Digitizing discovery can help legal teams win back more time with clients and reduce costs
Much has changed since the 1980s, when emails were first introduced as evidencein court. Today, legal teams in the discovery phase must contend with mountains of digital data, from Slack messages to Tweets to cell phone videos. Keeping evidence secure and properly labeled was never an easy task, even when discovery mostly involved rifling through stacks of papers – let alone managing hundreds of digital files. As more legal teams move toward a paperless practice, e-discovery software is allowing attorneys to spend more time with clients and less time on crucial, but time-consuming, administrative work.
What is e-discovery software?
E-discovery software ingests digital files so that legal professionals can tag, organize, review and disclose documents during pretrial discovery electronically. If your team works a high caseload, it is a game-changer. Instead of having to sort through boxes of paper records and hard drives, you can simply log into your e-discovery solution portal and review a piece of evidence in a matter of a few clicks. This time efficiency translates into a number of other benefits.
Benefits of e-discovery software
E-discovery helps you advocate for your clients more effectively and run a more profitable practice.
Improved accuracy and efficiency
There is no avoiding the deluge of records that come your way pretrial – after all, the goal is to leave no stone unturned so you can build the strongest case possible. E-discovery software can help you navigate the flood of deposition statements, emails and mobile phone videos nimbly and accurately. A comprehensive solution should let you create a detailed review process workflow for your team (which avoids duplication of effort) and thus, reduce human errors. For an example of how e-discovery software helped a busy team streamline their processes, take a look at this case study from Colorado’s 21st Judicial District.
E-discovery solutions let you maximize your resources by automating, simplifying or outright eliminating repetitive administrative tasks. If your legal team is managing a high caseload with limited staffing, e-discovery helps you make the most of your resources by streamlining and speeding up the review process. Depending on your area of expertise, you may also find yourself with more time to take on cases you’d normally refer out or decline.
Better compliance and security
Keeping client files confidential is an ongoing effort, but one that can be made easier with encrypted e-discovery software. Features like user access control, multi-factor authentication and secure sharing help make sure only authorized parties can review and tag certain evidence. Even if your firm pays for secure offsite storage, there’s always a chance for evidence to be misplaced during travel or compromised by someone not related to an investigation. Digitizing your files and keeping them in a secure database minimizes the number of people who have access to your files.
More positive outcomes for clients
All of the benefits discussed above can lead to better outcomes for clients. Analyzing evidence is a much less befuddling task when everything is properly labeled and securely stored via an e-discovery solution. You can see exactly what you have or don’t yet have – and there is no time wasted on tracking down documents. Rather, your team can use their knowledge and talents to thoughtfully build a case with clearly laid out evidence and give more attention to advising and advocating for clients. In other words, they get to use the skills no software can replace instead of squandering energy on managing paperwork.
Key features of e-discovery software
Whether you’re conducting civil or criminal discovery, your e-discovery solution should make your life easier with these features:
Robust search tool: One of the benefits of digitizing the discovery process is the ease of access it creates. Make sure your e-discovery software delivers on this promise with customizable filters that make sense for your practice. This is especially important for complex criminal e-discovery, which tends to bring in evidence in a variety of formats. Make sure your solution is equipped to store and find video and audio files. Axon Justice Premier for instance, also comes with automated transcription, which makes video and audio files searchable.
Tagging and review: Clear audit trails and workflows make processing evidence easier and eliminate confusion.
Security: Data stored inside an e-discovery database should be encrypted at rest and in transit to protect your clients’ information and maintain the attorney-client privilege. Your administrators should also be able to manage user authorization to silo off evidence from unauthorized parties.
Easy onboarding: One of the challenges of adopting e-discovery is re-training your team, who may be used to doing everything with analog tools. Before deciding on a vendor, check reviews on sites like Capterra or Gartner to see what the onboarding process was like for other law firms.
No-hassle disclosure: Ideally, you should be able to share deposition statements and subpoenas as well as related records with opposing parties within your e-discovery software. Axon Justice lets legal teams disclose discovery without having to revert to using DVDs or USB drives, for example.
At the end of the day, an e-discovery solution should free your time for more impactful tasks, whether that’s preparing for court, advising clients or expanding your practice. Axon creates solutions that help streamline processes throughout the entire justice system, which includes Axon Justice Premier, e-discovery software for legal teams with a comprehensive digital evidence management platform. To learn more about Axon, reach out for a demo.