The Case for Digitizing Special Districts (Part 3): eDiscovery


This post is Part Three in a series about the benefits of digitization for special districts. The first two are here and here. In summary, we covered the overall benefits of digitization and how it helps the district with compliance. Today, we’re going to discuss something that strikes fear in the hearts of every records manager and IT director, ediscovery.


You’ve just received your request for the production of documents from opposing counsel. Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll be putting in some late nights and weekends. Luckily, you’ve got a rock-solid retention schedule, so you won't be required to produce emails from ten years ago. Still, the amount of documents and data requested seem punitive, but counsel says to produce them, so that’s what you must do.


Laserfiche enables special districts to work effectively and efficiently with their unstructured content. Generally, ECM takes a more holistic view of an organization’s documents than ediscovery and enhances the ability to capture, search, retrieve, manage, and analyze documents beyond what ediscovery requires. ECM classifies unstructured content, provides secure, controlled access to it, assigns granular retention schedules, and provides auditing and audit trail capabilities.


Here are some ways that having a robustly featured ECM such as Laserfiche limits litigation expense and risk:


Precise, Initial Document Collection


Depending on how you've set up your templates and metadata, Laserfiche can be used to collect documents by type and exclude those based on their document class. The relevance of the resulting search is much higher than manual collection, hence also improving the performance of data reviews in other systems. Since document access can be role-based in Laserfiche, records managers and attorneys can focus on content created, accessed or used by key staff members.


Decreased Document Volume


In Laserfiche, incredibly granular retention periods can be applied. Hence, documents that aren’t needed can reach their disposition before litigation occurs. Also, documents that are not declared records can be disposed of. Legal holds can be applied to records that will “freeze” them in the midst of their retention process.


In addition to excluding immaterial document types, Laserfiche will dedupe files and track key document attributes so when a document type has responsive information, only responsive documents within the classification need to be selected. For instance, if only invoices from specific companies during a date range were relevant, invoices from other companies or from outside the time frame will be excluded. Without the ability to classify records by type and attribute, this would be a painful, manual, exercise.

Review and Production Transparency

Because document type metadata has been assigned to the template, the production party can give detailed status reports regarding production and review. This can be done using Audit Trail or exporting the audit trail data into Crystal Reports. The receiving party can be updated in an expedient manner. In addition, if the court or receiving party wishes to sample within document types, this can be done easily.

Defensibility

The producing party’s use of Laserfiche for its day-to-day records management and business operations lessens any concerns that the collection or production process is tampered with in order to lose or hide relevant content.

Combined Intelligence

Laserfiche Workflow can extract specific metadata of some document types for specific litigation, which then can be used in subsequent litigation. Each document can be tagged to an individual case. Also, the intelligence accumulated to classify and attribute documents owned by the producing party can also be used to analyze incoming productions from other organizations.

Ensure Publicly Identifiable Information PII) Remains So

The document classification and attribute extraction process in Laserfiche Workflow will do a more complete job of identifying PII or other sensitive data, even handwritten forms. By contrast, in other practices manual redaction is an incredibly high-risk practice.

Stay tuned for Part 4 and contact us if you have any questions or are interested in a granular Laserfiche and eDiscovery conversation.


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