In eDiscovery, good processing decisions early on can make a big difference. The collection is done and you finally have the data. Now what? What’s the best way to tackle processing without breaking a sweat, the bank, or your timeline?
Alongside early case assessment (ECA), this phase of eDiscovery presents an opportunity to undertake a defensible reduction of data and pass along only the material that will ultimately be necessary to review. Here are a few tips that may help.
Tip #1: Just because it’s been collected
doesn’t mean you have to process it.
Stop and think about what you’re after.
• Focus ﬁrst on user-created content.
• Exclude obviously non-relevant ﬁles early on
(e.g., system ﬁles, program ﬁles, Windows folders,
other system-related data.)
Tip #2: Be prepared to recalibrate.
Litigation is always evolving.
Take into account:
• Was the collection early and broad?
More may be known now.
• Has the focus of the matter changed?
• Have custodians been eliminated or added?
• Has the timeline changed?
• Identify high-priority custodians.
• Only include data that ﬁts the timeline.
• Zero in on email content.
Tip #3: Prioritize the data.
Reviewers can work on more relevant
content while you supplement the data.
Try an ECA workﬂow to limit data and save
time and money downstream.
• Use a DeNIST hash list to identify and remove
common system ﬁles.
• Filter by ﬁle type and date range to eliminate
data that’s out of scope.
• Eliminate “junk,” such s company email blasts.
• Dedupe and use email threading, if the
• Keyword cull, if you know enough and have
Tip #4: Reduce, reduce, reduce.
Tip #5: Avoid blind (and costly) OCR.
Only OCR pages that matter.
• Target image types that are likely to yield
quality text, like TIFFS and non-searchable
• Consider letting those with non-usable text go.
• You can always run OCR on other image types
later, if necessary.
Tip #6: Know what you’re leaving behind.
• Use random sampling to review excluded data.
• Use data landscape reporting to reveal suspicious
• Check a ﬁlename list to see if there’s anything of
interest from source locations.
• Consider treating processing exceptions as pass-
throughs for reviewers, just in case.
• Keep all processing content live so you can return
quickly if scope changes.
Rest easy by taking a few
Tip #7: Leverage expertise.
• Don’t underestimate the knowledge and
ability of eDiscovery experts to provide guidance.
• Work with a vendor at each stage for less stressful,
more efﬁcient, and more defensible engagement.
You don’t have to go it alone!
Erika Namnath is the Associate Director of
Technical Services within the eDiscovery Group at
H5. She focuses on litigation support services
including media management, processing,
imaging, and production.
Erika is writing a series of articles about eDiscovery
processing, hosting and production, featured on
H5’s Blog, True North.