What’s in a Key Word? – Early Case Assessment or Early Data Assessment?

Abbreviations, acronyms and initialisations such as EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model), ESI (electronically stored information), EDD (Electronic Document Discovery), TAR (Technology Assisted Review) or TPC (Transparent Predictive Coding) which define specific precise practices and functions of the eDiscovery process are prevalent and mostly well understood in the world of eDiscovery.

However the usage of certain words in phrases or expressions have become misused and misunderstood.

The use of the terms ECA (early case assessment) and EDA (early data assessment) is a case in point. Get these confused and your whole case could become confused as well.

ECA is a structured process for learning about a case and developing a strategy at the start of a matter.

Adding to the confusion, the eDiscovery support industry often uses the term interchangeably with EDA which in fact is a related but distinct process for understanding a client’s ESI.

ECA and EDA are each most useful when the latter is used by law firms or corporations in conjunction with the former. In the context of eDiscovery, ECA that includes EDA is a valuable tool for lawyers and clients to learn what they need to know to make informed decisions that will improve defensibility in dealing with ESI and cut EDD costs.

ECA is a process performed by lawyers to develop a comprehensive case strategy and provides the knowledge base for implementing it.

The goal of EDA is to develop an overall eDiscovery plan to deal with ESI that includes cost, time and staffing projections.

Client participation is critical
ECA is a legal function and this is an area we cannot encroach upon.
The position with EDA though is different. Data assessment is by nature fact-intensive. In-depth investigation and analysis of the client’s data storage systems and practices require the cooperation of management, in-house legal and IT staff and key employees.

Using EDA to create savings
Industry studies have shown that up to 80 percent of the cost of eDiscovery is attributable to lawyer review time. An EDD plan which incorporates EDA can substantially reduce review time, and therefore costs, by utilising a twin approach of decreasing data volume and increasing review efficiency.
When Analytics and Assisted Review (TPC) are then implemented into a matter workflow the results will not be just one of cost saving but also one of improved efficiencies and accuracy.

Whilst not quite the same as knowing your ABC, getting it right as to ECA or EDA will put you on the correct path.

Lineal are leading London-based industry experts in EDD and EDA and we look forward to working with you at the earliest stages of your matters so you can get your ECA right.