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What’s New, What’s Cool, What’s Coming in eDiscovery

AI is revolutionizing eDiscovery

Written By

Capsicum Group

If new technology could streamline legal service delivery by prioritizing time, saving money, and improving client results, would you use it? If so, it is time to embrace the changes happening at the intersection of law and technology.

New software, platforms, and communications systems are transforming the legal profession. Lawyers have already realized numerous ways to streamline their workflows using artifical intelligence. (Alan Turing is credited defining the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) when he speculated in 1950 about “thinking machines” that could reason at the level of a human being.  John McCarthy, first used the term “artificial intelligence” to denote machines that could think autonomously.) Today, AI applications are being used in legal case management, telecommunication, and legal research. 

In the field of eDiscovery, which has always existed at the intersection of law and technology, AI is being used to reduce the volume of potentially discoverable data through advanced algorithms. Here are some ways eDiscovery is changing. 

How eDiscovery has changed “What’s Cool”

eDiscovery technologies are revolutionizing the way attorneys work. In preparing cases, lawyers spend many hours sifting through documents to find relevant evidence. Today, most of these documents are digital. Evidence comes from email, mobile devices, database archives, IoT devices, and more. 

With AI, traditional functions are being replaced. For example, search terms are being replaced by AI interpretation of a body of documents and their associated lexicon instead. The system itself selects terms that are likely to be relevant and weighs their interpretation and impact. From there it creates batches and immediately culls, i.e., removes irrelevant data from the dataset. This can help reduce the noise and identify relevant data. These AI applications save time, effort, and, most significantly, money. 

eDiscovery growth is, in part, a reflection of digital growth in business. The expansion of data in modern businesses shows no signs of slowing down. Data continues to expand in greater volumes (i.e. gigabytes, terabytes, petabytes, exabytes, etc.) and in more comprehensive meaning. Commensurately, there is a steady increase in the volume and variety of online data each of us sees and uses (Slack, Snapchat, Teams, etc.).

The Latest “What’s New”

New technologies are becoming ingrained into the eDiscovery process. TAR, analytics, email threading, legal hold, are newly incorporated in most leading eDiscovery platforms. Predictive analytics and active learning, where software uses a litigant's or court's previous actions to make educated guesses about how data should be coded and categorized. These advancements are replacing traditional methods such as reading banker boxes of printed documents

eDiscovery tech is also benefiting other areas in legal practice. Cybersecurity-related cases and data protection to name two. The response to a cyber-related incident necessitates the need to identify data and is closely related to eDiscovery workflow. Typically, investigators or outside counsel need to find crucial data, track its dispersion, and determine accountability. These large volumes of data and their related analysis today take place in eDiscovery platforms.

Likewise, applications of eDiscovery technology are emerging in governance, risk, and compliance. Rather than being a resource exclusively for litigation, review tools like Relativity assist large organizations in positioning knowledge professionals to increase the searchability, retrievability, and management of essential business information. The proliferation, expansion, and diversity of data, coupled with expanding privacy and other regulations and better data accessibility, are being revolutionized by this new technology. 

The Outlook “What’s Coming”

The rapid rate and pace of technology will continue to change the eDiscovery industry, and we see data and usage growth continuing for the foreseeable future.

Pricing will continue to decline, even though data volumes are increasing. With the availability of this technology, people can do more with less. Processing speeds have increased, and the ability to cull through vast amounts of irrelevant data is a reality. Rather than needlessly accumulate expenses in late-stage document review (highly skilled and expensive professionals reading documents), AI-powered technology-assisted review will quickly prioritize relevant information and streamline. As attorneys, clients, and litigants continue to be more informed and proactive about data management practices and discovery costs, sound information governance will defend against broad sweeping discovery requests. Proactive investment in an eDiscovery program, rather than reactive collections with massive spending and risk, will become the norm. 

Access to on-line collections continues to improve. Data is more and more frequently stored in cloud-based environments, making the forensically sound acquisition of data more accessible. Corporate clients are equipping themselves with discovery tools, whether for initial collection, culling, and ECA which their counsel and partners can use.

The future holds and will require knowledge workers to change with the times and constantly learn and stay abreast of new technology. With this evolution, their primary focus will be leveraging technology trends to accelerate the EDRM process and more quickly identify relevant documents, improve the completeness, and reduce litigation support costs. This author believes that the days of manual paper reviews is coming to an end for attorneys and similarly skilled persons and as is often said when one door closes another opens.

About Capsicum

For your next ESI, forensic or cyber project, trust Capsicum Group, LLC.  Capsicum was founded in 2000 within the law firm of Pepper Hamilton, LLP. (now Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP.) Charged with providing technology consulting support to our clients, we soon realized that the need to understand, collect, and forensically analyze digital data went far beyond what most technology professionals delivered.

Our areas of expertise soon evolved and expanded into forensic investigations, cybersecurity, discovery, electronic recovery, technology security, regulatory compliance, and testimony. In 2002, Capsicum became an independent consulting company that began to focus on these core services. Employing high-caliber experts with a unique understanding of data, technology, and the law. We support organizations that need technological proficiency to run their companies when they come face-to-face with difficult tech, legal, and regulatory situations. Capsicum is based in Philadelphia, PA with offices in New York, Florida, Texas, and California.