How to review 3,750,000 documents in 20 days

In late 2011, Avalon and DIGITS teamed up on an urgent matter for a client.  They had a request from their client to collect, search, and produce relevant documents from 30 custodians at a large corporation.  The catch: They had less than a month to complete the whole project.

First step: DIGITS coordinated with the corporation’s IT department.  Second step: DIGITS worked around the clock for 3 straight days to collect active email evidence from the exchange environment, and to put together a recommended search for backup .pst files.  The search would be done on individual custodian’s machines to find even more potentially relevant materials.

The data was then brought into Avalon’s NUIX environment.  The amount of documents in the collection at that time was massive – over 3,750,000.  While the attorneys worked on a first pass of Boolean filters to be run against the documents, Avalon ran a global de-duplication script on the database.  Luckily, that reduced the number of documents to be reviewed to just over 2,000,000.  Much better.  ::cough cough::

Avalon made some suggestions on the Boolean filters for some apparent false positives, which reduced the dataset to just over 90,000 documents.  The time to review the documents now was two weeks.



A domain report and network map (see sample above) had helped identify documents likely to be privileged; this helped to separate those documents for different treatment.  A Relativity database was then created, and 20 associates were ready to review the results over the next two weeks.  Equivio Email Threading was run on the dataset to group documents from email threads together and provide high efficiency in the review (so documents from the same thread could be treated in a uniform matter). As a result, reviewers were able to weed their way through the review at speeds of over 100 documents per hour, which is a considerable increase over the traditional speeds.

The review was completed and the production was sent to the client ahead of schedule.  The client was thrilled, and made sure to let us know that they have never been through a more efficient and painless review.

That, my friends, is how you use technology to keep review costs down and review speeds up.  A review like this allows the attorneys to do what they do best, be attorneys!  They can get to the facts of the case fast and efficiently.  They are then able to focus on just the facts and not be worried about how they will review almost 4 million documents in less than three weeks.  Relax – we’ve got this.

If you liked this blog you might also be interested in reading: The Ethics of eDiscovery

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