Testing Search Terms in ECA Workspaces to Streamline Review

Document and magnifying glass showing reduction of data

ECA Workspaces can be a valuable resource for legal teams to test existing search terms, identify new search terms, and reduce the amount of data ultimately being promoted to review.  

When it comes to your case, many times legal teams are faced with a mountain of ESI and digital evidence, making it difficult to determine where to start. Your team likely has an idea of date ranges, custodians, and search terms you want applied to but in some situations your search terms still need vetting and flushing out before being agreed upon.  
This is where Early Case Assessment or ECA can come into play. If you are unsure what search terms and filters are appropriate for the data, you can place the data into an ECA workspace with only Text and metadata to determine what should ultimately be promoted to review. 

ECA can represent a variety of concepts / workflows but in this post, we are specifically talking about the use of ECA in the discovery process between the processing and document review stages to identify and strengthen search terms and filter criteria. 
ECA workspaces allow legal teams to get an early look into their data to evaluate the effectiveness of their search terms, and to help identify ways to strengthen terms. Another benefit of ECA workspaces is that they are typically smaller in GB size than full review environments. This is because many ECA workspaces only load text and metadata into the workspace which substantially reduces the cost of hosting by omitting native files.  
Once terms are identified and agreed upon by the case team, then the relevant information and documents can be promoted to the review database with native files included. This ensures that only the most relevant information to your case is promoted to review and that you are not paying to host ESI that isn’t helpful to your case.  
This is a good strategy being that not only does it reduce the downstream costs associated with document review, but also monthly hosting costs. It also enables your team to identify key information quicker since irrelevant ESI has been removed from the data that was promoted to review. 

In short, here are some benefits of using an ECA Workspace: 

  • Identify/strengthen potential search terms and data filters 
  • Provide a snapshot of what search term hits will look like prior to review 
  • Reduce the volume of ESI being promoted/hosted for review 
  • Quickly identify hot documents you want promoted to review 
  • Search term QC, and reporting 
  • Access early insights to create a strategy for staging data promoted to review 
  • Identify saved searches to be used in review