Tag Archives: eDiscovery Best Practices

How to Have a Work/Life Balance in a 24/7 Working World

We hear it all the time:

“I can’t have lunch; I’m slammed.”

“I would, but I’m wrapped around the axle.”

“I can’t train the new guy; I’m too busy.”

“I can’t make the game because I have a deadline.”

And the list of excuses about work goes on and on.

Let’s face it, eDiscovery is hard. We all know the challenges of working within and servicing the litigation profession and yet, we are still here. Times are tough, data is growing, and finding the people we need on our staff is like searching for a pink unicorn.

I have learned the hard way just how demanding our industry can be. I put in the long hours, skipped time with family, worked through every vacation and just about reached my breaking point. Fortunately, I learned a few things along the way that had I known 15 years ago, my life would have been much more in balance. As a leader, I try to leverage my experience to help my team and colleagues work smarter, not harder.

My secret formula? Process + Workflow + Technology + People = Balance

First, inefficient processes are the broken foundation that creates chaos in a business such as ours. Starts and stops, single-points of failure, and relying on that one person who remembers everything is a recipe for disaster. Evaluate the processes, find the waste, eliminate unnecessary steps, and create a system that works for you. Document and distribute processes and procedures to all staff, and make sure they understand those methods. Accountability will become much easier.

You have documented processes, but what is the workflow? How many people are touching, editing, and approving a given project? Where are all the places that the project sits and waits? Automate as much as possible to ensure that the ball keeps moving even when key staff are unavailable or working on other projects. Be sure to build in reliable tracking mechanisms throughout the process to ensure that all necessary information is available to everyone.

When it comes to tracking and workflow, it is important to leverage technology solutions to keep everyone in the loop and make information available universally. Transparency in projects creates a better and stronger working environment and reduces emails and phone calls trying to figure out what is going on. A centralized system is critical to reliable processes and smart workflow.

Finally, empower the people on your team to make appropriate decisions rather than create a bottleneck by making everything go through you. Allow your employees or teammates to take full responsibility for their job and be available to help when necessary. Also, cross-train other staff or junior members of the team to create a dependable bench. Scalability is challenging to do when only a couple of people have the skills and understanding to do a specific task. Be prepared by having a diverse team that can cover for each other in the event of vacations, illness, and turnover.

Is every day going to be a perfect balance of productivity and time at home? Probably not. But by creating an environment with the right technology, efficient processes, fluid workflows, and dependable people, you’ll be capable of accomplishing so much more while still enjoying the great little moments that life will bring you.

Best Practices for Getting Documents into Trial Presentation Software

TrialDirector isn’t just a trial presentation tool. It also serves as a sort of document management system that helps you keep track of relevant case items and information throughout the whole trial process. We want to help you know how to use this and other tools to their full potential.

Business team
Take your trial presentation software to its full potential.

One of the first steps when using TrialDirector or any other trial presentation and evidence management software is to import relevant case items into whatever tool you are using. However, the information you provide along with the evidence you are importing determines whether you will have an easy or hard time as the case progresses.

Most trial presentation software use a database reference files on your computer and help you keep track of the information related to each evidence item. Following are our suggestions to consider when importing documents into the software to make your life easier as the case progresses and as you prepare for trial.

Only Bring In What You Need

First, you want to think about scaling down the number of documents you want to import. Any given case potentially has thousands, even tens of thousands, of documents. You’re not going to use every single piece of that evidence even before or during trial.

We recommend you review and sift through your case documents and choose the documents you’ll actually be working with. Then, import those relevant documents into your trial preparation and presentation software.

If it helps to think in terms of numbers, If your case has 1000 documents, you should consider only importing about 100 documents. Roughly 10%. Much more than that, and you’ll have a difficult time working around all the documents you are not using.

Scaling down in this way makes for a much simpler experience when managing and prepping your files for trial.

As an example, think about what it would take to actually search for a needle in a haystack. How would you go about it? Would start picking through the hay one strand at a time? That is what many firms are forcing themselves to do by either working with physical documents or dumping all their case files haphazardly onto their computers. But if you break up and significantly reduce the amount of hay you would have to look through, it becomes much easier to find the needle (The file you’re looking for).

And don’t worry, you can always bring in more files later if needed.

Know What Your Documents Are Before You Import

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s necessary. As we already mentioned, case loads get rather hefty. If you just dump a bunch files into your trial presentation software without really knowing what is going in there, it’s going to be that much harder to find things when you need them, especially when you’re working with limited time.

It pays to put in the work of knowing what your files are beforehand.

As you review, re-naming your documents can have just as much of an impact on your ability to find them as organizing them does.

For example, think of enthusiastic cat owners. However they got to have all those hundreds of cats, they’re here now, and the owners better have a good way of keeping track of them. That’s why the owners use simple, but creative names for each cat. That way, the owners and the cats don’t get confused when the owners call out for one of them to come.

We’ve seen some trial teams use long detailed descriptions for each of their documents. While it may feel that that will make it easier to find the documents in the future, it turns into a problem when you add 1000 other documents all with very descriptive names.

That’s like the cat owners naming each cat something like “the one with the frizzy fur, black spot, and gimp leg.” Not very efficient.

You are the cat owner. Your case documents are your cats.

We recommend you go through each document you plan to import into your trial prep tool and rename it something simple and easy to reference. The easiest thing to name each file is its exhibit number or bates number.

Team and Computer Organization

A common problem with many law firms is organizing all the files related to a case. When a firm receives images from a vendor, the firm might dump all the files they received into whatever folder they set up for the case on their computer without even looking through and organizing what they received. These folders are generally accessible to the entire firm which means all the files inside are subject to being moved around or even deleted by accident.

As mentioned before, TrialDirector uses a database to reference evidence files instead of actually housing the files in the program itself. There are several major advantages to using a database in this way, but one of the disadvantages is that if the file being referenced is moved or deleted, the database loses it and TrialDirector can’t find it.

As you’ve probably guessed or even experienced, this is a problem. Don’t get caught with your pants down in the middle of a trial.

Without the most basic organization rules, all the thousands of case files quickly become mixed up and hard to navigate. By rushing the process of getting files into a case, you are setting yourself up for a lot of headaches down the road and precious hours of wasted time.

Regardless of how well you think your firm is organized, consider the following suggestions:

  • Set some file organization rules in your firm. Even the simplest rules go a long way. Our general suggestion would be to set up your files so that you can easily know where to go to find what you’re looking for without having to dig through multiple folders just to get there.
  • Communicate the rules to everyone. Everyone involved in the case needs to know where each case is located and what is allowed to be moved around and what is not.
  • Create a separate, new case folder for each case, and only put the files related to that case into the folder.
  • Divide case files into two folders within the main case folder: Exhibits and Depositions. Dividing files into these folders makes it that much easier to find what you need quickly.
  • Copy the files to a new, separate case folder before sending them to TrialDirector or any other database or trial presentation program. Doing this will further mitigate any mistakes in moving or deleting files

This type of organization beforehand not only makes your life as a paralegal or attorney better in general, but it makes it easier when importing into trial presentation software.

Convert all your images into PDFs

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: PDFs make trial prep much easier.

Think of the PDF as a sort of universal language of all the other image file types out there.

Pretty much anyone can open a PDF file. So, if you have to give the file to the opposition or some other party in a case, you can avoid any back and forth that comes from that party not being able to open the file because you already gave them the PDF.

Sometimes courts require you to provide PDFs so you can get a head start there by converting all your files now.

PDFs are also generally easier to import and move around than other file types. They act as a sort of container. For example, one PDF file, even though it’s a single file, can hold many pages at once. So instead of having to move around or send a bunch of single page files, such as Tiffs or other image files, you can send one PDF file with all the pages contained inside.

Working with single page files carries its own set of headaches that we won’t get into detail here, but there is a little more involved when trying to get them into trial presentation software.

As an added bonus for PDFs, you have the option to reduce the file size with PDFs, making file transfers that much easier and quicker.

Conclusion

Do yourself a favor and simplify the way you work with documents by following these principles and using trial preparation and document management software.

What has helped you when using trial preparation and presentation software?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Consider participating in one of our training courses.

Plan to Plan for Trial with Trial Presentation Software

Do You Plan?

When you started law school you probably had some sort of plan. At the very least you planned to attend class, study, and graduate. Then came the bar exam which required another plan to study, prepare, and learn even more.

Have you made other plans? Run a marathon, lose weight, learn a new language, go on a safari?

Whatever the objective, whether personal or professional, it requires a plan. Some things take little planning and some take a lot.

Can you run a marathon without training first? Maybe, but it’s probably painful and there may be lasting (and negative) effects.

Can you lose 20 pounds overnight? If so, tell me how!

Is it possible to become fluent in a new language in a week? Well, this teenager did, but it isn’t the safest way.

And if you can go on a safari at this very moment, I’d like to switch places with you. But chances are you need to plan time off from work, renew your passport, find someone to watch the kids, book a flight, pack, and find a good safari guide.

It’s the same thing when you go to trial. Do you have a plan for that?

Do You Plan for Trial?

So, maybe it’s a little early and a trial is still a few months away. A few motions are pending and there’s a chance the case will settle. You don’t need to prepare for trial, right?

Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Team Planning Meeting
Trial Presentation Software can help you

Everything you do on your case is preparation for something: you prepare pleadings and interrogatories; you prepare for depositions and hearings; you prepare for settlement negotiations. What about trial?

Start using trial presentation software like TrialDirector for more than presentation – use it to prepare and you’ll be ready to present.

With a tool like TrialDirector, you can load your case data and start organizing with workbooks, searching documents, and creating exhibit lists in Microsoft Word. Then generate reports in PDF that can be emailed or copied into court filings. These tools will help when you ultimately go to trial but can also be leveraged early for settlement talks, analysis, and strategy.

Wait, TrialDirector Is for More Than Presentation?

Yes! The best trial presentation software does more than present. When you start using TrialDirector before trial you help yourself and your case. Let me tell you how:

First, today the pressure is off, so you are learning TrialDirector while you work and prepare. When you take things in stages, they are much easier to understand and absorb.

Second, while you’re learning TrialDirector, you’re reviewing the evidence. Better yet, while you’re reviewing the evidence, you are learning TrialDirector. Here’s a quick example:

  • Do you need all documents regarding ethylene glycol in once place? Make a workbook, call it Ethylene Glycol, and file any documents in it.
  • Want to give these to an ethylene glycol expert? No problem, simply export the workbook to a PDF that you can print or email.

These are pretty simple things to do, but when you’re under the gun, the easiest things can seem overwhelming. When you start using TrialDirector for more than just presentation, you’ll be able to put it to use early and to your advantage.

Third, all the organization you do in TrialDirector today will help you prepare tomorrow: your Ethylene Glycol workbook also functions as a presentation folder so you don’t need to recreate it for trial purposes.

(A quick note: Workbooks are one of the easiest and most useful TrialDirector functions. Make as many as you need and name them anything you want. Also, the same document can be filed in multiple workbooks!)

TrialDirector is a three-birds-with-one-stone program. Actually, it’s a stone for many, many birds, but we want to keep this brief. And please note, we do not advocate violence against birds or any other creature. Only idioms.

What Should I Do?

Like vacation planning, living healthfully, and learning a new skill, using trial technology needs planning too.

Get TrialDirector now, before trial. Make your life easier and use it to plan and prepare for trial. Start loading your data. If you aren’t sure how, the time to learn is before the trial time-crunch. Right now, you have the luxury of time. Maybe not an abundance of time but, probably more now than when trial is one week or one month away. The urgency and stress of an impending trial date aren’t looming over you.

Also, consider attending a TrialDirector University training course. Extra time will be something you don’t have when the calendar flips to trial month.

What tools do you use to prepare for trial or other events in a case?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website.

4 Tips to Hold the Audience’s Attention During Your Next Trial Presentation

With the internet at our fingertips, it seems like people, in general, can’t hold their attention as long as they used to. Most can’t go a few seconds without pulling out their phone to check the latest updates, pics, or videos. These same people are called on to decide fate in a courtroom as a jury where they’re expected to sit in a pew and listen to hours of presentation and testimony.

It’s rare for any of them to want to be there, let alone take the initiative to focus on the task at hand for an extended period.

Woman Using Phone
In this age of tech, people are easily distracted and have difficulty focusing their attention.

Any given case can be important to the people involved with it directly, but to the people coming in on the jury, it’s not really part of their world. Jurors have their own worries and life issues that don’t stop just because they were selected to be part of a case.

So how do you get and keep a jury’s or any audience’s attention?

There’s a lot of general presentation tips out there, but we want to talk about things that work particularly well when in the courtroom, especially when using trial presentation software.

1. Put Yourself in the Audience’s Shoes

Have you thought about where the people you’re presenting to are coming from? Sure, you may have been part of the jury selection process. But that was to determine what impressions a particular jury member would bring with them into the case.

Attempting to find and cater your presentation to your audience’s interests provides a clear direction for you as you prepare. Otherwise, your shooting in the dark and hoping something sticks.

If you don’t have a team of jury consultants to do it for you, here are some examples of questions you might ask yourself as you prepare your presentation and witness examinations:

  • Where do the members of the jury come from?
  • What about their origins influence their tastes?
  • What influences their decisions?
  • What are they more prone to listen to?

As very general examples, if your audience is mostly coming from a small town, perhaps they appreciate a more “personal” approach. Maybe they want to hear more about the story or character of the people involved in the case. Or, perhaps they would be more likely to listen if you just presented yourself while limiting any other visual aids you might bring in.

On the other hand, if members of the jury are from a large, modern city, maybe they would be more interested in hearing the direct facts and would appreciate you just getting to the point without tip-toeing around.

In either situation, maybe your think it would be better to surprise the jury and get their attention by doing something they are not used to.

The point is to think about where your audience is coming from and mold the tools and content you use to fit their compulsions and interests.

No two presentations should be the same.

2. Repeat Repeat Repeat

In any presentation, if you want your audience to remember what you’re talking about, one of the best tools in your arsenal is to say and show the thing you want them to remember several times.

There’s quite a bit of science to back up the power of repetition. Basically, every time you let your audience see, hear and, best of all, feel what you want, you strengthen the synapses firing in their brain around that thing.

You should know what you want your audience to focus on well before trial starts. In fact, you should decide what that thing is very near to the case outset and then build your strategy around it. Doing this not only helps with knowing what you want your jury to focus on, but it can make you much more efficient in your case all the way to trial.

Don’t forget the tools that help you with repetition. With trial presentation software, you can quickly display items you want to keep fresh in the jury’s mind any time you want. No digging through folders and paper to try to find the right document or image. You can set it up to where all you have to do is type in a number on your computer and the document, image, or video you want will immediately appear on a big screen.

Then, remember that you can leave it up there. Think about how valuable it is having an image on a large screen for a long period of time. The jury won’t forget it. As you speak they can look and see exactly what you’re talking about. You can zoom in on the image, mark it to focus the jury’s eyes on where you want them to go, and even have the image show side by side with something else that you want to show.

Then, if you ever want to show it again, just type it in and it appears just like it did the first time. We cannot overstate how powerful using document management and trial presentation software to supplement your presentations.

3. Set the Tone

No matter what you’re presenting, you should decide how you want your audience to feel. Then, create an environment with your presentation to create that setting where they are most likely to feel what you want.

For example, if you want your audience to feel sad, you may want to use a softer voice as you tell a story and present accompanying images.

If you want your audience to feel excited, you could talk faster or create a rapid-fire presentation where your audience is shown pictures quickly one after the other.

In the end, just try to make sure that what you are doing in your presentation isn’t hindering the tone you need to get your point across.

4. Use Attention Getters

They call them attention getters for a reason. You don’t want to bore your audience by talking for a long time, so sprinkle some flavor throughout your time in front of them.

When working with a jury, litigators cannot interact with their audience like presenters in normal presentations can, but the attention and focus strategies for normal presentations can still apply. They just have to be tailored for trial.

Use the following presentation mechanisms to put a little variety and spice into your presentations and examinations.

  • Tell an engaging story
  • Use a rhetorical question that makes them think more critically about the case
  • State a shocking or interesting fact the audience may not be familiar with
  • Use a quote from a prominent figure or even something from your case that illustrates your point and sets the mood
  • Show an enthralling photo or video from the case
  • Use a prop or creative visual aid that you can hold or use to demonstrate what you’re talking about

Conclusion

Think about what you would want a presenter to do to keep you engaged with what they are presenting.

Try taping yourself as your present, then go back and watch how you work. Do you bore yourself? Do you talk in a monotone? Do you have good eye-contact? Are you talking too much without anything meaningful to supplement what you’re saying?

Television and movies these days are extremely engaging. Why do you think that is? One reason is that three seconds doesn’t usually go by before something exciting or unexpected happens in the scene. Directors and filmmakers are constantly developing strategies to hold the audience’s attention. It might be a good idea for you to take some notes on how they do it.

How do you keep your audience’s attention when performing a presentation? What strategies have worked for different types of audiences?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Consider participating in one of our training courses.

5 File Naming Tips to Improve Organization in Document Management Software

In our experience, one of the main things many trial teams have trouble with is naming case files on the computer. The names they use for their files are too descriptive and long.

For example, many attorneys use either a short or long description, sometimes even full sentences, as a file name as seen below.

One descriptive file name
One descriptive file name. Not so bad, right?

A descriptive name may make sense at first since it tells exactly what the file is, but when you’re working with hundreds or thousands of documents as is common today, those descriptive names get cluttered and make things difficult to find. See for yourself.

Full list of descriptive file names
A full list of descriptive file names. Ew.

It’s like all the words are mashing together. There’s no standard here. Some files could get named incorrectly. You may forget what you named a certain file, and now it’s lost with everything else. And trying to find what you need here, especially when you’re trying to find it fast, would be needlessly time-consuming.

Case organization and trial preparation programs are great tools for streamlining document review and presentation workflows. However, if the files you’re putting into them are not identifiable in simple and manageable ways, using this technology only makes the process more frustrating.

Consider the following tips when receiving, scanning, or creating case files on your computer. They will help you make life easier for you as the case progresses.

1. Know what your documents are before you put them into your working case folder

This may seem like an obvious one, but many attorneys don’t really know what they are copying into a case folder until they go back to look at them later. For example, a lawyer or paralegal may receive several gigabytes worth of documents from the opposition and just dump all those directly into their computer’s hard drive without glancing at them first.

When you do this and start working on a case strategy, there’s not a frame of reference for where to begin.

It’s better to take some time to understand and review exactly what you’re working with at a general level. What file types are you working with? How are things currently organized and how can it be better?

One option is to create a bulk folder where you can dump all the case files. Then, go through and review each one, pulling the relevant documents you want into a different “working” case folder. Doing this separates the important items from the fluff, and now you know anything in the working case folder is at the very least semi-important to your strategy.

While you review and move the items as explained above, you can rename each file, which leads us to our next few suggestions.

2. Keep it simple

When it comes right down to it, you need to name your documents in a way that makes the most sense for you. However, think about how you can make it a little easier on your future self as you reference and search for the items you need.

You want to name your case items in a way that you can know what they are at a glance, and you also want to make it easy on yourself when you and the opposition are referencing each item during negotiations or trial.

A common file naming practice is using a descriptive phrase to help identify the item. We said before how long descriptions can be troublesome when working with several hundred files, but even short, two or three-word files names are troublesome, because all those words still get cluttered together.

Also, keep in mind that most any organization software will sort your files alphanumerically. So, when you try to organize your files according to descriptive phrases using technology, your files may end up out of order, or at least not sorted in the way you want.

When using software, there are usually other properties or fields where you can enter more descriptive identifiers. Save the file name for more orderly and systematic identification as described in the next tip.

3. Rename everything with a standard naming convention

Yes, you read that right. Rename everything, and use a standard, alphanumeric system.

Maybe this seems a little drastic at first, but if done correctly, it pays dividends down the road when you’re referencing these items with your own team and the other parties involved in the case.

We would suggest you simply number your case items using leading zeroes as shown below.

Leading zeroes.
An example of leading zeroes.

The reason you should use leading zeroes is that without them, your case items may get disorganized. Case organization tools for the most part use databases to reference your case items. Databases usually do not read whole numbers, which means that the database orders numbers by whatever digit comes first.

For example, if I have 10 exhibits in my case, and I named each exhibit by its corresponding number, it would appear in the database as follows.

Whole numbers
An example of what a database would look like with whole numbers.

Notice the “10” exhibit is out of order right below “1”.

The basic rule for using leading numbers is that you use the same number of digits as the total number of your documents. So, if your case only has 34 documents, use two digits in your numbering system (e.g “01”, “02”, “03”, etc.). You can then go up to a total of 99 documents before things get out of order.

If your case has 335 documents, use three digits in your numbering system (e.g. “001”, “002”, “003”, etc.). You can then go up to a total of 999 documents before things get out of order.

What if you have several images that are pages of the same document? While we do recommend you use PDFs so that you don’t have to worry so much about this, you can use another set of leading zeroes for each page of the document like this:

  • 001-001 <– Page 1 of document 001
  • 001-002 <– Page 2 of document 001
  • 001-003 <– Page 3 of document 001

And so on.

There are some situations where you may want to modify this system. For example, you may be really attached to that descriptive phrase for each file. In that case, enter the exhibit number before the phrase like this “001-False Claims”.

Though your files may still get cluttered, at least you can reference them easily with other because of the numbers preceding the phrase.

What if the opposition is using the same naming convention as you? That means you’ll probably run into two different files being named the same thing. In that case, enter the initials of the party responsible for the documents before the numbers like this, “DX001”. That way, it’s easier to distinguish between two documents with the same file number.

There are countless ways to use the suggestions above to fit your own needs. Whatever naming convention you decide to use, apply it to everything. That way, when you need to find something months or years down the road, there’s no surprises and you can quickly find what you’re looking for.

If you decide not to go with your own numbering system, you might want to follow the next tip.

4. Use exhibit numbers or bates numbers

This tip is much more self-explanatory. Name all your items after an exhibit number or bates number.

The benefit of naming your documents this way is that it makes the transition between discovery, review, preparation, and trial so much easier. By using either of these numbers, you don’t have to rename any files as you transition to each phase.

You can do this even if you don’t think you will go to trial and it will still benefit you.

Now, let’s just stop for a moment. We understand you might have some other concerns about our tips so far. Let’s look at the next tip first.

5. Use the other properties of a document for more familiar, long-form identifiers

You might be saying to yourself, “Now all I have are numbers. None of these numbers really help me know what’s inside of a document without opening it.”

Yes, that’s true. The tips we’ve covered so far are for easier organization and reference. For identifying what is inside a file, or getting a summary of the file’s contents, we suggest you use other identification properties that case organization tools provide.

For example, in TrialDirector, you can use the Common Name field to enter a descriptive phrase to any file you want. So, if you and your team usually refer to an important letter in the case as “The Manifesto” you can enter that as the Common Name and quickly find it that way.

The beauty of doing it this way is that though your team may refer to a document that way, that’s not the way the court refers to it. But since you followed the tips above, finding and providing the right document with the right trial exhibit number is no problem.

Compound that with all the other documents you’re working with on your case, and you’ve saved quite a bit of time.

Conclusion

Implementing these suggestions makes it that much easier to organize, reference, and even import your documents into an evidence and case management system.

Properly naming your case files is essential as you work through the entire case process. Some attorneys often don’t put the right time and attention into naming their files, thinking that they’ll remember where the important files are, or that it’ll be easy to find them later.

That’s all fine, up until they realize that the case documents keep stacking up and suddenly they can’t remember what they named that really important image and now it’s mixed in with all the other documents, images, and videos you added to the case over time.

Often, by neglecting to put time into naming files properly, you’re making it so much harder to save time and reduce headaches down the road.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website.

How do you name your case files? What strategy works best for you?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

 

5 Must-Follow Best Practices for Implementing New eDiscovery Technology

new ediscovery technology

There’s no question any organization can benefit from new eDiscovery technology. However, it’s still important to keep in mind this requires more than just making a purchase. To fully reap all the benefits (and avoid disrupted productivity), there are best practices that an organization should keep in mind when bringing in the latest technology.

Because organizations today vary so much in size and scope, we will discuss a few of these best practices from a high level. There might be one or more practices specific to your own organization, but the following concepts are universal.

1. Outline Your Objectives

For starters, simply replacing your old products is not an adequate objective. Similarly, it’s not sufficient to implement new eDiscovery technology, then send out a company-wide email to announce it, and then hope your team adopts the new software. Instead, apply a project-management approach. Set tangible goals to define your success, e.g.:

  • Check Workflow Compatibility
  • Deploy Role-Specific Training
  • Perform Comprehensive Testing
  • Ensure Proper Migration

When you’re measuring concrete objectives against tangible metrics, determining success is less of a mystery. It also makes setting future objectives, which might depend on technology integration, much easier.

2. Check Workflow Compatibility

Most organizations are unique in the way individuals go about doing their jobs. New eDiscovery technology is usually deigned to mirror, from somewhat of a high level, these workflows. But don’t assume the technology on your short list will line up perfectly with your own workflow.

Many customer-focused providers — Ipro Tech, for example — will deploy professional teams to your location to ensure a successful integration. This can save you countless hours and resources, as it’s obviously a disruptive process to re-define current roles in order to accommodate new technology.

3. Deploy Role-Specific Training

Your team is made up of individuals with different responsibilities, and their day-to-day experiences with your new technology will vary greatly. It’s important to tailor training specifically to the objectives and challenges these individuals will face.

For example, it’s very unlikely someone in your administrative group will need to troubleshoot database connectivity. Conversely, nobody on your IT staff is going to be responsible for syncing up Bates numbers. Don’t dedicate too much time to training individuals beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, and don’t leave anyone with a knowledge gap that will hamper their productivity.

4. Perform Comprehensive Testing

Just like sending that companywide email to announce your technology launch, it’s not adequate to simply open up access to users and ask them to hunt for bugs. Instead you should employ a comprehensive search for specific shortcomings by applying established testing methods:

  • Organizational Testing — Audit your organization to ensure necessary resources are available, such as online training and technical manuals, people well versed in the new technology, and a forum or wiki for sharing information.
  • Feature Testing — Before you add to or modify your new technology, run features through likely scenarios to ensure users are prepared to have them in workflows.
  • Performance Testing — It’s important to be aware of your technology’s limitations, so deliberately attempt to max out its performance to discover those limits.

Testing, obviously, prepares your organization for any missteps that might occur once your technology is fully implemented. I can’t overstate how important it is to clear these obstacles in testing environment, rather than having them stumble through them during your real-world operations.

5. Ensure Proper Migration

Once your previous technology is completely phased out, it’s going to be very difficult (if not impossible) to recover any data phased out with it. Gain peace of mind you’re retaining any data you’ll eventually need by performing a full-scope migration for new eDiscovery technology. Think of this as a checklist reminding you to gather up important items like:

  • Historical Data — This often-archived data, when re-examined, can guide future efforts through insights into activity, contextual factors and trends.
  • User Information — Avoid duplicating setup tasks by checking information related to how individuals work within an environment.
  • Work Product — Perhaps most importantly, protect that critical data prepared specifically ahead of litigation.

With these data sources checked off, you can more confidently sunset the technology you’ve been using without worrying that critical resources are vanishing alongside it.

Get Answers Today

If you have any questions about the material in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact Ipro Tech. An experienced eDiscovery professional is standing by ready to deliver the answers you need.