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Analyze This (and That): Sew Up Your Review with Email Threading


Mark Araujo

Project Manager
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Email threading is great for our personal lives. Without it, the reply to your friend’s BBQ invite with a question on what you should bring, and said friend’s reply of, “We have a lot of coleslaw, don’t bring coleslaw,” would be separated by four emails from companies you no longer cared about, two confirming purchases from Amazon, and one from your mom with a fantastic YouTube clip you just have to check out on the Seven Wonders of the World.

Messages spread throughout your inbox can make following an email conversation difficult, if not cause you to miss an email entirely. It makes sense that we’d want to read our emails in a logical fashion: my email, your reply, my reply, your reply, and so on.

Email threading takes on an even greater role in document review. It can bring increased efficiency and accuracy, reduction of your review population, and potential cost savings.  

How does the logical use of email threading facilitate more accurate and efficient reviews? A reviewer could make more sense out of a single email if they understood the context it held in an entire thread of emails. Additionally, it’s counterproductive to have one reviewer coding emails from Jane, and another reviewer coding emails from John, if Jane and John were communicating with each other in one email thread.

Reviewing emails that are not threaded can trigger increased questions from the review team and a longer review time, leading to higher costs. Email threading can help mitigate those issues by giving reviewers the full picture, allowing for coding decisions based on entire email conversations. This empowers reviewers to interpret context where necessary and make better, more accurate, coding choices.

Email threading can dramatically reduce your review population by identifying both inclusive emails, e.g. ones that include unique content or a full record of the conversation, and email duplicate spares, e.g. messages that are exact duplicates of another message, like a company update. Rather than reviewing 20 emails in a thread as individual documents, if inclusive emails are batched out, one document containing all the content can be reviewed, allowing for uniform decisions across the thread. For duplicate spares, they can either be removed from the review or coded consistently within their duplicate group. Just like the logical use, these culling mechanisms also increase review efficiency, leading to cost savings.

Additionally, the right team of experts can help you leverage email threading in less obvious ways. We recently worked on a project where the review workspace was already well over 5,000,000 documents before collections of new custodians. This meant adding thousands of additional records to the review workspace. After loading, we updated the existing email threading set to include these new documents and identified ones that were part of existing threads that had already been reviewed. This allowed our client to eliminate hundreds of these new documents before releasing them to the review team, saving time and money.

iDS’ experts can help walk you through the email threading process to determine potential benefits, as well as advise your review team on ways to optimize your review environment. Please feel free to contact me at maraujo@idiscoverysolutions.com to learn more.


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Please email Mr. Araujo at maraujo@idiscoverysolutions.com to discuss email threading and additional document review technologies and methodologies including TAR, as well as how the experts at iDS can assist with all your legal technology needs on your next case or internal investigation.




The opinions reflected in this post are solely those of the author, are for educational purposes to provide general information, and do not necessarily represent the views of iDiscovery Solutions (iDS), nor any current or former employee of iDS. Moreover, any references to specific litigation or investigation work or findings are fact-specific. This blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice. 


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