Context Panel: View and Batch Code Related Documents in Review Window

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What is the context panel?

The context panel allows you to quickly identify and view documents that are related to the document you are currently viewing. There are six contexts, or types of document relationships, that are shown in the context panel:

  • Duplicates and near-duplicates: Everlaw displays duplicates down to 95% similarity.
  • The next is the file path explorer view.  You can explore the parent folders, or directories, that contain the document you are currently viewing. If the document you are viewing is part of a family, you can also see the attachment family in this view.
  • Email threads: If your document is an email that is part of a larger email chain, you can see other emails in the chain along with any attachments to those emails.
  • Versions: You can see different versions of the document, if any (translated versions of foreign language documents, produced and pre-produced documents, etc.).
  • Clustering: You can see conceptually similar documents in this context.
  • Linked documents: You can see outbound links to and backlinks from from the document you are viewing

NOTE: If a user is subject to Document Access Management, documents they do not have access to will not appear in the context panel.

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Where is the context panel and how is it organized?

The context panel is located on the left side of the review window. The right edge of the panel contains icons that allow you to navigate to different contexts. By default, the context panel is collapsed when you first open the review window.

  • To open the context panel, click on any of the icons.
  • To collapse the context panel, click the “←” icon in the upper right corner of the context panel.
  • To undock the context panel, click the “undock” icon to the right of the collapse icon. Undocking will allow you to drag the context panel to another position in the review window.

Within each context (duplicates, attachment families, file path/attachments, email threads, versions, clustering, linked documents), you can see a list of the documents in that context. If there is a parent document of any context it is listed at the top. You can also distinguish the status of documents in the context panel using the following convention:

  • The document you are currently viewing will have a blue background.
  • The document that you first opened can be distinguished by the blue bookmark icon.
  • Documents you have already viewed will have a gray background.
  • Documents you have not yet viewed will have a white background.

Clicking on a document will pull up the content, metadata, and review information (coding, rating, bindering, etc.) in the review window. This allows you to quickly review documents related to the one you originally opened. Changing to a different context will automatically switch the displayed content and information to that of the original document you opened.


On occasion, you might want to open a document family in a new search based on the context you are currently viewing.  Instead of building a new search to retrieve the document family, you can click on the magnifying glass icon in the context panel.  This will open the group you are viewing as a new search. Your current and previous searches will be saved as search cards on the homepage, so you don't have to worry about losing your previous search.  

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Applying the same review decisions to all documents within a context

You may want to code some, or all, of the documents in a particular context the same for the purposes of consistency. Project admins can configure auto-code rules to automatically apply codes from certain categories to all documents in a certain context. You will know if auto-code rules have been set up for a given context if there is a sparkle icon on the context.


You can view all of your project’s auto-code rules by clicking the wand icon in the Codes tab.


If auto-code rules are set up, the specified codes will be automatically applied to all documents in the context when applied to at least one document in the context. For more information about reviewing with auto-code rules, please see this help article.
If auto-code rules have not been set up for your desired review changes, y
ou can modify all documents in a context via the “Modify # docs” button, which appears at the bottom of the panel. Please note that you must have the Context Panel Updates permission to see this option. To select documents to apply the group action to, click on the three-dot menu in the top right of the context panel and select “Show Checkboxes.” By default, all documents in a context are selected and will be affected by the group action. You can deselect any documents that you do not wish to affect. You can also choose “Select All” or “Select None” from the three-dot menu when checkboxes are shown. If you want to see any duplicates that may be included in the batch update, simply expand the duplicates by clicking the "# dupes" link on the document label(s).


Clicking the “Modify # docs” button will bring up the batch coding panel. The panel is prefilled with the current coding status of the original document you opened. You can add labels into one of two categories: add or remove. Labels in the “add” category will be applied to the documents while labels in the “remove” category will be removed if they are applied to the documents the group action is affecting.


To select a label to add, click once on the label in the body of the coding panel; to select a label to remove, click twice on the label. The labels will appear in the correct category in the summary at the top of the coding panel. In addition, you can visually distinguish the status of labels using the following convention:

  • Labels with a gray background will not be applied to the document(s) once the changes are executed and saved.
  • Labels with white backgrounds and green text/outlines will be added to the document once the changes are executed and saved.
  • Labels with white backgrounds and red text/outlines will be removed from the document once the changes are executed and saved.

Once you are done selecting your combination of labels, click “apply” to save your changes.  A notification will appear to let you know that your changes have been applied.

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The duplicates context

To view the duplicates context, click on the duplicates icon.


The duplicates context displays duplicate documents down to 95% similarity. Next to the Bates number of each document, you can see the degree of similarity to the document you originally opened. The numbers underneath the duplicates icon display, first, the count of exact duplicates, and then the count of near duplicates. A near duplicate is defined as a document that has a similarity percentage of 95% or more relative to the document you originally opened.


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The attachment family and file path explorer context

Let’s say that you recently reviewed an email, and found that it was a highly responsive document. You might also be interested in viewing some of the other emails that were uploaded along with it. After all, if a certain email is relevant, there’s a good chance that other emails associated with its custodian or contained in the same dataset are relevant as well.

You can explore a document’s file structure in the review window by using the explorer tab in the context panel. The path explorer icon looks like a folder and will appear automatically for a document that has no attachments. If a document has attachments, the attachments icon (paper clip) will be visible.

Clicking on the path explorer icon will display your document among the other members of its subdirectory. If your document has attachments, an attachments icon, shaped like a paperclip, will be visible initially, instead of the path explorer icon. Clicking on it will display any attachments associated with the document you are viewing. 


If your document has multiple attachments, you will be able to sort the attachments by name or file type.


To start navigating through your document’s directory, click on the navigation bar near the top of the context panel. This bar will display the name of the subdirectory that you are currently in. For a document with attachments (for example, an email with attachments) the subdirectory is the parent document itself. For a document without any attachments, the navigation bar will display the subfolder that contains the document you are viewing.


Clicking on the navigation bar will also prompt a menu that displays the entire file path for the document that you are currently viewing. The top directory will correspond to the custodian that was assigned upon upload to the dataset containing your document. The next-level directory will correspond to the name your dataset was assigned when it was uploaded to Everlaw. Neither the custodian nor the dataset fields will be present in your documents’ file path values, since they were not part of the dataset’s original file structure, but they have been made visible in the navigation menu so that you can explore various datasets linked to the same custodian.

You can click directly on a subdirectory name to be taken there, or navigate upwards through parent directories by clicking on the “up” arrow. You can also click on the “back” arrow to return to your previous location. Finally, you can click “Go to original Doc" in the bottom right corner of the navigation menu in order to return to the document you were originally viewing.


Navigating to a parent directory will display the contents of that directory. This may be a list of documents or subfolders, or a mix of both. A button by the name of the subfolder will display the number of documents it contains. A similar button will also appear by documents that contain attachments.


You can click on a subfolder or document family to display it in the context tab. Clicking on an individual document will display that document in the review window. If you have navigated upwards through several layers of parent directories, you will need to drill down through the various layers to return to the subdirectory that you were originally viewing. However, you can always navigate back to the document you originally opened by clicking “Go to original Doc." 

If a document has duplicates on Everlaw, a tooltip saying "[x] other paths” will appear when you hover over that document in the navigation tab. You can click on the help text to view a list of the document’s duplicate paths, and select a path to view that copy of the document.


If you open a subdirectory or document family that contains many folders or documents, you may see that the contents have been divided into groups. Each group is identified by an italicized bracket. The groups appear because the Context Panel is best equipped to display folders or directories that contain fewer than 100 items. If a folder or directory contains more than 100 items, an extra level of virtual directories is created, and the items are organized alphabetically or numerically into the directories based on their first character(s). These virtual directories will be indicated by helptext at the top of the directory list that indicates that your folders or documents have been grouped. When viewing these vitrual directories, you will be unable to search on the set of documents. Instead you will have to navigate to the parent folder to search for all documents in the folder.


NOTE: If a user is subject to Document Access Management, they will not have access to the file explorer context.

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The email threading context

To view the email threading context, click on the envelope icon. Email threads are displayed in chronological order, with the first email in the thread appearing at the top.


Attachments can be viewed within the email thread as well. This gives you a truer sense of the context of your email thread and its components.


Attachments will always appear below their parent email, as seen above (#1437.1 and #1438.1 are attachments to Robyn’s email). You can also quickly tell how many attachments and emails there are in an email thread by looking at the numbers below the email threading icon. The number to the left of the line is the number of emails and the number to the right of the line is the number of attachments. In the example above, there is one email in the thread and two attachments.

The email threading context also shows duplicate emails and their attachments. Duplicate emails are displayed underneath the original email, and will have the word "dupe" by the bates number. You can collapse or expand the list of duplicate emails by pressing the blue link at the bottom of the original document card that tells you how many dupes of itself exists.


In addition, Everlaw can also detect and display the existence of “extracted emails.” “Extracted” emails are emails that appear somewhere in the body of the email chain, but were not produced as standalone documents in your document set. For example, let’s say James emails his team, and that email is produced. Jo replies all to James’s email, but that email is not produced. Adam then replies to Jo’s email, and his reply is produced. Because the content of Jo’s email is present in the produced version of Adam’s email, Everlaw knows of its existence, and displays it as an extracted email.


Below is an example of an extracted email:


In the example above, the email preceding Bruce’s message to Phillip was not produced, but its content is present in Bruce’s email.

Everlaw’s email threading displays both replies to, and forwards of, the original email. Anytime an email is replied to or forwarded to new recipients, it creates a new branch distinguished by colored bands at the left edge of the email.


The parent email of the above thread, for example, is an email that Karen sent to Jeff. Jeff replied in the thread. Later on, Joseph replied separately to both Jeff and Karen’s emails. Joseph’s reply to Karen, which occurred sometime after Jeff’s reply to Karen, has a pink band and is located on a separate branch of the thread. This signifies that Karen’s original email (the “parent email”) has branched into two conversations: Jeff-Joseph and Karen-Joseph.

This color-coding and branching can be highly useful if you have to keep track of complex threads that involve many replies to a parent email.


In the thread shown above, the parent email, from Dana Davis, has several replies. Each separate reply, including Brian’s two separate replies and the extracted email replies, is color-coded with a different band.. (The first chronological response/forwarding of a parent email is always colored the same as the parent email, regardless of who the sender is.) Brian’s earlier reply, colored with a baby blue band, received two separate replies from Dana. To show that Brian-Dana 1 and Brian-Dana 2 are two separate conversations, each exchange has a differently-colored band (Brian-Dana 1 is colored baby blue, while Brian-Dana 2 is colored bright purple).

As with documents in the other context panel views, individual emails in a thread will receive colored bands on the right side of the email once they have been rated. In the example below, Wendy's email has been rated Warm, which is why an orange band is displayed to the right of the email.


You can highlight inclusive emails by checking the “highlight inclusive emails” box below the list of documents. Inclusive emails are the minimum set of emails that creates the most "complete" email content in the thread. This set might comprise one email that is inclusive of all the thread's content, or it might comprise multiple emails that together create the set. Often it comprises only the last email in the branch, and all previous emails appear in the body of that document. This inclusiveness calculation also accounts for attachments included in a thread.

When you highlight the inclusive emails, the labels of non-inclusive emails will become grayed out. This will identify the set of emails that would need to be viewed to cover the entire email thread. Reviewing inclusive emails can drastically cut down on the number of emails you have to review.


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The versions context

You can access the versions context by clicking on the clock icon. The versions context allows you to pull up different versions of the same document. This can include pre-produced and produced versions, original and translated versions, etc. You can see a count of the total different versions of a particular document by looking at the number below the versions icon.


When you produce documents on Everlaw, your original and produced version can be viewed here as well. For more information on producing your own documents on Everlaw, view our production articles

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The Clustering Context

In the Clustering Context, you can see all documents predicted to be conceptually similar to the document you’re viewing in the review window. To view the Clustering context, click the Clustering icon. 


Clustering works by using TF-IDF to determine the relative frequency of words and metadata across all documents in your database. Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) is then used to simplify and reduce the number of comparison points across all of these words. The output of this method produces “nearest neighbors,” which are all of the documents considered most conceptually similar to the one you’re viewing. 

By default, the top ten most similar documents (by relative term frequency) are listed in the Clustering context. You can click “Show more documents’ to reveal the next ten most similar documents. 

You can run a search for all Clustering neighbors by clicking the magnifying glass in the context panel. Note that we do not currently support the ability to sort by similarity to the origin document in the results table.

Clicking “Show origin document in Clustering” will take you to where that document is visualized on the Clustering page. The document will be selected and you will be zoomed in to the respective area on the Clustering page. 


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The linked documents context

A common ediscovery challenge with modern communication is documents often include links to cloud-hosted documents or objects as references. For example, an email might ask the recipient to add suggestions to a draft contract and link to a Google Doc. These are uniquely different from attachments because they are not contained within the email or document itself. Instead, they’re stored somewhere else like Google Drive or Box. Links may be challenging to work with since it is not clear from the link itself whether there is a corresponding document in the database. This makes it hard to understand the context of the conversation and perform an effective review. Everlaw’s linked documents context meets this challenge by making linked document relationships easier to understand and follow during review for processed and natively uploaded documents. 

From the linked documents context you can see any backlinks (links to this document from others) or outbound links (links from this document to others) related to the document you are viewing. An outbound link signifies that the text of the document contains a link to a cloud-hosted document. If the referenced document has also been collected through an Everlaw connector then the document will be viewable. If not, then you’ll see a “missing reference” representing the linked document.


In this image the Box, Google Meet, Sharepoint, and Zoom Room links identified do not have an associated document on the platform. The Google Drive link does.


Backlinks identify that there is a document that references the document you are viewing via a link. Only documents collected through an Everlaw connector will show backlinks. Backlinks will only ever appear if the originating document is included in your database.


When identifying links, the platform will capture a unique identifier associated with the document and the application. When collecting the referenced document through a cloud connector Everlaw will identify the unique identifier and use it to link the two documents. This means that even if documents are uploaded at different times, the links will still be recognized. Everlaw will be able to identify links from:

  • Google Drive
  • Google Vault
  • OneDrive
  • Sharepoint
  • Box

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