Email threading saves time in document review

by | Aug 7, 2018 | Analytics, eDisclosure, eDiscovery

Analytics in eDiscovery can help you gain efficiency in your review and locate key documents more quickly so you are able to make informed case strategy decisions earlier in the case. 

Our first section focuses on email threading:

Email threading is one of the most well-known and widely used eDiscovery analytics tools. There is good reason for this, as it can cut review time down substantially, in some cases up to 60 percent.

The Radicati Group estimated there were 269 billion emails produced daily in 2017, and it’s no secret that many of the documents in review sets are emails. Anything that can help organize those emails as well as reduce the number of emails needing review will give big gains to reviewers – both in time and cost savings.

Email threading takes emails and puts them back into the chain format. This may not sound very helpful, but remember that when documents are processed they are put in a database based on some criteria. Often they are organized by custodian. Think about when you send out a group email to your entire department. You have a copy of the email in your sent folder, and the 10 people who received it have a copy in their inboxes. Now there are 11 emails with the exact same content. Now think about all the scenarios that one email could start: a few people “reply all;” one person forwards the email on to someone in another department; someone else only replies to you but changes the subject line. Now there are a lot more emails, and some have different content, but they all have the same original content at the bottom. If all these emails got split up and were not organized in the database, reviewers could potentially review the same or similar content multiple times. Different reviewers might see only some of the emails, not allowing for efficiency in tagging or seeing the entire context of the email conversations, and those different reviewers would also be duplicating work by reviewing some of the same content.

With the email threading tool, emails are put back in order. The software also highlights some extra cues for reviewers, showing when a new contact gets added to a chain, when someone gets dropped from a chain, when a subject line changes, and when there is a missing email – showing the email that came before and the email that came after the missing email. One of the software tools LDM Global uses does this in a very visual way, color coding each scenario for reviewers.

Although the results vary based on the data set, this is a tool our clients find extremely useful. Some clients have seen reduction in emails needing review of 60 percent.

If you’re interested in learning more about email threading, other analytics tools or eDiscovery strategies, please contact us at