How to overcome these 7 eDiscovery challenges

In the age of big data, eDiscovery has become a multifaceted process filled with numerous challenges that require careful management and a comprehensive understanding of technological tools, data privacy laws, and more. To navigate these challenges effectively, eDiscovery professionals need to implement robust strategies and systems that address seven key areas.


1. Data volume

Data volume is arguably one the biggest challenges in eDiscovery. As businesses generate an immense amount of data daily, managing and sifting through these volumes to locate relevant information is daunting and results in longer processing and review times, higher costs, and increased risk of errors.

Overcoming this requires implementing data reduction strategies such as de-duplication, where redundant copies of data are removed, and keyword searches to narrow down the relevant data. Leveraging technology-assisted review tools that use predictive coding and machine learning can significantly improve the process by ranking and categorising data based on relevance, reducing the time spent on electronic document review (EDR).


2. Data format

Data comes in various structured and unstructured formats, including video and audio files, emails, spreadsheets, social media posts, text messages, and instant messages, not to mention replies, comments and likes. This all makes the extraction of useful information challenging.

The best solution is to rely on customised eDiscovery platforms that can process and review disparate data types and automatically convert them into whatever final format is needed. Organisations will save time because they won’t need extra workers to handle this task.


3. Data location

In an era of cloud storage and remote work, data is stored in various locations, increasing the difficulty of securing and managing it. Collecting useful documents for eDiscovery can be hard when those records aren’t stored in the same place. Some records may be on local and networked computers, while others are on mobile devices, cloud services, or social media accounts. This can make it difficult to identify and preserve all relevant data in a timely and efficient manner. eDiscovery software is equipped to search multiple sources, which streamlines the entire process and ensures no relevant information is missed.


4. Time pressure and constraints

eDiscovery generally takes place under tight deadlines, causing pressure that could result in mistakes or oversights. Effective project management techniques and tools can help to organise tasks, allocate resources efficiently, and keep track of timelines. Automated eDiscovery tools can also significantly accelerate the process, freeing up professionals to focus on more complex tasks.


5. Accuracy and consistency

To ensure accuracy and consistency (which are paramount in eDiscovery to ensure the integrity of the data and the legal process), professionals should adopt standard operating procedures (SOPs) and implement quality control measures at each stage of the process. AI and machine learning can also assist in maintaining consistency and accuracy in data categorisation. Incorporating a review stage at each phase of the eDiscovery process allows for prompt detection and rectification of errors and will also increase quality control. Implementing analytics and reporting tools can also provide insights into the process and help identify areas for improvement.


6. Technology and tools

The rapid advancement in technology necessitates keeping up-to-date with the latest eDiscovery tools, which might be challenging. Continual education and training are necessary to familiarize professionals with new technologies. Furthermore, partnering with technology vendors that provide ongoing support and training can be beneficial.


7. Confidentiality

Maintaining confidentiality is a fundamental principle in legal proceedings, and any breach can have severe consequences, particularly with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) in full effect. To safeguard confidentiality, strict access controls should be enforced, ensuring only authorised personnel have access to sensitive data. Confidentiality agreements should be in place, and regular staff training on the importance of confidentiality should be conducted. Data should also be stored in a secure environment.


The eDiscovery experts

eDiscovery is complex. LexTrado is an industry leader in identification, collection, preservation, processing, review, reporting, and disclosure of electronic data in regulatory, civil and criminal environments. Lextrado delivers improved services to clients by freeing attorneys and staff for higher-value activities, while providing improved control over eDiscovery through snapshot reviews and automated audit trails.