Partially Privileged Emails

This technical note provides step-by-step instructions for handling partially privileged emails in order to code inconsistently for Privilege or Work-Product purposes.


As documents are reviewed and tagged it is possible for members of an email family to be inconsistently tagged for Responsiveness or Privilege. This is usually not desired and the producing party generally prefers all members of an email family be consistently tagged.

The Lexbe eDiscovery Platform (LEP) was purposely designed to code documents consistently, to make sure that when an email body or attachment is coded Privileged or Work-Product, then the entire family is consistently coded.  For example, if an email is tagged as Responsive and some of its attachments Privileged, the production validation feature will detect coding inconsistencies, and give the option to expand the entire email family to either just Responsive or Privilege. However, in the next paragraphs we explain two ways to manually separate the attachments from emails for privilege or work-product purposes.

LEP does not allow this to be overwritten as it would potentially allow inadvertent production of privileged information.  Most users do not want a system for production that could easily allow production of privileged information.

Cautions for Use

Document review and production should be handled by attorneys and experienced staff working on a case to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved prior to release to opposition.

Manually Separating Attachments from Emails

The user may either redact only the privilege portion of the document or re-upload to LEP the normalized PDF version of the email family separately.

Option 1: Redact Privilege Portion of the Email

The user may remove confidential, privileged or work-product information from documents to be produced. When documents are redacted within LEP or documents that have been redacted locally are uploaded, they will be displayed in the Document Viewer under the Redacted tab. Redact documents as follow:

1-From the Browse or Search pages, open the document to redact in the Document Viewer.
2-Once the file is opened from the Document Viewer,
go to Doc Tab>Redaction and click on the Open Redaction Editor hyperlink.
3-From the Redaction Editor Page, select the area to redact with the mouse. It should draw a gray box around the selection and automatically open the Edit Redaction Box.
4-In the Redaction Text, enter a custom message that can be saved, deleted or canceled.

5-Once the text or graphic has been covered, click the Save Redaction button and the area selected will display the redacted version of the file (see example below).
6-Code the document as Responsive, if it is to be produced. Only the redacted version of a document will be included in LEP productions under the PDF, TIFF, and TEXT sub-folders.  LEP automatically withholds the unredacted version of a document from the ORIGINALS sub-folder when produced.  

In LEP, the redaction displays a white overlay checkbox which the user may edit with the Redaction Text feature (e.g. Confidential), to display the reason for redaction on the redacted text.  This does not happen automatically.  Custom tag information will not automatically print on the redacted text.

If privileged information has been removed through redaction, the user may wish to use a redaction log to keep track of documents produced where privileged information has been removed.  A redaction log can also keep track of documents redacted for other reasons (e.g., confidentiality).  

Option 2: Download and then Re-upload the PDF versions of the Email Bodies and Attachments to be Separated

LEP automatically links the email bodies and attachments of MSG emails processing in the system. LEP does not allow for inconsistent coding, as described above, to protect the consistency of responsiveness and privilege coding.  If the user wishes to inconsistently code emails and attachments as privileged, and does not wish to redact as described in Option 1, the user may alternatively break the association of email bodies and attachments by downloading and then re-uploading the email and attachments in question.  This is a manual process.

The following is a description of steps to take to break an email family to allow for inconsistent privilege coding:

1-From the Browse or Search pages, select the entire email body and attachments to inconsistently code, download the PDF versions of each to a local computer.  The user may also download PDFs directly from the document viewer.

2-Once the PDF of each is downloaded, rename in such a way to easily track and associate together when re-uploaded.  As the built in association of the email family will be broken (to allow for inconsistent coding), the names should be associated.  For example, the following:
--   2014-01-01 Email from John Smith re Meeting  (for the body)
--   2014-01-01 Email from John Smith re Meeting, att 1 Itinerary (for the attachment 1)
--   2014-01-01 Email from John Smith re Meeting, att 1 Budget (for the attachment 2)

3-Upload these PDFs to the case, and transfer any metadata needed from the originals (e.g. Date Sent, From, To, Cc, Bcc, Subject, etc.)

4-Mark the body and attachments as needed for responsiveness and privilege.  These can be inconsistently coded.

5-Remove the Responsive and Privilege tags from the original emails as they are being handled with the PDF versions uploaded and downloaded. Remove the original emails from the production.

6-We recommend doing these one at a time to keep emails and attachments consistent.