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Law firms can realize many advantages for themselves and their clients through early case assessment. An “ECA” can provide an early understanding of case facts in order to set case strategy and make settlement evaluations. An ECA also provides an early look at the Electronically Stored Information (ESI), allowing the legal team to improve defensibility by ensuring all the right data is preserved and collected, the right custodians are chosen and better preparing for a meet-and-confer. And an ECA can substantially reduce discovery costs by reducing the data set before expensive downstream processing and review.

But in order to reap all of the benefits and ensure they conduct e-discovery in a defensible way, firms need to institute best practices for the ECA processes and the technologies they use. To be truly effective, ECA should be a marriage of both process and technology.