Managing legal risk using early case assessment to reduce reviewed documents

Synopsis Part 1: Legal and business issues IT must know when choosing an early case assessment tool
Synopsis Part 2: Managing legal risk using early case assessment to reduce reviewed documents

data discovery interview –  Gregory “Greg” Buckles, eDiscovery business process consultant, Reason-ed, LLC, (Part 2 of 2)

Buckles is an independent corporate consultant specializing in
discovery technology and process solutions. He has 19 years experience
in discovery and litigation including police forensics, law firm,
vendor, corporate and software development. He is an active participant
in the Sedona Conference and EDRM projects.

By Joshua Konkle writing for

Joshua Konkle: I’ve discussed in-house early case assessment (ECA) with a few vendors.  A common response is risk associated in the review process.  Risk ensues when during the review an attorney needs more data from the source data set for review purposes, thus requiring the company to revisit the ECA system for more data.  I was told in most cases it happens 70% of the time.  What are you thoughts on that review data risk?

Greg Buckles: I would agree with that 70% of the time reviews require more data from the source, in fact, it is probably higher.  The reason the source data needs to be recalled during review is based on a simple fact – “the review phase is the FIRST time a qualified reviewer has looked at the data qualitatively, i.e. custodians, concepts, context etc.”

Waiting until the data is in a review system to evaluate it is causing companies thousands if not millions annually.  Those dollars would be much better spent as pennies, which is the cost of ECA tools in terms of review budgets.  The goal’s are simple 1) reduce data sets going into review 2) improve data review during collection.

Companies can reduce the amount of data being re-requested during review if they evaluated data ahead of review.  If a company desires to reduce the amount of money spent on review they must implement on-premise ECA tools and use them to review data.

Joshua Konkle: In your experience, what is happening today?  Aren’t companies doing early cases assessment through interviews etc?

Greg Buckles: Companies are doing early case assessment.  Often times it is a very simple approach.  For example, an attorney working for the company will ask an employee for their opinion on the issue and to submit all documents and email related to the cases or issue.  Individual perception and memory impact these responses.  Then, when an end-user delivers data it is typically only what they have received and what they have filed.  However, there are thousands or more emails and documents in their sent items.  These little things are unintentionally overlooked by employees.

To overcome these challenges companies need tools that analyze the known relevant data. They don’t need complicated preservation and legal hold; they just need to start looking at the data earlier in the process.  For example, a recent client used the Axis Deduplicator to deduplicate PST files.  , Since the reduced the size, they reduced the cost of an ECA tool.  In this example, the client used Attenex Snapshot reports to get a dashboard view of the custodians and concepts.  The intuitive interfaces enable a focused view to find the critical facts and criteria needed to decide strategy and arm the client for the meet-and-confer.

Joshua Konkle: In your experience, what are the pitfalls that enterprises have yet to encounter bringing eDiscovery inside their firewall?

Greg Buckles: The primary issue is defining which parts of the process to in-source and the thresholds for using outside assistance.   The costs and effort associated with an average discovery must be evaluated.  Then a company can design a legal risk management system in line with their needs and expected budgets.  A gap analysis for both cost and effort will ensure the economics of the system are in the company’s best interests.  By economics, I mean avoiding spending more money than they are saving.  A good start would be to purchase or test ECA tools.

you would like to communicate with him directly, he can be reached at
greg(at) or by calling Reason-eD, LLC at 1 713 530 3416. publishes interviews with legal professionals; click here for more eDiscovery interviews or sign up for the feed.

Joshua L. Konkle

About Joshua L. Konkle

Vice President DCIG, LLC Joshua Konkle is Vice President at DCIG LLC, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Konkle has been a business advisor with them since September 2006.

Leave a Reply