First, we were told that digital media would take the place of paper, resulting in streamlined, efficient, environmentally friendly paperless offices. As we all know, that hasn’t happened.
Along those same lines, despite the warning that email will eventually be phased out and replaced by new communication technologies like collaboration tools and ephemeral messaging, we’re pretty sure that business email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, according to the Radicati Group, email use in the business sector continues to grow, with users expected to send and receive an average of 126 emails per day by the end of 2019.
If you’re looking at an eDiscovery matter involving 10 custodians over a two-year time period, you’re suddenly drowning in email. When it comes time to compile all those messages for eDiscovery, even a small matter can rapidly turn into a big deal. That’s why you need to use email threading in every eDiscovery case, from the small to the massive, and from the straightforward to the mind-bendingly complex.
How Does Email Threading Work?
If you use an email platform like Outlook or Gmail, you’re probably already accustomed to the “conversation view” that most email providers have been using (albeit not with universal appreciation) for years. Grouping by conversation—recognizing when emails are related and presenting them in a single, unified “family”—is an application of email threading.
To thread emails together, an algorithm compares the features of email messages and determines whether they’re related to other messages. When an email is replied to or forwarded, those related messages, along with any attachments, are grouped with the original message and presented together. With email threading for eDiscovery, the algorithm can also go a step further to delete extraneous information—such as repeated initial messages appended to the end of replies—winnowing an email exchange down to only its unique portions or segments.
Benefits of Email Threading
Email threading simultaneously improves review and lowers costs. By grouping related messages, email threading ensures that a single reviewer analyzes and codes an entire conversation, instead of different portions being distributed among different reviewers, none of whom can form a complete picture of the conversation or its importance. This leads to more consistent coding and fewer coding mistakes, since the reviewer has a better grasp of the context of messages. Because email threading removes redundant and duplicative emails, it also decreases discovery volume and speeds the process of review, which helps to limit the cost of review.
Email threading also enables more subtle analysis, such as recognizing relationships between parties and assessing the tone of their communications. These benefits can be obtained in every eDiscovery matter that involves email—which is to say every eDiscovery matter—regardless of size or scope.
If your existing eDiscovery solution doesn’t enable email threading, you can do better. Contact us to learn more.