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A Process Perspective on Litigation Support

(Ron Friedmann, June 2005)

The e-discovery explosion creates a risk that firms will lose sight of the larger litigation support picture.  There may not be a single right way to “do lit supp” but firms should analyze their processes and strive to develop consistent guidelines.

The table below presents a framework for thinking about litigation support.  Columns represent phases of a case and rows represent player roles, software involved, and issues to consider.

The text in each cell is merely suggestive.  Each firm, indeed each case, may have different answers.  Even the rows and columns can differ.  The point though is twofold:

  1. Make explicit and informed litigation support decisions.
  2. Analyze processes at both a micro and macro level and strive to develop a consistent approach based on adherence to a set of guidelines that covers typical scenarios.

 

Collect

Cull

Process

Review

Produce

Case Prep

Trial

Vendor

Role

Primary

Primary

Primary

Limited, unless using hosted system

Print or format conversion

Typically limited role

Trial presentation; site support

Lit Supp

Role

Input

Input to active involvement

Input to active involvement

Set up and tech support

Tech support

Tech support

Tech support

Legal

Assistant

Role

Supervise

Input to active involvement

Input to active involvement

Searches; substantive support; monitor review progress

Help select documents; assemble production sets; review, track

Prep for depos; support all lawyer work

Supervise vendors;  coordinate all necessary tasks

Lawyer

Role

Guide

Guide

Guide

Review strategy; doc-by-doc review

Review production sets

Drafting, depos, research, etc.

Hands-on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Software

In Use

Outsource primarily; limited in-house

Outsource or advanced semantic tool

Outsource primarily; limited in-house

Concordance, Summation, Ringtail, etc. OR

Hosted solution

Concordance, Summation, Ringtail, etc. OR

Hosted solution

Lit supp system; CaseMap; databases; other (e.g., decision trees)

Trial presentation system (e.g., Sanction or Trial Director)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issues to Consider

·   Supervision

·   Forensic collections

·   Scope of custodians and data sets

·   Data types

·   Chain of custody

·   Reduce volume prior to processing

·   Role of advanced search software

·   Native format v. TIFF or PDF

·   Collecting and using meta-data

 

·   Facilitating all-digital, on-screen review

·   Monitoring reviews

·   QC of lawyer work

·   Working with co-counsel

 

·   Redactions

·   Tracking productions

·   Production formats, including numbering

·   Working with co-counsel

 

·   Using database effectively to prep the case

·   Working with co-counsel

 

·   Integrating doc database to trial support system