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By Chris Dahl, Esq.

Published on Mon, January 2, 2012

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Why Would I Reuse Data?

Simply put—to save money. Reusing attorney decisions and other work across cases can lead to huge cost savings for corporations.  The three biggest cost savings involve leveraging privilege decisions, leveraging responsiveness decisions, and reusing production images. I will explain each in turn.

Leveraging privilege decisions carries the most savings potential.  When a law firm makes a privilege claim on a document for one case, that privilege claim should carry
through to all cases.  Conversely, when a law firm reviews a document for privilege and produces it, deciding that the document is not privileged, generally, there should be no privilege claim for the document in other cases.  Thus, leveraging a document’s privilege review history from prior cases eliminates the need for another privilege review in the current case.  This saves corporations the time and money associated with the most expensive and slowest type of review—privilege review.

Other potential time and money savings opportunities arise in cases that have similar substance, for example, a series of cases in numerous jurisdictions regarding similar claims, or investigations regarding the same regulated subject matter.  Carrying from case to case decisions based on subject matter can either eliminate subsequent review, or provide context for subsequent review which can help lawyers arrive to review decisions more quickly.

Another potential savings lies with production images.  Linking documents between  cases allows an ediscovery service provider to leverage imaging work between cases.  Because each document only needs to be imaged one time, corporations can see large reductions in imaging time and costs.

Sounds Easy, What’s the Catch?

In order to leverage work across cases, the data and the decisions about the data (i.e. work product) have to be in the same place.  In today’s ediscovery market, this poses a
challenge: no ediscovery software handles the full end-to-end ediscovery lifecycle, and no ediscovery software handles a portfolio of cases on a client level (or at least no ediscovery software handles these things well).  Tracking the work done across various tools, which don’t speak the same language, can be very difficult and time consuming.

This issue is often compounded when large corporations do not have a preferred  ediscovery service provider.  Corporations often have many law firms managing their litigation portfolios and allow each law firm to manage processing, review, and production.  In that model, it is nearly impossible to leverage decisions across cases with documents scattered across many different law firms, service providers, and, consequently, ediscovery processing tools.

So How Do I Leverage Data Across Multiple Cases?

Get organized

Streamline your ediscovery by developing a repeatable workflow and asking all your outside counsel to follow that workflow.   Work with your outside counsel and ediscovery service provider(s) to determine what that workflow should be.

Partner with someone with expertise

Sophisticated ediscovery service providers create and utilize proprietary software to solve these problems.  This software links documents between various third party ediscovery tools and enhances the current leading ediscovery tools.  In addition, this proprietary software is platform-agnostic so it can adapt to new technology—a necessary characteristic in this constantly changing ediscovery landscape.  A seamless integration between tools allows for clients to benefit from the latest and greatest ediscovery software, and lays the groundwork for creating workflows and structure across cases.

Corporations which contract directly with a preferred ediscovery service provider are in a much better place to leverage valuable decisions and processing work across cases.
A single service provider can work with a corporation to create structure and workflows across the entire litigation portfolio, positioning the corporation for a successful and more efficient discovery period on every case.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with reusing data across cases.  Please contact me at cdahl@lhediscovery.com to hear more about how Lighthouse is attacking these challenges today.

About the Author
Chris Dahl, Esq.

Vice President of Product Development and Consulting

As the Vice President of Product Development and Consulting, Chris is responsible for bringing together product management and engineering to create an end-to-end product development approach, delivering innovative, best-in-class products designed to meet our clients’ critical and emerging needs. Chris’s consulting team works directly with Lighthouse’s clients to implement these innovative products, as well as ediscovery best practices and technology behind the corporate firewall. Together the teams represent the innovation engine which drives many of the world-class solutions Lighthouse brings to its clients.

Chris has more than a decade of experience as a technical leader in ediscovery. From 2003 to 2010, he worked for the law firm of K&L Gates in its eDiscovery Analysis and Technology (e-DAT) Practice Group. As a Lead Analyst for e-DAT, Chris's primary responsibilities included developing solutions for complex technical workflows surrounding the collection, processing, and review of electronically stored information for hundreds of cases and investigations. During that time, Chris also served as Board Member of FTI Consulting's Attenex Technical Working Group and participated in product development with a number of other ediscovery software companies.

Since joining Lighthouse in 2011, Chris has led a number of the company’s organizations, spoke at thought leadership events, consulted with many fortune 50 corporations, on-boarded and invented new ediscovery technology, and participated in the development of enterprise ediscovery software in enterprise platforms such as Office 365.

Chris received his undergraduate degree from Whitman College and his law degree from Seattle University School of Law. During law school, Chris served as Judicial Extern to the Honorable James L. Robart, United States District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington.