Why Producing Documents Outside of Your Review Platform is a Bad Idea

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Whether you’re an attorney, paralegal, or litigation support professional, at some point in your eDiscovery career you’ve likely made a production outside of your document review platform. Even a simple one page memo produced as a PDF can throw a wrench in your legal team’s production workflow.  In this article, I’m going to to explain why it’s best practice to always produce documents in your document review tool and, for those unavoidable situations, how to mitigate any problems.

Top reasons for never producing documents outside of review platforms such as Relativity

1. Using the wrong bates number.

If there were an eDiscovery edition of Family Feud, the #1 reason for never producing documents outside of your review platform would absolutely be that it leads to using the wrong bates number. What’s that mean exactly? Well, first you’ll either have gaps in your bates sequence or, worse, you’ll end up reusing bates numbers across several documents.  Either situation is bad because it can lead to confusion in pleadings and at depositions. Moreover, there are typically costs associated with resolving these issues.

2. Forgetting to import externally produced documents into your review platform

Often times, externally produced documents take some time, if ever, to make their way back into the document review platform.  It’s quite simply easy to forgot to have the documents you hastily bates labeled loaded.  When the document isn’t available in the review platform, your colleagues and support staff may tear their hair out trying to figure out why the searches they are running aren’t showing that hot document in the list of search term hits.

3. Losing the link between the review version and production version of a document

Producing documents outside of your review platform often means you miss out on a key Relativity feature: the connection between the original document and its produced image. The benefit of this link is that you can later remove or add redactions to the review version and reproduce the document.

What to do if you’ve bates labeled a document without using your document review tool

Sometimes there’s simply no time to go through the steps of producing a document in Relativity. You need the document bates stamped in the next 10 minutes and don’t have the time to send it for processing and bates stamping.  Here’s what you should do if you run into this situation.

1. Notify your colleagues and case team ASAP

Letting your team know that you’ve just produced a document outside of the document review tool is a great first step.  Better still, circulate both the bates stamped version and as well as the original version.  This will get the gears moving to get these documents processed and imported to your document review platform. If you use Relativity as your document review platform, your litigation support team will be able to link the original and produced versions of the documents as if they were produced out of Relativity.

2. Use eDiscovery tools to accelerate importing and tracking these documents in your review platform

eDiscovery tools can help get documents loaded into your workspace quicker than ever. Simply give Rapid Loader the documents you need loaded to Relativity and it will figure out how to get it loaded for you with little to no input.  Volume Tracker not only keeps track of all productions you make and receive, but catches errors in your productions and those of the opposition.