The eDiscovery Paradigm has Shifted, Now What?
Technology leveraged solutions have set the blogosphere and the legal industry aflutter with promises of massive cost savings, lightning fast review and everything but the kitchen sink. Predictive coding, advanced analytics, algorithms and statistical analysis are rapidly reshaping the way that document review is conducted. But where does the talk stop and real results begin when it comes to practical application of these new technologies? More importantly, how much can an organization, considering the various solutions on the market, hope to save at the end of the day?
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Computer-Assisted Review
Nearly every practitioner in the eDiscovery space is familiar with the now infamous February opinion by Judge Andrew J. Peck in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe. This opinion paves the way for increasing utilization of advanced technologies to augment or replace traditional models of linear review. As a result, law firms and corporations no longer need to fear being penalized for using alternative non-linear technologies. Despite this green light, practitioners still need to carefully evaluate the spectrum of tools available, their tangible impact on a case and the potential risks and rewards that the technology poses.
In order to accurately analyze the risk-reward matrix for application of computer leveraged solutions, a practitioner must first understand several factors:
- What specific variation of computer leveraged solution is being prescribed?
- What savings in terms of time and money will be generated from this application?
- How likely or large are the risks posed by application of this technology?
Client Success Story
Computer-Assisted Review (CAR) in Action
Take a recent case study from a client that engaged Hudson Legal to assist in providing a global eDiscovery solution. There was an SEC investigation relating to a series of credit default swap transactions between a European utility company and three large financial institutions. The portfolios of these credit default swaps were under the management of our client under the terms of four separate portfolio management agreements. There was ongoing litigation relating to these swaps in the UK and Germany, when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a request for information surrounding these transactions. To add complexity to these efforts, there were four separate information custodians holding data regarding the transactions.
The client needed to promptly respond to a request for information, and execute discovery with multiple information custodians. They had obligation to provide the requested documents to the SEC quickly and with a minimum amount of unnecessary review of irrelevant documents. They had a further challenge in that the primary custodian of concern had a volume of data that exceeded the combined total of all other data in the case. Traditional eyes on every document review would have cost an estimated $175,000+ and would have entailed manually reviewing 363,000 documents.
The client needed an affordable and accurate way to deliver the requested documents to the SEC quickly, but the traditional linear solutions could not deliver…
To deliver a fast, efficient, and accurate review a bifurcated eDiscovery Solution was implemented. This solution utilized Relativity® computer-assisted review to quickly identify documents relevant to the SEC request, combined with linear review for the smaller document set obtained from multiple custodians.
In this case the risk of non-compliance with the SEC deadline and the potential for a single custodian to derail the entire review motivated the client to leverage computer-assisted review. This yielded a 49% cost savings over traditional linear review as well as substantial reduction in the time of review, with a 95% confidence level (+/- 2.5%). A total of 184,000 documents were ultimately reviewed with a net savings of 178,339 documents and $87,186.
So, Now What?
This solution was by no means simple, nor was it the equivalent of pushing an easy button and waiting for the 229 responsive documents to magically materialize out of the 363,000-document “haystack”. But it does demonstrate how, through thoughtful and selective application of technology, companies and firms can drastically reduce the number of documents that have to be manually analyzed. The two-tiered approach, coupled with statistical sampling, QC and validation create a defensible process in support of the overall application of computer-assisted solutions.
In a world that offers a wide spectrum of global eDiscovery solutions, the role of the practitioner and their eDiscovery solutions provider is central to the success of a computer-assisted document review. Advanced technology has the potential to save valuable time and resources, when deployed in a thoughtful and deliberate way. These technologies are only as effective as the practitioners wielding them, and should not be thought of in a vacuum but rather as an intersection of man and machine that, when optimized, is a time and cost efficient solution to global eDiscovery issues.