|Viewing large amounts of Tiff documents - ABA Lawtech Board|
|Question: It appears that there
are in fact ways to: 1) rename the files; 2) combine the files; and 3) use
a lit support software to actually manage all of the docs in a database.
The main issue now, as some pointed out, is to determine exactly what I want and need to do with these files. It turns out that there are more than 17,000 pages produced, much of which I am sure is irrelevant and provided to waste my time. Many of these files (at least what I have glanced through so far) appear to have been scanned from hard copies and to have been manually Bate Stamped before being scanned, but I will keep in mind the suggestion to check into their electronic archival systems. I am sure that I will need to use some or even many of the documents at trial, but I suppose that I may want to worry about renaming and organizing only the ones that I actually need to use and not be overwhelmed by the sheer number at this point. Maybe even renaming and sorting docs into new directories with name of directory describing docs inside.
My more immediate concern in deciding what I need to do is to determine how to best review these documents. The problem that I have is that it is much easier to cull through stacks of hard copies and set aside the irrelevant material than it is to view these pages on my computer screen one page at a time (which is a problem I have with attempting to create any sort of "paperless" office- although I have heard some say it is beneficial to at least create a "paper less" office instead). I am thinking that one option is to simply pay for them to copy each of the originals and provide me with hard copies; then I have the best of both worlds.
I normally deal with several thousand pages per case, but 17,000+ that have been produced in electronic form threw me a little. How do those who deal with this many discovery documents usually deal with them? I feel like I must be reinventing the wheel here.
|Answer (by Ted Brooks):
In response to your question regarding dealing with a large number of documents,
in addition to the oft-neglected possibility that you may indeed actually
end up in trial with all of this leads me to ask you to consider how do
you intend to present those documents during trial? You have two basic options,
those being binders and paper, or electronic.
One of the problems I run into (as one who prepares the trial presentation database and then presents it court, allowing the examining attorney to simply request exhibits for display) is that often the means ignores the end. That is to say that improperly identifying the documents at the time of imaging will often require the trial exhibits to be re-scanned in preparation for trial. This is a problem encountered often as a result of a general lack of understanding of (and/or, understandably, concern for) database structure/organization on the part of the scanning vendor and/or counsel. This can be avoided.
First, you must identify each and every document with its own unique numbering (e.g., Bates). Failure to follow an organized, accurate, and non-duplicative numbering system will simply cause the database to be unmanageable - particularly with larger volumes of documents.
Second, document breaks (where one exhibit ends and the next begins) must be determined prior to imaging, and every effort should be made to respect those breaks during depositions. Failure to do so will cause many fragmented versions of the same whole document, thus unnecessarily increasing the size of the database, while greatly decreasing manageability.
Finally, your case, as any other, is unique. Since you have received the documents in an electronic format, there are likely load files either included or available on request. This would enable you to directly load the documents, with their breaks and associated numbering directly into a database, such as Summation. Then, you would have the advantage of having those documents already organized for you. It is likely that you would be able to identify the logical structuring in place, and work from there. I would encourage you to include each and every image available. You never know what you might be able to find later in a search. An OCR (Optical Character Recognition) process may be run on the database, allowing you to search every document's text. This process would also assist you if you do prefer to work with hard copies, in that from looking at a hard copy, you would be able to quickly locate a document according to the Bates number or other text, which you could then search to locate within the database.
Then, should the matter go to a Hearing, Arbitration, or Trial, you will be able to easily transfer and utilize the documents and work-product you have generated in order to present your evidence electronically using TrialDirector (or other trial presentation software), as opposed to a less-efficient hard-copy trial.