessment in RelativityOne may include:
Analyzing key words and evaluating your data
Searching data that may be potentially relevant
Refining data to be promoted for review
Presenting your findings to outside counsel
Building your eDiscovery budget and timeline
RelativityOne’s ECA workflow integrates seamlessly through your eDiscovery, allowing you to scale up and down as needed with RelativityOne’s suite of tools with collection, processing, review, and production capabilities. This allows you to facilitate the whole process all in one platform, keeping your data and work product centralized throughout the life of the case.
Is Early Case Assessment Right for You?
When considering an ECA workflow, it’s important to determine what your goals, timelines and budget are and what questions are you looking to answer. Some considerations may be: What deadlines has the court put upon us? Is this something we can manage in house or need to pull in an outside vendor? What is the liability? What are the costs going to be? How much of this data is relevant to the merits of the litigation?
One of the major benefits that you may find from using an ECA tool is that you are able to calculate risk prior to putting documents through a review platform. Nowadays, there is more online data than ever, and it can be difficult and time-consuming to cull down documents on your own without a tool to help you. The advantage of using an ECA tool is that you can eliminate non-relevant data and focus on the facts to determine the potential route and outcome of your case. ECA can be a more cost-effective way to start your discovery at significantly reduced cost, using a reduced amount of data to gain insights into the direction of your case.
Considering using an ECA workflow in your next case? Contact one of our expert Project Advisors for a free consultation!
Acorn is a legal data consulting firm that specializes in AI and Advanced Analytics for litigation applications, while providing rigorous customer service to the eDiscovery industry. Acorn primarily works with large regional, midsize national and boutique litigation firms. Acorn provides a high-touch, customized litigation support services with a heavy emphasis on seamless communications. For more information, please visit www.acornls.com.