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Protecting eDiscovery Privilege, the Case Against File Sharing Sites

File sharing services, such as DropBox, have become increasingly used as eDiscovery repositories for incoming data and outgoing productions. With easy sharing, via a simple URL link, it’s understandable why these tools appear to offer an optimal solution for sending and receiving massive amounts of data as one does with eDiscovery litigation. Unfortunately, this “solution” can become a massive liability and we caution clients against using these services because it is simply too easy to accidentally share privileged documents. In fact, there are several cases in which information has been inadvertently shared and the results were disastrous for the offending party.

What’s the problem?

It is not that it can’t be done correctly, it is more that one is asking for problems with an open platform like this. With default settings in place, the “owner” of a file relinquishes control of the data within the file when shared with other users. Once shared, the data within the file can be copied, changed and shared without the owner’s permission. New users can be added to the file to view the data and, with seemingly unlimited “cooks in the kitchen,” it is too difficult to maintain chain of custody and ensure responsible sharing. A few specific issues with file sharing services include:

  1. Shared files and folders are not static. This is not the equivalent of sending a document attachment via email. The shared file or folder remains “live”, thus any future additions or changes can still be seen by people with the link into perpetuity.
  2. On many platforms, user groups are created and can be duplicated to other folders with a simple click. For example, if several users have access to “Case X Final Production” folder, another attorney could grant access to all users in that file to “Case X Notes”- not realizing that opposing counsel was part of the original group.
  3. The link is not automatically password protected so anyone with the link can view the file unless proper authentication measures are manually enabled. This literally means that without setting up a password, anyone on the internet could potentially access your file.

What have the courts said?

In Harleysville Ins. Co v. Holding Funeral Home, Inc., Case No. 1:15cv00057 (W. D. Va. February 9, 2017), an insurance company refused a funeral home’s fire damage claim after determining the fire was caused by arson. An investigator for the insurance company uploaded video taken at the scene to a platform sharing site, box.com. The investigator sent the link to the insurance company attorney who then shared it with the funeral home attorney in order to substantiate their arson claim. Later, however, the insurance investigator uploaded additional files to that same folder, which the funeral home attorneys still had access to. The court found that because the link and files within were not properly password protected the insurance company had, in essence, “left the files on the park bench” in a virtual sense and thus waived privilege.

From the court:

Whether a company chooses to use a new technology is a decision within that company’s control. If it chooses to use a new technology, however, it should be responsible for ensuring that its employees and agents understand how the technology works, and, more importantly, whether the technology allows unwanted access by others to its confidential information.

What does Lexbe Recommend?

We have developed the Lexbe eDiscovery Platform to include a number of checks against inadvertent disclosure of privileged docs. We create a secure encrypted link specific to each production that can then be safely shared. By insulating exports with secure production links, we help prevent user error that could result in sharing documents not meant for opposing counsel or outside parties.

CIOReview Names Lexbe a Top eDiscovery Provider for 2016

top20

Lexbe has been recognized by CIOReview on their “Top 20 Most Promising eDiscovery Vendors of 2016” list. From their website, CIOReview, an enterprise solutions publication, noted that  “eDiscovery technology tools bring transparency and control to the litigation process.”

eDiscovery software options can range from local installations to cloud based services. Lexbe’s SaaS model gives clients total control over their ESI (electronically stored information), empowering firms and organizations to completely self administer their eDiscovery process and interact with their data directly. Our expert eDiscovery specialists are available as needed, giving clients the option to access support when deadlines loom near and keep costs in check when their internal staff is able to manage the process themselves.

You can see all of CIOReview’s selections for top eDiscovery Software providers on their site, here: http://legal.cioreview.com/vendors/most-promising-ediscovery-technology-solution-providers-2016.html

Lexbe Platform Update: Bates Stamping and Production Preview

Lexbe’s innovative doc viewer gives you the power to instantly toggle between all instances of your document, from native through produced versions. Our engineers have updated this screen to include several enhancements, making this already robust tool even more powerful. As always, these updates are instantly available – no need for your IT department to deal with a cumbersome software upgrade. A brief overview of the updates:

New Tabs

  • Produced – allows you to view the selected, produced version of the PDF, with bates number
  • Redacted – view the document with current redaction in place.
  • Translated – the current document with any foreign language translated to English, for your review.
  • Annotated – view your document with notes and comments visible.

Bates Stamping

When you are viewing your produced document PDF in the Lexbe platform you will now be able to see the Bates Number stamped in the lower right corner, as you would see it if the document were printed. You no longer need to download the document, the bates stamp is visible instantly, on screen.

tabs-and-bates-samping

Drop Down Production List

If a document has been produced more than once this drop down menu will appear at the top of the page, allowing you to easily toggle between the productions. Each produced version of the document will be noted with it’s Bates Number and the date of production in the title. This is an indispensable tool for any complex litigation where you run more than one production.

drop-down-productions

‘Above the Law’ features Lexbe for Cloud Document Management

Lexbe was recently featured in the leading legal blog: ‘Above the Law’ in a post entitled: Today’s Tech: A Litigation Attorney Uses Technology To Level The Playing Field.

A practicing litigator was interviewed and noted that technology in general, and cloud computing in particular, helps a small law firm to stay competitive in today’s constantly changing legal landscape. “Technology is the great equalizer between solo and small law firms and large firms. For smaller law firms it puts you on a level field with law firms many times your size. I can now handle 2 or 3 complex construction litigation cases at one time and it doesn’t take over my practice.  I can get through 30,000 documents quickly and narrow them down to what I really need to look at.”

Above the Law noted that Lexbe helps small firms handle the big cases. The interviewed attorney noted that “I handle a lot of cases where upwards of 30,000 docs are produced. These documents used to fill the room. Now I buy access to Lexbe on a case-by-case basis and then search the documents using Boolean logic.”

Lexbe speeds up review and allows for attorney, case and time leverage. Above the Law continues: “So a process that used to require six associates days to read through the documents can now be accomplished in minutes. Because of the Lexbe software, the entire playing field has been leveled for my firm.”

Read the entire post at Above the Law.

Lexbe Profiled in Recent 451 Research Impact Report

SaaS convenience, strong search, massive scalability, and innovative pricing options make Lexbe eDiscovery Platform an intriguing option for plaintiffs.

451Quote1 Lexbe eDiscovery Platform (LEP) was recently covered in an Impact Report from 451 Research written and developed by leading eDiscovery and Information Governance analyst David Horrigan. The report reflects on how LEP meets the specialized eDiscovery and litigation support needs of plaintiff attorneys by focusing on scalability and fast, comprehensive search performance. The impact report also discusses the growing trend among plaintiff firms and special advocacy groups towards embracing secure cloud technology like LEP to achieve reduced costs, faster performance, and increasingly advanced feature sets and functionality.

From the report’s publicly available abstract:

“The e-discovery vendor is making moves to grow its corporate clientele, but it’s found a niche taking its hosted e-discovery platform to plaintiff lawyers and advocacy organizations that are getting over their fear of the cloud.”

The cloud-based platform integrates all of the fundamental features legal professionals expect and require to conduct data-intensive discovery. LEP can also be entirely self-administered by end users, but technical specialists are available to tackle any issues that arise. In addition to impressive speed, performance, and a mature feature set, LEP also has some unique features that are particularly beneficial to plaintiffs. Some mentioned in the report include:

Dual-Index Search: A comprehensive indexing methodology that ensures all document contents are searchable via a concatenated search index composed of both native and OCR extractions. Our dual-index search methodology helps plaintiffs avoid missing key documents buried in opposing counsel’s production.

Integrated Early Case Analysis: Integrated ECA and case management features let plaintiffs maintain a strong understanding of their case from the very beginning to support accurate case valuation. For more information about the benefits of early case timelines, check out this post.

Ability to Self-Load Any Data: You can load and process native files (Outlook, Word, etc.), PDFs or TIFF/load files. All files are converted to PDF and OCRed for integrated viewing, search, download and print. Text-based PDFs minimize data expansion and maximize document flexibility.

451Quote2 The report also highlights how the overall cost benefits of SaaS review solutions are not to be ignored. Specifically, LEP can eliminate the need for in-house infrastructure and software licenses for firms with inconsistent IT needs. Also noted by the 451 report is that LEP is available with no user or seat fees and contingency pricing plans are available for qualifying plaintiff cases.

For more information or to purchase access to the full 451 Research Impact Report, click here. To learn more about how Lexbe addresses the unique eDiscovery challenges faced by plaintiff lawyers or for information about contingency pricing plans for qualifying cases, you can visit our plaintiff solutions page.

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