Master voluminous discovery productions with database management system

Recently, I received a voluminous pdf document production in a federal business case involving a large institution. There was no apparent organized chronology to the production, making it extremely difficult to parse, analyze, and assemble for depositions.

Fortunately, I am a long-time user of Microsoft Access.

Microsoft Access is a useful tool for litigators handling bulk discovery productions. It essentially is a spreadsheet database, but with more capabilities than standard spreadsheet programs.  Think of Access as a much more robust version of Microsoft Excel.

There are also free database management systems available, such as OpenOffice Base.

With Access, you can set up a variety of data fields, covering virtually any kind of information that may be contained in a discovery production.

Inputting the data can be time-consuming. I try to input the data in real time as I make my substantive review, thus getting the most out of my expended time.

Once the data in entered, the possibilities for extracting, analyzing and formatting the data are extensive. Using the program’s “query” function, you will have powerful sorting capabilities, can perform arithmetic computations, use other formulas, and prepare reports that collect and present the data in meaningful ways.

In addition, you can prepare pleadings and other forms that will automatically insert data into the document as specified.

While there is an initial learning curve for use of a database management system, the results are well-worth the investment of time. Consider including this skill in your arsenal for your next big case.