Despite the increasing prevalence of electronic discovery (eDiscovery) for the discovery of evidence in response to a request for production in a lawsuit or investigation, many people are still confused about what it encompasses.
The primary function of eDiscovery is to identify and organise data to ensure that the litigation review process runs accurately and efficiently.
It is a two-stage process. Firstly, it involves identifying, collecting and producing Electronically Stored Information (ESI) including emails, documents, presentations, databases, voicemail, audio and video files, social media and web sites, etc. Secondly, the conversion and production of hard copy evidence into electronic format.
The Importance of Consulting
An important part of this process is matter consulting and project management. A Consultant can assist with assessing key challenges and establishing a solution including timelines and costs. They act as a guide for the entire document management process and keep the litigation document management on track.
The Role of Digital Forensics
Litigation or regulatory response can involve large scale data audit, establishing and improving the data governance process and developing strategy to preserve and collect the data. Digital Forensic specialists have the expertise to provide support at audit stage or in response to court dictated discovery or investigatory requests.
During the data collection process, Digital Forensics experts can assist with tailoring a forensics collection workflow, collection auditing and staff augmentation needs for collections. Assisted self-collection using preconfigured devices (to collect certain folders, files types, etc) and other remote collection services are also a possibility.
The Impact of Analytics
Analytics can be used to identify the key facts of the case early on. Unlike traditional keyword searches, analytics is based on how and where ideas and concepts intersect with similar ideas and concepts in a document collection. It can make predictions on relevancy based on input and change how reviews are run.
There are an array of analytics tools to choose from including email threading, grouping conceptually similar documents, communication analysis, near duplicate identification or technology assisted review (TAR). These tools create unique workflows that match the needs of a given project - whether it’s investigating the merits of a claim, sorting data into key issues or preparing evidence for litigation.
Analytics tools not only reduce how many documents need to be reviewed, they also ensure key documents are identified much faster and early on in the case.
Early Case Assessment – an Early Snapshot
Early Case Assessment (ECA) provides a comprehensive understanding of the available evidence and data at the early stages of a matter. The risks and costs of pursuing a particular legal course of action can be estimated.
Using analytics and search features, the legal team can quickly identify the relevant issue, key people and gaps in email communications, and identify patterns and trends in the data which will assist in making informed decisions.
TAR – Increasing Efficiency
Technology Assisted Review (TAR), also known as predictive coding, can dramatically reduce the time and cost of eDiscovery review projects by reducing the amount of documents requiring human review.
The process uses computer algorithms to categorise large amounts of documents based on decisions made by human reviewers on a subset of documents, for accurate and precise review. The method is efficient, low risk, and cost and time effective.
The TAR technology continuously learns from human review decisions, refining its understanding of what’s responsive and what’s not as the human review progresses, actively pushing documents most likely to be relevant to the front of the review queue. TAR also identifies irrelevant documents that can be excluded.
Continuous active learning is the latest form of TAR and has minimal set up and human input. There are no training sets or manual batching of documents. Reviewers simply log in, enter a review queue and start reviewing the most relevant data. As the review queue is continuous, administrators can easily monitor the results.
MDR – Scalable Solutions
The bulk of litigation costs are usually tied up in the review of discovery documents. An experienced Managed Document Review team can provide scalable support from qualified review experts, equipped with the latest legal technology solutions.
A MDR team can provide support with projects ranging from discovery reviews and investigations, to complex and time-restricted regulatory responses, and unique applications such as data-cleansing, contract review and cataloguing of office data.
Our MDR team in India and our Australia-based Project Management team provide in-house legal teams around the world available 24/7, all year round. Our teams provide support to our clients in the United States, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
For further information ediscovery services in Asia, please contact:
Sarah Bell Director, Law In Order Hong Kong