Performing an early case assessment (ECA) to help make better litigation strategy decisions is not a new or novel concept. However, with the rise in technology, this process has evolved and become increasingly more valuable to litigation teams. Attention to case insights comes after a team identifies, preserves, and collects electronically stored information (ESI) about potential matters. This includes litigation, internal investigations, and regulatory events. Oftentimes, clients want answers early about vital case components like whether there is merit, which individuals or entities could be potential witnesses or hold relevant information, when parties were aware of the key issues, and more. The answers to these questions pave the path for how things move forward. Organizations can rely on experts in discovery, data, and analytics to utilize their skills and deploy advanced technology to rapidly analyze data for these types of vital case insights. This allows teams to provide answers to client questions, make informed decisions at a critical point in the matter about how to proceed, and tailor strategies accordingly.
The case insights process is less intensive than the full search and review that comes later in litigation for eDiscovery, but still relies on skilled analysts and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify early valuable insights, vital facts, and hot documents at the start of a discovery effort. The result is a deep analysis report containing key fact and behavior patterns that can help shape the team’s game plan for the case and make decisions on whether to settle, dismiss, file a dispositive motion, or proceed to trial. Being able to make decisions at a very early stage in litigation, backed by reliable data, without spending a lot of money is a game changer. Current economic downturn makes this benefit especially useful. Early case insights aids in improved ECA capabilities so that organizations can make more informed, smarter decisions on how to utilize limited resources and avoid costs. Choosing a vendor with a team of discovery experts that use advanced tools, techniques, workflow, and processes is key to getting the best insights early in a matter.
Ways early case insights can offer litigation teams valuable benefits relating to resource management and case strategy.
Case insights shed light on irrelevant documents, which reduces the overall volume of documents hosted and data that teams need to review during discovery. This cost-saving benefit will help teams manage resources better during the case tenure. Experts can also identify patterns or gaps in collected data so the team can anticipate what additional documents it will need to request, custodians that should have been identified, key actors not initially considered that may be helpful witnesses, and data patterns to address during depositions or trial.
Larger cases inevitably take up more resources and are expensive. Being able to gather case insights early on can significantly reduce these costs. For example, case insights could lead a team to find a document that would greatly undermine their position at trial and increases risk. That information could push that party to settle early on as a way to avoid a mound of costs and a negative outcome.
As the legal industry knows, advanced technologies work quickly and can produce results way faster than manual review. Finding key documents hidden in large datasets will help teams make strategic decisions sooner and develop fact narratives faster. This lines up counsel to have a highly effective and productive meet and confer based on key case facts. Being able to isolate hot documents early on also helps organizations make decisions about the best way to proceed with a case and gauge the chance of success on strategy moves, like filing a motion for summary judgment or settling. Knowing the facts and which documents are helpful or hurtful to a party’s case sheds light on what arguments, key conflicts, and case recommendations to focus on when talking to opposing counsel early on in a matter or before an important motion.
Having case insights provides a head start for TAR and document review activities that come later on in the case, as the document pool will be reduced and case strategy is more focused. Having a smooth handoff for eDiscovery processes saves litigation teams time and money and helps streamline the case, as there should be less room for surprises and objections.
Just like in years past, the ECA process will provide litigation teams with key facts, pinpoint data anomalies, and give organizations a better outlook on case costs. However, with the advanced techniques available today and a more knowledgeable pool of experts, this can all be done faster and more efficiently. Gathering case insights allows litigation teams to have a better understanding of their ESI, spend more time on risk and assessment, avoid future roadblocks, reduce eDiscovery costs, and make superior fact-based informed decisions on how to proceed with a matter.