Early Case Assessment Databases

Table of Contents

Introduction to Early Case Assessment

Early in the litigation review process, you likely have a large number of documents you have collected and uploaded as native data. At this stage, you might have a sense of search terms to apply to your data (such as keywords, dates, or custodians) but you probably don’t have enough information to assign documents out for review. To help determine which documents to prioritize in review, Everlaw offers dedicated Early Case Assessment (ECA) projects with Search Term Reports and Data Visualizer, among many other ECA tools. These can help you identify documents that are likely to be relevant to your matter.

ECA Database Workflow Overview

To help with the costs associated with hosting large amounts of data, only a portion of which will need to be reviewed, Everlaw offers ECA databases. These databases contain both a limited-functionality ECA project and at least one full-functionality review project. ECA projects have a limited feature set, described below, that is targeted specifically toward the ECA stage of a matter. In an ECA database, the ECA project is the complete project, and all review projects are partial projects.

Once you have used the ECA project to identify at a high level the documents that should be reviewed, you can promote batches of documents to one or more review projects in the ECA database. Documents housed in the ECA project but not in a review project are billed at a lower rate than documents housed in both.

Feature availability in ECA 

All Everlaw features are available within review projects in an ECA database. ECA projects have limited functionality. 

The following features are available in ECA projects, though they may have modified functionality. 

The following features are not available in ECA projects.

Creating an ECA Database

To create an ECA database, you must be an Organization Administrator. Create a database on the Organization Administrator page and select ECA as the database type.


When creating the ECA database, you will see the option to copy project settings from existing projects. ECA projects can only use other ECA projects as templates, and review projects can only use other review projects as templates. The only available settings to copy in ECA projects are Permissions and Users, Metadata, Review, Search Term Reports, and Project Defaults. 

Once you have selected a project to copy settings from, you can click the dropdown or uncheck “Include all project settings” to expand the full menu. Deselecting any checkbox will prevent those settings from transferring to your new project. Please note that anything that depends on a deselected or excluded setting will not be copied to your project. To learn more about project templating, please visit this article.

To migrate an existing database to an ECA database, you must be an Organization Administrator and your organization must have migration permissions. Please contact Everlaw Support if you are interested in migrating databases to ECA.

To migrate, navigate to the Organization Administrator page. Click the three-dot menu next to the database you wish to convert and select "Migrate to ECA".


When the database has been converted to an ECA database, a new ECA project will be added to the database. Because ECA projects must be complete projects, all documents in the database will automatically added to the ECA project. However, existing work product will not be automatically added to the documents in the ECA project.

The existing projects will be converted to review projects and all work product will be preserved there.

Using the ECA Project

When you are on an ECA project, you will notice several differences. There will be an ECA label near the case name and the menu bar will show fewer icons. To upload documents, click on the upload icon to the right of the home icon. From there, you can upload processed or native documents.

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Once you have documents in your ECA project, you can run searches based on metadata (such as Custodian or Date) and keywords. From there, you can promote documents to review projects in the ECA database to access full Everlaw functionality. 

ECA project settings and permissions

To edit project settings in ECA, click on the Project Management icon and select Project Settings from the dropdown, just as you would in a review project.


From the Project Settings page, you can add users and groups. The only permission settings available in ECA are document access management settings. Users can either be in the Admin group, which exists by default and has access to all documents, or a user-created restricted group, which is created by you and has access to a limited set of documents. Please note that any non-Admin groups will also not be able to access search term reports, clustering, analytics, uploads, and project settings, since these features require full document access permissions.

To create a restricted permissions group, click on the "New group" button at the top right of the page. Then go to the Document Access Management tab. From the Document Access Management tab, restrict the group's permissions on certain documents.


From Project Settings, you can also edit metadata settings, see the statuses of active or completed tasks, and change general settings for your project, including email notifications, multifactor authentication, full-screen review default, timezone, date and time format, and default page size. You can also turn on machine translation and add expected languages.


Note that a user's database permissions, configured in Database Settings, also apply to ECA projects within that database. For example, a user with Upload permissions on the database can upload documents to an ECA project even if they are not in the Admin group in the ECA project.

Promoting documents

The action of adding a document to a review project from the ECA project is called “promotion.” In order to promote documents, you must be a user on both the ECA and review project. Furthermore, you must have at least partial project document management permissions on the Review Project, or be a project admin on the review project.

Open a results table containing the documents you wish to promote. Click the Batch icon on the toolbar and then select Promote. You will have to apply a promotion code to documents that you upload. This will help you keep a record of why certain documents were promoted. 


If you try to promote an incomplete document family, you will see a Broken Family warning before promotion. Specifically, the warning will appear if you attempt to promote a parent document but not all of its attachments, or an attachment document without its parent and all other attachments.


The Broken Family warning dialog, shown above, will contain links to two sets of documents.  

  • Selecting the “4” will allow you to view the list of document(s) in the promotion set missing family members.
  • Selecting the “18” will allow you to view the list of the missing document(s) themselves.

To include the detected missing family members in the promotion set, the user can simply select the checkbox in the dialog, then click “Continue” to complete the promotion workflow.

If a user with restricted permissions attempts to promote a broken family, but does not have access to restricted family members, the warning message will indicate that. Users will not be able to promote any documents they cannot access, and should reach out to a user with full permissions on the ECA project to promote those restricted documents instead.


Documents can be promoted to any number of review projects with different promotion codes for each project, but all promotion codes applied to a document will appear together on the ECA project. This means that if you are promoting documents to Project A with the Custodian promotion code and promoting documents to Project B with the Date Range promotion code, the documents in the ECA project will have both promotion codes. There will be no indication of which code was used to promote the documents to which project. 


Once documents have been promoted, you can search by promotion code or by project membership to see which documents have been promoted. 

Demoting documents

To demote documents, you must remove them from all review projects in the database. Removing documents from ECA review projects is the same as removing documents from partial projects in normal databases.

Demoting a document will permanently delete the work product associated with it, including codes, ratings, redactions, highlights, notes, Story description and relevance, and more. However, if a document is demoted and then re-promoted, the Document History tab will display information from the previous promotion, including codes and ratings previously applied. Additionally, edited metadata will be preserved on re-promotion.

Select the documents you want to demote in the results table of a review project, then click the Batch icon in the toolbar. Select "Add to or remove from project."


In the dialog that appears, select the project from which you want to remove the documents, select "Remove," and then click "Remove documents." To demote the documents, you will need to repeat this process for all review projects to which the documents have been promoted.


Please note that once documents have been promoted, they will be counted towards the billable active data total for the current month. Demoting documents will not affect billable size until the next month. To be counted towards the lower ECA rate, documents must be only in the ECA project for the entire month.

Adding documents to binders

To add documents to binders, create a binder on the homepage of your ECA project. Then, click the Batch button from the results table and select “Add to or remove from binder”. You can also add a new binder at this step. 

From there, you can apply a binder to or remove a binder from your documents by clicking the binder name twice. Binders will function the same as they do on a review project. You will have to affirmatively share your binder or add it to a shared homepage folder for it to be accessible to other users.



In addition, you have the ability to copy binders from an ECA project to a Review project for any given set of documents. Copying over binders supports the organization of promoted documents by ensuring that all documents in the review project belong to the same binders as the ECA project. 

This action can only be done if at least one document from the Results Table has already been promoted to the review project. When copying over binders, Everlaw will inform you of how many documents match this criteria. 

Note that if a single document has been added to multiple binders, all binders will be copied over to the review project. You are unable to specify which binder will be copied over.

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Auditing promoted documents 

You can see a record of each promotion that has taken place on the Promotion Activity page under User Activity. Every promotion is displayed alongside information about who promoted the documents and when, the description of the search used, the promotion codes applied, and which projects the documents were promoted to. There are also two additional columns that allow you to view the count of documents that match the search. The first column shows the documents that were actually promoted at the date in the row. The second column represents the documents that currently match the search. These numbers could differ, for example if you uploaded new documents after the first promotion that match the search. 

Documents uploaded directly to a review project will not appear in the Promotion Activity table.

By clicking the export button in the upper right, you can download a CSV with all the promotion information represented in the table. 


ECA billing

Any document that is in a review project will have its size added to the review size bucket. If a document is not in any review project, its size will contribute to the ECA size bucket. You can view size totals on the Organization Administrator Database Sizes page.


On the Project Size tab of the Analytics page, you can see the project sizes of the individual projects as in any Everlaw database.

Using the Review Project

Review projects in an ECA database are identical to any standard partial project on Everlaw, with the following exceptions:

  • Documents added to the review project via promotion from an ECA project will display the promotion code in the Document History tab. Note that you must have permissions on the ECA project to see the promotion code in the review project. 


  • Documents uploaded directly to the review project (without being promoted from the ECA project) will also be uploaded to the ECA project with the Uploaded Directly promotion code.uploaded_directly_eca.png
  • Documents created via production or unitization will also be uploaded to the ECA project with a Produced or Unitized promotion code.produced_unitized.png
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