Early Case Assessment Lifecycle


Early case assessment is an important aspect of the electronic Discovery process that helps considerably in reducing litigation costs. It is simply the process of evaluating the costs, time, and risks involved for the defense or prosecution in a litigation case when early suspicion of litigation arises.

The early case assessment lifecycle covers:

Risk-Benefit Analysis
In early case assessment, the first step is to perform a risk-benefit analysis. The analysis is done to find out whether the amount of benefit outweighs the amount of risk. To be more precise, the risk-benefit analysis helps in estimating the winning ratio. Based on this, companies decide whether to fight the case in court, settle the case before the trial, or opt for an out-of-court settlement.

Legal Hold on Potentially Critical Documents (both paper and ESI)
Once an audit, litigation, or investigation is anticipated, the organization or enterprise issues a communication putting on hold all the normal processing of records such as archiving media, backup tape recycling and so on in order to avoid evidence spoliation. A legal ediscovery hold therefore is the process of preservation and retention of all forms of relevant data until the case is formally settled.

Collate Relevant Information for Attorney and Expert Document Review
During this stage, relevant information is sent to an attorney for document review. Document review is a task performed by attorneys to evaluate the importance and/or responsiveness of documents. The assessment of the relevance of documents is done by using the knowledge pertaining to the facts of the case and issues of the law.

Process Relevant Information
The relevant information is then processed for purposes of filtering, searching terms, or data analytics. During this stage, relevant data is filtered and analyzed to isolate information that is more useful, thereby reducing the size of the data considerably

* Information Hosting for Attorney and Expert Document Review, Commenting, Redaction

The processed data is then reviewed by the attorney, which is sometimes called privilege review or second level review. During this review, the attorney looks for information that is confidential and classified. Since the document is relevant/responsive and needs to be provided to the opposing party, the confidential information is redacted by blacking it out. The comments and redaction are done by the attorney not to the original document but to its copy, which is usually a TIFF or PDF file.

Provide Documents to the Involved Parties in the Case
The reviewed documents are then shared with the opposing parties involved in the case.

Reuse Information for Future Litigations
These details are then retained to be used for future litigation software Though the early case assessment lifecycle typically includes all these stages, it is subject to change depending on the case and the client involved. There are various early case assessment tools available that help in performing early case assessment quickly and accurately; with the right tools, cases can be assessed in a matter of days instead of months.