Reviewing documents in the context of their file structure can be a valuable way to find additional responsive documents. In other words, if you find a responsive email while reviewing documents, it’s possible that other documents belonging to that email’s custodian are responsive as well.
You can use Everlaw search to retrieve documents according to their file path or directory. Additionally, the file path explorer, located in the context panel of the review window, allows you to view documents along with their attachments and within the context of their file structure. You can use the explorer’s navigation menu to explore the original document’s parent directories.
What are file paths?
Documents are stored on computers in a hierarchy of folders. You can find a document on a computer’s drive by clicking through layers of folders, or by entering the document’s file path. The file path shows the progression of directories or folders that you need to travel through to arrive at the document you’re looking for. Each directory or folder is separated by a slash or backslash.
Documents are typically uploaded onto Everlaw as part of a compressed or ZIP folder. They are often located in subfolders within the compressed folder. When the documents are uploaded, each one is assigned a file path value, based on its custodian and its location in the ZIP folder that contains it. In other words, the ZIP folder hierarchy is preserved when the documents are uploaded onto Everlaw.
A sample Everlaw file path is:
This file path leads to the document “Jan_meeting.doc.” From the file path, you can see that:
- “important_documents.zip” is the top-level directory.
- “John Smith” is a subfolder contained within “important_documents.zip.” (ZIP files and other container files processed by Everlaw will be separated from the next-level subfolder by two slashes. File paths for non-Everlaw-processed documents may not reflect this convention.)
- “Notes” is a subfolder contained within “John Smith.”
- “Jan_meeting” is a document contained within “Notes.”
Searching for documents based on file path
There are two ways to search for documents based on file path in Everlaw.
Metadata search term:
One way is by using the Metadata search term and selecting the File Path parameter. You can then insert a text string to search for documents whose file path matches or contains that text string. This option is best used when you are searching for specific documents whose file path you are sure about, or if you are searching for documents that contain a particular phrase or text string, such as “John Smith,” anywhere in their file path.
Please note that you should leave the Exact box unchecked when using this term, unless you are searching for an exact file path. To learn more about exact and non-exact metadata searches, please see the searching metadata article.
File path search term:
There is also a separate File Path search term, which you can use to filter File Paths by custodian and dataset. Start by clicking the File Path search term. Specify a custodian, then choose a dataset associated with that custodian. Then, fill in the rest of the file path. Suggestions for subfolders will automatically appear as you type in the file path. When you have reached the subfolder or document you wish to look within, click Begin Review to see a list of the documents retrieved by your search.
To read more about searching on Everlaw, see the articles in our search section.
Exploring file paths in the review window
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. This tab looks like a folder and will appear automatically, in place of the attachments tab, for a document that has no attachments.
If a document has attachments, the attachments tab will be visible. Clicking on it will display any attachments associated with the document you are viewing, and will also display a navigation bar for the document’s directory. The navigation icon will appear once you begin navigating through the directory.
To read more about exploring file paths in the review window, see the context panel article.