skip to content

Collective Wisdom: Insights from Public Sector Legal Teams on Ediscovery Best Practices

by Zach Sousa

Public sector organizations confront a unique constellation of challenges when it comes to the realms of ediscovery, public records requests, and investigations. Why does this matter? The impact of these complexities reaches far beyond administrative burden: it can directly influence the efficacy of public service delivery. The sheer volume of data these institutions engage with often morphs routine tasks into intricate labyrinths.

But this isn't about what's happening. It is about the implications of an overwhelmed system, the risk of potential errors, and the ensuing inefficiencies that could hinder public services.

Each inquiry or case these agencies deal with is embedded with its specific legal nuances, adding to the process's complexity. On top of that, these organizations are constantly under the public eye, tasked with upholding high standards of accountability and transparency a mere obligation; it's a commitment to uphold public trust. The capacity to adhere to these standards whilst adeptly managing ediscovery tasks can significantly boost public confidence. Therefore, the importance of an effective strategy and the right tools transcends operational efficiency—it's a pivotal component in maintaining public trust and delivering outstanding public service.

In a recent discussion, practitioners specializing in ediscovery from various state attorney general offices shared their experiences, successful strategies, and common challenges. For the panelists, Everlaw forms an integral part of their day-to-day operations, facilitating their tasks and improving efficiencies. Here are some key insights from the panel, exploring practical guidance that may benefit public sector professionals dealing with ediscovery tasks.

Tackling Large Datasets

Handling vast datasets is more than a technological challenge; it's a formidable obstacle that can transform ordinary tasks into complex puzzles. It isn't just about managing large quantities of data, but understanding what lies hidden within this information maze. One panelist shared the intricate path their office takes to tackle this predicament. In regular scenarios, they rely on Everlaw's cloud-based platform to upload data. However, exceptionally large datasets demand extraordinary solutions like sending data on external hard drives directly to Everlaw for uploading, thereby utilizing Everlaw's direct server access.

The enormity of the data not only requires a well-defined strategy but signifies a challenge that reaches deep into the legal process.

Another panelist emphasized a structured approach, beginning with issue identification and then conducting initial searches, sending hold notices, and engaging in the review and production phase. This isn't just about efficiency—it's about unraveling the complexity and finding meaning in the vast landscape of information.

Handling Public Records Requests

Several state AG offices have faced challenges in responding to public records requests due to the complexity and time-consuming nature of finding and collating relevant records. Robust search tools can be utilized to address this issue. As noted by one panelist, instead of wrestling with the intricacies of traditional Boolean logic, a more user-friendly approach allows users to create search queries through a simple drag-and-drop feature, making it easier to manage public records requests efficiently.

However, challenges persist. A common pain point is managing poor-quality load files from other parties. Here, having accessible customer support, ideally at no extra cost, can help mitigate issues, allowing the legal professionals to maintain focus on the core legal and strategic aspects of their work, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public records response.

Getting Their Team Up to Speed

Onboarding new employees takes time. Not only are they integrating into the organization and their team, but there can be a steep learning curve when it comes to the technology and systems they are expected to use.

When it comes to ediscovery platforms, our panelists’ experience was no different.  The panelists have used multiple strategies to onboard and support users, though they stressed that adopting a modern ediscovery platform is rather simple and has helped to get their teams up to speed. One panelist shared that users can be reviewing documents within half an hour of their introduction to the platform, highlighting the ease of learning. This rapid initiation is supported by extensive training resources and a 24-hour help desk. Another panelist noted that their team has taken advantage of individual training sessions, showing the platform's view pattern and features, which they believe helps new users to quickly understand and navigate Everlaw. These training strategies contribute to team efficiency and the successful handling of ediscovery tasks.


The multifaceted challenges faced by public sector legal teams in the world of ediscovery are not mere hurdles but fundamental barriers that can obstruct the path to effective public service.

The dialogues and insights shared here are not just about overcoming these barriers but understanding them.

They reflect a collective wisdom that transcends the mere utilization of tools like Everlaw, shedding light on the complexity and offering practical guidance.

In the realm of public sector legal work, ediscovery isn't just about sifting through data; it's about upholding trust, maintaining accountability, and ensuring the seamless delivery of public services. The collective experience, strategies, and insights discussed here are not just about making the process more efficient but about empowering legal teams to meet the demands of a world where the stakes are high and the challenges even higher.