3 Areas of Focus When Migrating Data to a New Document Review Tool

As the average litigation case, data volumes expand and security concerns grow, managing a legacy review tool is becoming more difficult. Legacy review tools also have limitations in case size and features offered. Still, some fear migrating data from a legacy solution to a hosted one, but with planning and careful consideration such a migration can be made seamlessly and with little interruption to ongoing review.

When migrating a case from a legacy review tool, there are several things you must first consider and then devise a method for handling. Three of the key points to ponder are how to manage redactions, attorney work product, and productions. Each of these items requires careful attention and a thoughtful plan to ensure that the transition is seamless for the case team.

In some cases the team has spent countless hours creating this work and as litigation support professionals, it is our obligation to ensure that none of this work is lost and that the transition takes place as quickly as possible.

Data Migration Planning

During the planning phase it is important that that you consult with the legal team to gain insight into what tags exist, the redactions or annotations that are present, whether documents have already been produced and whether those produced documents were linked to the original records reviewed.

Three of the key points to ponder are how to manage redactions, attorney work product, and productions. Each of these items requires careful attention and a thoughtful plan to ensure that the transition is seamless for the case team.

Once you have gathered this information it is vital that you also gather the requirements for the new review database. This includes understanding whether the goal is to make the new work space a carbon copy of the former review database or whether the intention is to leverage the advanced technologies and capabilities of the hosted document review software.

With requirements in hand the second part of planning is to ensure that you understand the capabilities of the old system with respect to handling the redactions, work product and productions. Additionally, you will need to understand what capabilities the older tool has for exporting these key elements. Below are some considerations for what to look for regarding these three key areas.

1. Data Redactions

Migrating redactions from a legacy tool like Summation and importing those to something like Ipro Eclipse can be a tricky proposition. Because redactions are temporary until burned in at the time of production, most applications house them in an annotation file. Some tools offer the ability to export an annotation file, which carries the coordinates of the image where the redaction or annotation exists. Still there is some translation of that annotation file required to ensure that it can imported to the SQL-based review tool.

Whatever the methodology for exporting and importing the redactions from database to database, it is a best practice to burn in all redactions in a secondary image set for preservation purposes. You may not need those, but you’ll be happy you do should something happen to the redaction/annotation file.

2. Attorney Work Product

Similar to redactions, attorney work product associated to documents that have already been reviewed is both vital to a successful migration and tricky to execute. Some legacy tools do not allow for the easy export of tagging structures, while others require a program be run across the database to copy those tags to a single field that can be exported with the data.

This tag to field operation is helpful, but requires a lot of care and considerable labor to parse and re-define in the new database. It is important to understand how tags were used in the previous database and to spend some time mapping the new tags to the new tag or field structure in the destination database.

3. eDiscovery Productions

Finally, productions offer fewer challenges, as most of the modern hosted solutions allow you to link one or more production sets to existing records. The key is to ensure that there is a cross-reference linking the production bates numbers to the document identifiers. If this doesn’t exist you will need to create that link so that you something to load the production images to and link to the existing document record.

Without such a cross-reference, you will need to make sure that you consult with the case team to devise a plan for handling these past productions in conjunction with the future eDiscovery productions that are bound to come. That plan could include a separate production database, or a segregated area within the main database for housing all production files. The key to consider is that at some point the team may need to get back to those productions and print them off as deposition or trial exhibits.

Migrating data from legacy review tools into a hosted solution makes sense for larger matters or in situations where the internal staff can no longer efficiently manage the data volumes associated to a quickly expanding litigation. A hosted solution offers other benefits including increased functionality, expert service and support, enhanced security, and the capacity to handle ever growing data volumes.

In those situations where the data being migrated has already undergone considerable review from the case team and a tremendous amount of work product already exists, it’s important to ensure that this work product, including tags, review calls, comments, redactions and annotations, and productions, does not fall victim to a hasty and unplanned migration.

Ponder the preservation of this work product and the special consideration that the specific legacy and hosted solutions require. Doing so will make the transition seamless and go a long way to ease the likely worried minds of the legal team.

Learn about further efficiencies that can be applied to your document review process and ensure you avoid common pitfalls.

Check out available Document Review Jobs on Special Counsel and apply today!

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