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First of all, if you don’t know what a .PST is, it’s a personal storage file used to store any data within an email account. For example, email messages, calendar events, and anything the email account retains.
When you are given a .PST file to review for a case, you are often looking for a keyword or phrase and maybe a date filter. For many litigation professionals, it seems easiest to just load the .PST file into outlook and review from there. But what if you have thousands or tens of thousands of emails to review. It becomes unmanageable and messy. If you have multiple people reviewing, it can become difficult to keep track of what has been reviewed and what has not. You will need to create your own privilege log to keep track of what is responsive, and when you finally have completed the review, your client will be billed for the countless hours you and your colleagues have spent reviewing just one .PST file.That’ll be hard to explain to the client.
Additionally, you have to consider that the metadata can be changes when you are reviewing through outlook. Metadata is basically the data that describes the data.If you load this .PST into your own personal outlook, you can change the information regarding the emails. For example, say that your client has an important email in his or her inbox that has not been read. This could be key piece of evidence if he or she never read the email but the moment you open the email to review it yourself, you have lost that piece of evidence. Lastly, depending on the system at your law firm, the clients emails could end up on your automatic backup system which would combine the data with other firm data. This will definitely alter the metadata and cause further issues.
Depending on the case, there could be many different softwares required to review some attachments. For example, in many construction cases there are different drawing softwares usd that you may not have and some of those softwares cost some serious money. In this case it would be ridiculous to buy the software to be able to review one attachment that may not even be useful to the case.
Another interesting thing about a .PST file is that it can become enormous once expanded. A .PST file is like a zip file in the way that it compresses and contains the emails. But a .PST file can grow more than three times the size or more of the original .PST. This can lead to a lack of internal storage space at your firm which can lead to more problems like slowing down your computer immensely.
Culling your data can be extremely beneficial and cause for a more efficient review. Culling is the process of removing data that is clearly irrelevant to your case. For example, creating a date filter or searching for key terms or phrases. Another part of this culling process includes the process of deduplication. Through the use of deduplication software, you can exclude the duplicates and save a substantial amount of review time.
The solution for the many issues that have been presented is to get in contact with an e discovery specialist at Lit & More to discuss your options to load your PST file into a review platform for the easiest review possible.