About seven years ago, I e-mailed a hypothetical to colleagues seeking their advice about how to process and review an unprepossessing volume of ESI for production in e-discovery.  The intelligence they shared became fodder for The EDna Challenge and, I like to think, helped promote lower cost e-discovery options in the marketplace.

Since then, three of the contributors (Browning Marean, Ross Kodner and Dave Kleiman) have passed on and nearly all have moved on.  But, the challenge remains challenging.  The good news is that Edna now has five times more money to spend.

Next week’s ACEDS Conference seeks a re-examination of EDna options circa 2016 on a bigger budget; so, may I please impose on you, Dear Reader, to share your suggestions drawing on the much broader array of options available today?  Please add your suggestions as comments, and it’s fine to toot your own horn so long as you don’t exceed the budget, all in, and meet all the requirements of the challenge.

Here’s the updated challenge:

Your old friend, Edna, called with a question.  She has a small law firm.  A client is about to send her a Zip file on a thumb drive containing collected ESI in a construction dispute.  It will be PSTs for six people, another four MBOX takeouts from Gmail and a mixed bag of word processed documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint documents, PDFs and “not a lot” of scanned paper documents (sans OCR or load files) for all ten custodians.  There may also be some video, photographs and web content.  “Nothing too hinky,” she promises.  She thinks it will comprise less than 50,000 documents in all, but it could grow to 100,000 items or more.  The contents will unzip to about 10-12 GB in all.

She’s determined to conduct a paperless privilege and responsiveness review of the material in-house, sharing the task with an associate and legal assistant.  Everyone has a high-end, big screen desktop PC running Windows 8.1 with MS Office 2016 and Adobe Acrobat 11 Pro installed.  The office’s network file server has loads of available storage space.  She doesn’t own a review tool.  She’s willing to spend up to $5,000.00 ALL IN, for software, vendor services, SaaS, whatever, exclusive of the cost of her time and staff time), but she won’t spend a penny more.  You can’t loan her your systems or software.  You can’t talk her out of it.  Pricing must mirror real-world availability, not a special deal.

Edna’s solution must support:

  • Efficient workflow
  • Robust search
  • Ability to process relevant metadata
  • Simple document tagging and production identification
  • Effective tracked deduplication
  • Review may take up to 90 days, and the case may not conclude for up to two years.  All review,  hosting and production costs must be borne by the budget.

How should Edna spend that $5,000.00?