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3 Ways e-Discovery Teams Can Spot Spring on Its Way

Sam Bock

A week ago, it was a sunny 60 degrees here in Chicago. Everywhere I went, someone was adding to the murmurs of mirth: “Make sure you get out there during lunch and enjoy this beautiful day!”

Yesterday, of course, it was snowing again.

At the beginning of every winter, we midwesterners are stunned by just how cold our home can be. And each spring, we’re floored by how comfortable the air feels as the thermometers tick above 50 degrees. I’m sure those who live in similar four-season climates know what I mean.

In fact, I bet even legal professionals in regions of relatively constant meteorological comfort can recognize this same ebb and flow in their e-discovery work.

At the beginning of each project, as the production deadlines close in and opposing counsel’s documents start piling up, you might feel intimidated by another season of stress. Even though you’ve done it dozens or even hundreds of times before, managing this case seems nerve-wracking. You might think, “Surely this is the most difficult project we’ve had in ages!” In the middle of it, you might forget what it’s like to eat lunch somewhere other than your desk. You might be resigned to simply feeling tense for the rest of your career.

But you won’t always feel that way. The sun will come out.

Last year, we talked about the positive attitudes you can adopt to make it through the long winter rut. But this year, let’s talk about the ways you can spot a little sunshine breaking through the clouds.

#1: You can’t wait to give some shiny new tech a test drive.

Everyday work done the same old way, over and over again, has an effect akin to cabin fever: it gets more dull and less engaging with each passing day. Before long your fingers are itching for some new buttons to press and your mind is begging for a new challenge.

Luckily, the pipeline of innovation in the legal world is fuller by the day.

If your e-discovery environment is in the cloud, where software updates are unveiled regularly and without any upgrading fuss for your team, you’ll have an easy time pursuing this energetic path toward spring. You can also put that energy to good use by exploring ways to extend your platform to tackle new challenges with your current software.

Put some spring in your e-discovery steps: If you haven’t tried your hand at technology-assisted review yet, now is the time.

#2: The smoking gun reveals itself as irrelevant data melts away.

Have you ever seen a dog rediscover his old chewing bone in the backyard after a thick blanket of snow melted away to reveal it? I have, and let me tell you: it’s a moment of joy.

The equivalent in e-discovery is when that game-changing email emerges from a universe of millions. Such a discovery signals a turn of the season. Even if it isn’t enough to declare your case closed, it could be just what your team needs to put together a well-rounded case strategy that will carry you through.

Take a little time to warm up your case from the start with good project management, then accelerate it with a thoughtful application of analytics, and spring—even summer—will be here before you know it.

Put some spring in your e-discovery steps: Take a methodical approach to uncovering critical data by searching some hot spots early on.

#3: The fruits of your labor begin to blossom.

When you plant a tulip bulb, you have to wait for months to see whether you did it right. So when that first little green shoot sprouts come spring, you deserve a moment to bask in the pride.

e-Discovery projects—and legal cases in general—take time, so there’s a lot of satisfaction in a job well done once the matter is resolved. A satisfying settlement offer or a positive ruling have a warming effect on everyone who was involved in a case, from e-discovery managers to managing partners.

But not all the bulbs you plant have to bloom quite so far downstream. Take on the role of analytics guru for your team, and in no time at all you’ll see some encouraging results sprouting right before your eyes.

Put some spring in your e-discovery steps: Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect soon. Start sowing your preparations now to ensure your well-tended data strategy can bloom come May.

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Sam Bock is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, and serves as editor of The Relativity Blog.