Review: eDiscovery Assistant for iPad

ediscovery assistant for iPadThe prospect of taking on a case where eDiscovery is likely can be a daunting task, even for seasoned litigators. Just how daunting? Well, eDiscovery is the reason for the contentious debates about modifying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery in general. Many seasoned litigators will turn a case down simply because it will involve eDiscovery.

There are dozens of apps and hundreds of companies whose sole purpose is to provide all the eDiscovery assistance a firm can handle (or can afford). However, those companies have no interest in making sure you only buy the services you need – they’re selling services, after all. No, what you need before you even call your first eDiscovery contractor is a guide, a detailed walkthrough of the whole process.

Enter eDiscovery Assistant for iPad, by ESI Attorneys, LLC, your guide to the eDiscovery process.

It Helps Me Do…

eDiscovery Assistant proclaims itself a “one-stop resource for all the rules, case law and practical information” for conducting eDiscovery. The app will provide you the legal roadmap for your case, while giving you advice on the logistics and order-of-operations you need to follow.

ediscovery assistant for iPad 1It Helps Me By…

eDiscovery Assistant provides two different methods to help guide you through the eDiscovery process. For those who have little-to-no experience with eDiscovery, it provides a fully customizable roadmap for your case. For those litigators who feel more comfortable with eDiscovery generally but have specific areas of concern, eDiscovery Assistant provides every individual section from the roadmap as an a-la-carte option.

ediscovery assistant for iPad 2When you first enter a case in the roadmap, eDiscovery Assistant takes you to the customizable roadmap for your case. Here, you start by entering the case name and, if you choose, a brief summary of the action. From there, you are able to create your roadmap by selecting the tools and laws that fit your particular case.

The first set of tools are the incredibly in-depth options for Checklists. Whether you’re just looking for a skeleton outline, or whether you want to know each step you should address from pre-litigation to exactly what type of social media you should pursue, you’ll find plenty of options. ediscovery assistant for iPad 3The checklists available include the 30,000 foot view with “An Overall Picture of the eDiscovery Process” – giving you tasks that contain little detail and address the entire matter – down to “List of Metadata Fields to Request for ESI” and “Ways to Request Facebook Information in Discovery.”

The checklists are extensive, informative, and frequently come with additional assistance and tips to make sure that any attorney feels comfortable with eDiscovery.

ediscovery assistant for iPad 4In addition to the checklists, which are the truly impressive feature of the eDiscovery Assistant app, you also have access to all of the federal and state rules that apply to eDiscovery cases. From the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which you can even highlight to show only the part of the rule applicable to eDiscovery, to local federal and state court rules, you will have access to everything you need. Your subscription even includes constant updates to the rules, making sure you’re never utilizing old or inapplicable rules.

ediscovery assistant for iPad 5Also, in the event your firm isn’t very experienced with eDiscovery, the app comes loaded with a number of templates for various eDiscovery issues. From sample duty of preservation letters (to both opposing counsel and a third party), to a joint preservation agreement, and even sample BYOD and record retention policies, you have plenty of help if you’re not confident with your firm’s go-by documents.

ediscovery assistant for iPad 6eDiscovery Assistant provides those services, along with a number of other reference tools and guides, entirely to help you navigate your way through the eDiscovery process. This app is not an eDiscovery tool. You won’t be able to cull through electronic documents, run your keywords, or add Bates stamps to your production. This app is designed to be a detailed guide, a step-by-step How-To instruction manual for eDiscovery.

The Verdict:

The App: eDiscovery Assistant by ESI Attorneys, LLC
Price: $29.99 for the app; $15.99/month or $174.99/year for additional subscription.
Key Feature: eDiscovery Checklists
Fatal Flaw: My only real beef with this app is that it costs $29.99 to purchase, but requires an additional subscription in order to get complete content. I can understand charging for case updates, but for $29.99, at least all of the checklists should be unlocked.
Next Step: Hard to say, really. I don’t anticipate inclusion of full eDiscovery capabilities, because that would entail a lot of work and fundamentally change the nature of the app. What the app seeks to do, it does well. The only thing I would include would be more advice on handling the litigation mess, such as motions to compel and overcoming objections of opposing parties.
Similar Apps: None that I am aware of. If I’ve missed something, please comment below.

My Rating: 4.5 our of 5.

The Final Word:

There’s something to be said for an app that decides to do something relatively limited, and covers every nook and cranny of the subject. That’s what the eDiscovery Assistant provides. While it may seem basic to provide an eDiscovery checklist, the tools and lists provided are incredibly comprehensive and robust. The templates are remarkably thorough, and the tools for keeping the proper rules updated and available are impressive. Even the additions that seem like they would be afterthoughts, such as allowing the user to highlight only the portion of a rule applicable to eDiscovery, is well done.

Truly, the only reason that this app did not receive a 5 out of 5 rating is that I was disappointed to find out that even after paying $29.99 for the app, you don’t get access to all of the content stored in the app unless you purchase a subscription. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not opposed to the practice generally, but after paying $29.99, users should have access to all content not expected to be frequently updated (such as all of the checklists).

Regardless your level of experience with eDiscovery, from pure novice to experienced litigator, eDiscovery Assistant is an incredibly valuable tool. I highly recommend it.