Mention to anyone that I provide independent advice on eDiscovery software options, I inevitably get asked: “So, what is the best eDiscovery software”?
There is not a simple answer.
There is no ‘one size fits all approach’ when it comes to eDiscovery software. Each product has slightly different features, with some better suited to certain matters more than others.
No eDiscovery solution has a magic button to do all your discovery requirements. Maybe one day, although not anytime soon, however much some sales people may say they do.
Today’s escalating data volumes and the rising cost of managing that data, make it increasingly important to use the right eDiscovery software to tackle the discovery process. Your eDiscovery software should help you to work smarter, reducing the time-consuming and costly part of the discovery process.
Don’t shape your practices solely around the capabilities of your software
Many firms are still forced to shape their litigation practices around the capabilities of their existing eDiscovery software, instead of finding a solution that complements how they work. How they work can be considerably impacted by the limitations of their existing software.
Some common frustrations can include:
- The more documents we put in, the more it struggles;
- We are restricted by how many people can use it (and new users are an additional cost);
- I want to load documents without having to use a third party;
- The software is not intuitive, especially compared to other technology;
- I have to pay more to access any advanced features; and
- The software was great when we started, but we now need to do more.
Too often I see firms persist with existing software when its capabilities are limited.
You don’t have to.
Some of these frustrations may have been acceptable 10 years ago, but not today as there are fantastic options available.
Invest the time
To start with, invest time to find the right eDiscovery software that will assist you and how you work.
I am the first to acknowledge that deciding on the right software solution should be secondary to ensuring you have the right practices in place to complement how you work. Once you have established this, it is then about selecting the right software to suit.
Consider what you want to achieve with your choice of eDiscovery software.
You do not always need the most powerful tool, but sometimes that additional functionality will be exactly what you do need. It is about finding an option that suits your specific requirements – this may be a completely different product to what the firm has in the office next door.
There are solutions to meet all these needs.
Great eDiscovery options available
It has never been a better time to embrace eDiscovery software as the options available are greatly superior, intuitive and cheaper than what was available only a few years back.
Globally, eDiscovery software options are booming and in New Zealand options include (but not limited to), Relativity, Ringtail, Everlaw, EDT and LawFlow.
As most eDiscovery solutions are hosted (or ‘pay as you go’), there is no internal outlay by your firm. The monthly cost can usually be disbursed to your client, like other associated costs. The justification is that by using superior technology you will be able to be more efficient and productive, while saving what your client has to spend on discovery.
You always have the flexibility to shop around.
Evaluating other options, and then changing software is a very simple process, which can quickly help simplify your entire discovery process.
Evaluate eDiscovery options every 12-24 months
Even if you are currently satisfied with your existing eDiscovery software, it is worth exploring what else is available.
Find out what others are using – is it giving them an advantage over you?
To ensure you are equipping yourself with the most effective tools, you should evaluate your eDiscovery software options every 12-24 months. Like most technology, so much can change – and quickly – with eDiscovery software. Your requirements change, the options available change, and costs can go up or down.
In your evaluation process it is important to seek impartial advice to help you evaluate your best options – not just from those selling the product.
At the end of each matter evaluate what worked well with your software, and what didn’t. Often what didn’t work well, or the limitations of a product, can be the justification to looking at an option with advanced functionality on your next matter.
Check out other options today
You may have a preferred option that works for most matters, and then explore another option when the requirements necessitate. I would encourage everyone to have an alternative option ready to go if required.
To get started, you could trial another option on a new matter, while still using your existing software on current matters. This gives you the ability to ‘test drive’ how it works and if it might be appropriate to consider using it for future matters.
Best of all, if you don’t like a product, or it doesn’t work for you – you can easily move on.
Finding the best eDiscovery solution is not easy. However, if you are prepared to regularly evaluate the options available, you should be able to find eDiscovery solutions that suit your requirements and help simplify your discovery process.
Andrew King firstname.lastname@example.org is the founder of E-Discovery Consulting. His objective is to provide independent advice on any aspect of the eDiscovery process, or managing the practical aspects from start to finish.