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Early Case Assessment Minimizes Litigation Costs
By: David A. McClurg
Early Case Assessment (“ECA”) is becoming increasingly important in evaluating the costs and risks of employment related litigation – particularly where discovery is expected to involve requests for production of a large number of documents that must be reviewed for relevance and the existence of privileged communications. The widespread use of electronic document storage and mind boggling advances in the technology available to search and screen those documents present new opportunities to identify key documents and witnesses early in the process that can facilitate an accurate liability evaluation and assessment of settlement opportunities.
Advances in search, clustering and relevance ranking technology now allow users to train the software to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant documents. Products such as Equivio Relevance, Recommend, H5 and Vestigate offer a variety of approaches to assist with ECA. Some systems sample a few documents in a defined collection to predict the likely relevance and importance of other documents in that group. Other systems rely on trained linguists to interview members of the management team or outside subject matter experts to identify key terms, concepts or concerns to drive the search process.
Use of these technologies can drastically reduce the time and expense associated with assessing liability and developing a settlement strategy in document intensive
cases, which can ultimately lead to greatly reduced litigation costs.