Canon Helps Law Firm Complete Data Collection and Review While Overcoming Major Challenges
Three Main Challenges
A major law firm faced a pressing eDiscovery issue. It needed to collect and process an extensive amount of digital data within a short deadline—72 hours—so the firm could prepare for a scheduled mediation conference concerning a labor relations matter. The firm tapped the expertise of Canon Discovery Services to get the job done.
The short deadline was only one challenge; another was the amount of data. Initially, the firm estimated that the data would total about 80GB. Instead, the total amount of data eventually collected and processed during the project was more than three times that amount, totaling over a million documents that consisted mainly of emails and related files potentially relevant to the case.
Then there was a third hurdle to overcome. The firm was surprised to discover that it did not have the necessary passwords for opening mailboxes and collecting relevant emails. This situation, which caused a 24-hour delay, had to be resolved while still meeting the 72-hour deadline.
To meet these challenges Canon utilized its expertise to create the right workflow for managing such an unexpectedly large data volume within the tight deadline. This included leveraging the right Canon partner for data collection and using an industry-leading eDiscovery platform for processing the documents. When it came to solving the problem of the missing passwords, the Canon team’s experience and ingenuity would be called upon to help save the day.
Keys To Success
There were several critical factors reinforcing Canon’s successful management of the project. One was implementing a workflow that included collecting emails spanning an 18-month timeframe from custodians that included employees who were suing the firm’s client, a transportation company. Canon teamed with a digital forensics partner and worked with the transportation company’s IT team to collect the data.
The next step in the workflow after collection was to move the data to a server of another Canon partner where it was processed using a best-in-class eDiscovery platform. The data was then transferred into a workspace where a Canon expert applied quality control testing. This included running search queries to identify and solve concerns, such as why a specific document didn’t contain any text (e.g., because it was a photo) or clarifying why a particular custodian’s data had so many corrupt files and if any of those corrupt files were potentially relevant.
Canon reported the results of these quality control activities to the law firm while also batching the documents into groups. These were sent to attorneys who reviewed the documents one batch at a time in order to determine such criteria as relevance and privilege. The Canon team monitored the review process and continually reported key metrics to a firm senior associate such as what percentage of the review was complete and what percentage of documents were found to be privileged or non-responsive. The final step in the process was for the firm to produce the data to opposing counsel.
Another key to success was the Canon team’s expertise and flexibility when such issues as the missing passwords arose. Canon assumed a consulting role in helping the firm and its client fix the problem. Using a secure, WebEx/videoconferencing tool, Canon’s team coached IT personnel at the transportation company, including system administrators, through the process of gaining entry into the mailboxes and uploading the emails to a file server. This included using tools that helped ensure the data transmission was forensically sound—i.e., that metadata was not corrupted as documents were copied from one environment to another.
A Successful Outcome
Canon completed the project within the 72-hour deadline. The law firm and its client successfully mediated a settlement and Canon and its partners destroyed the evidence within a few days of the finalized settlement agreement, as instructed.
For Canon, as well as its client, the project wasn’t just about document processing. The successful outcome entailed so much more. It was about effective collaboration, communication and teamwork—between Canon, its client and its partners—from the moment the clock started ticking. It was about setting up an efficient collection and review protocol, which included quality control testing and reporting, that enabled the project team to accomplish so much in so little time. It was about having the expertise, experience and flexibility to solve problems quickly as they arose, from lost passwords to larger than anticipated volumes of data that required processing.
Finally it was about allowing legal professionals to spend less time concerned with activities that are not within their main focus, such as collecting and processing data, and more time devoted to their core mission, practicing law.