Launch of the Information Governance Initiative

February 19, 2014

The most interesting topic of discussion at LegalTech 2014 was not some new technology nor the proposed revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but the launch of the Information Governance Initiative. That is certainly not to dismiss the technology at LegalTech – Equivio launched Equivio Zoom for Information Governance in the same week as the IGI, and Recommind’s Axcelerate 5 made its appearance at LegalTech for example – but the technology is servant to the objectives, and information governance is increasingly seen as the objective which matters; that is why Equivio and Recommind are among the supporters of the IGI.

The inspiration behind the IGI comes from the strong team which has assembled at Drinker Biddle & ReathBennett Borden, Jay Brudz and Jason Baron who, with Barclay Blair of ViaLumina and others, have long been the instigators of constructive thought about information governance.

What is information governance exactly? That is addressed in the description here of IGI’s mission, which lists thirteen key components of IG. None can deny their importance; it is evident too that things will be missed – benefits and opportunities as well as risks – if the management of information sits in thirteen separate silos within a corporation. Read the rest of this entry »

Washington and New York to Mitchell via privacy, Singapore and Lobachevsky

February 17, 2014

The problem with running a website which offers news and updates is that people notice when it lies silent – the essence of news is that it is new. In fact, I have never aspired to timeliness and, as I say often, if it is important now, it will be important in a month’s time. This post supplements a brief note which I put up last week. Most of it is about Washington and its wonderful memorials, about the week in New York with my panels on eDiscovery technology and privacy, and about the things which got in the way when I got home. That includes some ruminations on the fall-out from Mitchell v NGN, on the unpleasant and economically-illiterate thug who carries the proud title “Lord Chancellor” and his minions at the Ministry of Justice, and on the decline of London’s aspirations to be a forum of choice for international litigants, with side references to Hong Kong (where I go next) and Singapore. There is also a bit about plagiarism illustrated by Tom Lehrer. You get variety here, if not necessarily thematic consistency.

I was at LegalTech in New York, the biggest eDiscovery industry show in the world. This was my eighth LegalTech and I know the form by now – back-to-back meetings, a couple of panels to sit on, five party invitations every night, dinners with varying degrees of learning and entertainment thrown in, and someone to talk to round every corner. This year brought the added element of sudden snowfalls leading to deep pools of slush at every crossing, particularly tiresome when your meetings alternate between the Hilton on one side of Sixth Avenue and the Warwick Hotel on the opposite corner.

Our attempts, some four months earlier, to book hotel rooms were defeated by some sporting event which apparently drew most of the US population into New York for the weekend. The cost of flights to the US falls steeply if you include a Saturday, so we went first to Washington D.C. – “we” being me, my wife Mary Ann and our youngest son William. The weather was fine and, as always, we were drawn first to the war memorials. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to Iris Data Services as a sponsor of the eDisclosure Information Project

November 22, 2013

iris-data-services-logo-e1338417090529IRIS Data Services, a Kansas-based eDiscovery services provider with a world-wide footprint, has now opened in London. I am very pleased to welcome Iris as the latest sponsor of the eDisclosure Information Project.

IRIS was established in 2007 by President Major Baisden and VP of Sales Damon Goduto. It offers litigation support and eDiscovery services both on a per custodian, case-by-case basis and as managed services. One of its clients says of the latter that it “allows us to spend less time managing vendors and litigation technologies and more time doing what we do best, practising law”.

A quick look through the very comprehensive Iris web site shows a focus, above everything else, on data reduction, on project management and on costs control. It offers a range of culling options depending on requirements, all with the intent of reducing the volumes for review. Once culling is complete and volumes reduced, Iris applies some of the best tools in the market – Nuix, Equivio Near-duplicates and Email Threads, Relativity Analytics and Relativity Assisted Review (predictive coding) among others – to reduce volumes still further and to prioritise the documents so that the lawyers see them in order of presumed relevance.

The emphasis on project management and on predicting, controlling and tracking costs recurs throughout the Iris web site – if clients value lower costs (as they obviously do) they value also the absence of surprises which comes from predictions made by people who do this sort of thing all the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Talking and listening in Hong Kong with Epiq and Consilio

August 13, 2013

I was back in Hong Kong recently, my third trip there in recent months. The primary purpose of this visit was to deliver a talk to the Hong Kong Academy of Law in the company of Epiq Systems. I went to some law firms with Epiq and visited a couple of companies in the company of Consilio, who also arranged  a first-rate dinner. The result of a short visit is necessarily a snapshot, but that was my third such snapshot in a few months and they accumulate in value. It is a place which bears multiple visits.

The title of the talk at the Hong Kong Academy of Law was The Intersection of Law and Technology in eDiscovery. I shared the stage with Laura Kibbe, Managing Director of Expert and Professional Services at Epiq Systems – a treat for me, this, since Laura is one of the clearest exponents of the use of technology in discovery. We were introduced by Nick Chan, a partner at Squires Sanders in Hong Kong, who had arranged the invitation.


My role was to talk about the development of rules and practice in a range of jurisdictions which require civil discovery and (as the title of our talk implies) to show how technology developments and practical compliance with the rules intersect with and complement each other. By “complement”, I really mean that proportionate and defensible discovery cannot properly be given in compliance with the rules of any jurisdiction without at least some understanding of the available technology. The fact that the rules may not specifically require this (as is the case in Hong Kong) is really neither here nor there – there is a set of obligations to fulfil in relation to documents, and if nearly all those documents are electronic, then electronic means must be used to find and classify them if the costs of discovery are not to become completely disproportionate to the objective. Read the rest of this entry »

Predictive coding at DESI V, the Oracle-EDI Study and other TAR sources

June 12, 2013

The Fifth DESI Workshop on Standards for Using Predictive Coding, Machine Learning, and Other Advanced Search and Review Methods in E‐Discovery takes place in Rome on 14 June. The Oracle-EDI Study on Predictive Coding will be published at the EDI Summit on 15-17 October. Time for a round-up of some of the predictive coding resources.

My aim here is to point you to a handful of papers, posts and articles which cover the predictive coding / technology-assisted review ground. If you are interested in reading your way into them, then the documents given here, plus their own links, will point you to almost everything worth reading. If what you want is a quick crib so that you go into the predictive coding demo, client meeting or discussion with opponents with a few references under your belt, then a skim of some of these will serve.

I can be sure that the sources given here plus those which they link to are pretty comprehensive because the first on my list is Rob Robinson’s deliberately detailed summary of writings about what he calls technology-assisted review (I put it like that because not the least of the problems with this subject is the failure to agree on what to call it – that does not matters to those in the know, but it is something of a barrier to new entrants).

ComplexDiscoveryRob Robinson’s summary is called Technology-Assisted Review: From Expert Explanations to Mainstream Mentions. It lists articles of all kinds in reverse order of date from February 2012 when US Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck gave his Opinion in Da Silva Moore. I have not counted them (though I was vain enough to see that 24 of my own articles appear on the lists) but you can be sure that anything written on the subject which is worth reading is here.

Rob RobinsoEquivion has also recently updated his Got Technology-Assisted Review? A Short List of Providers and Terms which complements his list of sources. For the shortest and most easily-understood recital of predictive coding functions, see the description by text analysis software provider Equivio of its predictive coding application Equivio Relevance – a model of succinct explanation by a company whose appreciation that “less is more” applies to its marketing materials as well as to its mission to eliminate data redundancy. Read the rest of this entry »

Blog posts on eDiscovery | eDisclosure in January 2013

February 11, 2013

Here is a list of the 58 blog posts published in January 2013 on my Commentary Blog and Updates Blog. They got 9,464 page views between them.

As mentioned in a recent post, the web site has been smartened up a little as part of a general review. Some old material has gone and there will be new sections, not least about the Jackson Reforms, shortly (seeing the final form of the rules would be a a good start).

A spate of post-LegalTech posts is on its way, spread across the next few days. Read the rest of this entry »

Reed Smith: 6 reasons to Insource Litigation Support

January 23, 2013

A lot of what I write suggests to law firms that their clients’ interests and, indeed, their own, may lie in delegating much of their eDiscovery / eDisclosure function to others. I usually link this to Professor Richard Susskind’s observation about how law firms must find ways of working which are quicker, cheaper, more efficient or to a higher quality “using different and new methods of working”.

Outsourcing, in its various guises, must be considered in this context, whether that be by using software which is hosted and managed by someone else or by taking advantage of the many (and competing) managed review services which can often perform this most expensive component of eDiscovery / eDisclosure to a quality and at a cost which few law firms can match.

I am careful always to make it clear that outsourcing is not the answer in every case, but is something which should be considered alongside purely internal solutions.  As the UK moves towards costs budgeting and enforced proportionality, the ability to offer alternative ways of giving disclosure becomes more important. You do not need to be driven by the rules of any one jurisdiction to want to be able to offer clients and the court a range of options. Read the rest of this entry »

Some predictive coding resources useful for UK lawyers

January 17, 2013

I am increasingly being asked to talk about predictive coding in the UK, and the subject warrants an article of its own. I will come to that shortly, but meanwhile point you to two articles published in the last few days which, although American in origin, serve as an introduction to those new to the subject.

One is an article in KM World called What is Predictive Coding?: Including eDiscovery Applications. That opens with a useful quotation from Warwick Sharp of predictive coding provider Equivio which reads as follows:

Predictive coding is essentially a learning technology. What predictive coding is able to do is get input from a human being, who reviews samples of documents and marks them as relevant or not, and then those decisions are input into the predictive coding engine, which is able to generalize those decisions across the entire collection.

In other words, a relatively small amount of input at the beginning of the process is used to form provisional judgments about the rest, with obvious potential for saving time and money. The “learning” is continuous, in that the system refines its conclusions as the results are validated – and it is vital to appreciate that validation is a key component of predictive coding technology.

The article goes on to summarise the US case Global Aerospace, Inc., et al. v. Landow Aviation whose messages about the early reduction of volumes, and thence time and cost, are timely ones as the UK faces a new regime of court-led control and budgets. One of the points arising from the article is the absence of judicial guidance which, unsurprisingly, is the question I am asked most often when the subject comes up in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Blog posts on eDiscovery | eDisclosure in December 2012

January 8, 2013

Here is a list of my blog posts of December 2012 on eDiscovery / eDisclosure and related matters. After several months of experiments, I have abandoned my Google Plus page for my short eDiscovery posts in favour of a second WordPress blog, called eDisclosure Information Project Updates. This blog has its own email sign-up for those who want to be tipped off about new posts.

Google Plus has really good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and the existing posts will remain there. Google’s clunky interface was one push factor; another was the feeling of being at a party which everyone else had skipped, despite the tiresome G+ focus on “community” and other things which Facebook does much better if you like that sort of thing – great for florists, car mechanics and High Street solicitors, but of no interest to me.

The new WordPress blog started delivering good SEO almost at once. I can extend its features, adjust its appearance and be sure that it will not acquire some tedious new “feature” next week because a hyperactive geek at Google has some syndrome which requires constant change for its own sake.

I have also abandoned the practice of summarising the short posts, giving a list like the one below instead. The SEO value of the summaries and the links from them was not commensurate with the very significant input which they required. I am not remotely interested in all the detailed “campaign” stats which marketing people get so hung up on. One thing matters to me – how many people go to my articles and thus past my sponsors’ logos? The average number of page views last year, weekends and holidays included, was 224 per day.

The list below, and the parallel one on my web site, are part of the web of cross-links (Twitter and LinkedIn provide the rest) which ensure that no-one can do much research on eDisclosure / eDiscovery without finding something by me.

December was a short month – I was away on holiday for a week quite apart from the long Christmas and New Year break. The volume of interesting material now being published by others is such that there is always a queue – that is, a stockpile of subjects, some already written about, which I hold back to avoid swamping the readers. Apart from time-critical things like webinar dates, I don’t think promptness matters too much – if it is important, it will still be important next week. Read the rest of this entry »

Short eDiscovery Updates to end November 2012

December 6, 2012

This post summarises the posts on my Google Plus page during November 2012. I gave up on Google Plus after that for reasons given in my post here, and set up a new updates blog. A different form of index will be provided in due course for posts from 1 December. Read the rest of this entry »

A Hong Kong eDiscovery snapshot in the company of Epiq Systems

November 27, 2012

On the surface, my area of professional interest looks pretty narrow. When I launched the eDisclosure Information Project, its proposed scope was implied by the word “eDisclosure” – only the civil jurisdiction of England and Wales uses the term “disclosure”, and I set myself the task of carrying information between courts, lawyers, clients and providers in that narrow context. That proved limiting very quickly: civil litigation is only one of the reasons why parties need to identify, analyse and review electronic information, and England and Wales is only one of several jurisdictions which impose such requirements. The US, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland have relevant obligations in civil litigation and they – the US in particular – export those obligations by expecting foreign parties to comply with their domestic rules when they litigate in US courts or fall within the powers of a regulator or state enforcement body.

That brings in countries with no discovery tradition, including EU countries and those of the Asia-Pacific region, such as China, who have increasing amounts of trade with the US but whose data protection and privacy laws, as well as culture, are inimical to common law discovery demands.

I could purport to cover all this by sitting at home in Oxford distilling what I find on the Internet, and communicating with people around the world by email and video-conferencing calls. That would certainly be easier than what I actually do, which is to get on a plane to go and see things for myself. I don’t kid myself that I become expert in a jurisdiction by dropping in from time to time, but the “carrying messages” part of my role is better fulfilled if I go occasionally to talk with (not just talk to – the listening matters more) people who practice in other places. That took me to Hong Kong for a quick visit to Epiq Systems there earlier this month.

Epiq Systems

Epiq Systems has three business activities, of which the eDiscovery solutions component (the others are bankruptcy solutions and class-action solutions) plays an ever-bigger part in each succeeding year’s accounts. It has grown from being a software-led company (with its processing tool eDataMatrix and review tool DocuMatrix), to being a broadly-based eDiscovery consulting company offering forensics and collections, processing, document prioritisation and document review services. Its first non-US office was in London, which is where I came across it, and it subsequently opened an office in Hong Kong. Epiq uses Equivio’s Relevance product (now part of Equivio Zoom) for predictive coding and document prioritization, and recent acquisitions bring it a wide range of review tools, including kCura’s Relativity, iCONECT and Concordance FYI together with expansion of its managed review services. Epiq’s most recent development has been the opening of a document review service in Hong Kong, allowing it to offer a full range of consultative, technology and review services in the Asia-Pacific region. Read the rest of this entry »

The use of technology in regulatory investigations

November 1, 2012

Hobs Legal Docs was the sponsor of an interesting article in The Lawyer recently which emphasised the need to use technology to respond quickly to regulatory demands.

Those who find themselves overwhelmed by the timetables for eDisclosure / eDiscovery in civil litigation may like to consider the pressures faced by companies and their lawyers when a regulatory investigation turns up.  There are no nice long periods for reflection when decisions are to be made not only about the proper scope of the discovery exercise but also about the tactical and strategic implications.

Litigation searches are generally bounded by defined issues, and one can usually identify a date range and a handful of key custodians. Regulatory investigations often have no such boundaries and the question to be answered very quickly is “How deep is this pit?”. That in turn dictates the approach to be taken vis-a-vis the regulator, ranging from aggressive rebuttal to grovelling contrition, often backed (in cartel cases, for example) by a potential hurry to be the first to come clean – the “race for leniency” as one contribuotr puts it in the article.

If the use of technology like predictive coding seems optional in some cases, it is hard to see alternatives for some of these regulatory investigations. There is no time to set junior fee earners to making document trawls and it is vital to put senior lawyers to work at once to “teach the system how to look at documents in the way lawyers do” (as Mark Surguy of Eversheds put it in his Dublin speech last week). A ticking-off from a judge is a mild consequence compared with the effect on the share price and other significant things if one gets this reaction wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Short eDiscovery updates to 29 September

October 1, 2012

I was at a Washington conference for much of the week ending 22 September and the updates for that week are correspondingly reduced in number. This selection covers two weeks’ of my Google+ updates. Some of them relate to webinars etc which were pending at the time of the G+ notice but whose date has passed by the time the summary is published. In many cases, the link will take you to a recording.

Some of these updates relate to future conferences. There is a list of these on my web site. Read the rest of this entry »

Short eDiscovery Updates to 9 September 2012

September 17, 2012

This adopts my experimental new format which bundles my Google Plus posts for a period (not necessarily a fixed period) and makes their text available here, together with links to the G+ posts, to the source and to some of the names mentioned in the post.


In Re: Actos – Does New Federal Litigation Clarify Predictive Coding In eDiscovery?

Article by Matt Nelson of Symantec concludes that the answer to the question posed above is “no” because:

While Actos represents another step in the evolution of predictive coding, the protocol explained in the Order does not provide enough transparency to ensure the overall integrity of the predictive coding process.

Published: 2 September 2012

G+ Post | Link to Source | Clearwell eDiscovery Platform

______________________________ Read the rest of this entry »

Proportionality and a choice of technology from Hobs Legal Docs

September 3, 2012

Recent posts by Hobs Legal Docs remind us that the problems raised by e-Disclosure are resolved by adherence to principles like proportionality as well as by the selection of appropriate technology.

You don’t need scientific proof (though it exists, apparently) for the proposition that your brain does one of two things when subjected to too many choices:  after an attempt to assimilate and evaluate all the options, it either abandons analysis and plumps for something by instinct or gives up the selection process entirely and does without whatever it was which was being considered.

Something similar happens with words like “proportionality” which have multiple potential meanings and no certain definition, and subjects like “cross-border eDiscovery” which sounds like something which other people do, and only occasionally. They quickly become unnoticeable, like ambient music in a shop or the chatter of radio announcers – you have a vague idea that they are there but lose focus on content and meaning.

EDiscovery / eDisclosure has all these elements; multiple providers offer similar-looking solutions with terminology picked from a narrow vocabulary which includes polysyllabic words like “proportionality” and expressions  like “cross-border eDiscovery” whose meaning gets lost with every repetition. All these things do in fact have meaning and potentially have daily implications for lawyers.  In practice, proportionality is usually invoked only retrospectively when the lawyers are called upon to justify an alleged under-disclosure, and however important it appears at US eDiscovery conferences, UK lawyers give little thought to the implications of collecting documents and data from other jurisdictions. Read the rest of this entry »

Epiq Systems: document review in Hong Kong, Zoom from Equivio and covered in eDJ

August 14, 2012

eDiscovery provider Epiq Systems seems to be popping up all over the place at the moment. Grouping the various sources together has the benefit, for me as well as for them, that those new to this subject can see how many eDiscovery corners are touched by a major player in the eDiscovery / eDisclosure market. This is not just a technology matter – services, processes and thought-leadership all contribute to tackling a business problem which is not going away.

I have already written about Epiq’s Q2 results which showed Epiq’s eDiscovery segment contributing $42.7 million to its record operating revenue for the quarter. My post reported Epiq’s expectation of “continued double-digit operating revenue growth for eDiscovery in the second half of the year”. The subsequent announcements covered here go some way towards justifying that optimism. I reported each of them briefly as they came along on Google+, but they are worth expansion.

Epiq opens Hong Kong Document Review Centre

Epiq has followed its recently-opened new document review facility in Washington (see Huron and Epiq expand managed review and legal staffing in Washington) with the creation of a similar review centre in Hong Kong.

The press release is here. It quotes Laura Kibbe, Epiq Systems’ Managing Director of Document Review and Expert Services as referring to the provision of “secure, scalable, cost effective review and staffing services wherever they are needed,” and to Epiq’s enanced ability to manage review teams in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously.

Why should companies need such a service? Why, perhaps more pertinently, is it of interest to lawyers who have historically made money from document review? Read the rest of this entry »

Far from the Black Box: explaining Equivio Relevance to Lawyers

June 26, 2012

The latest addition to Equivio‘s comprehensive set of resources on its smart new website is a paper by me called Far from the Black Box: explaining Equivio Relevance to Lawyers. I am developing a deep dislike of the expression “black box” in discussions about predictive coding – it is used unthinkingly by people who are keen to condemn technology developments as instinctively as their forebears condemned mechanised looms and the motor car. Henry Ford famously said  “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”, and the ideal for many law firms is associates and contract lawyers who can turn pages more quickly.

There are two levels in trying to explain predictive coding to its prospective users. One is at a “looms and motor cars” level – automated technology of this kind is going to become the norm, side-by-side with outsourced providers of document review (and no one is yet saying that document review is dead, however sophisticated the technology) who can do the job more efficiently, more predictably and, frankly, better, than most law firms can.

Mechanised looms and motor cars certainly destroyed traditional businesses, old ways of working and the need for particular sets of skills. Their acceptance, however, generated new businesses, the demand for new skills and many new jobs. If you doubt any of this, do three things – read Richard Susskind’s The End of Lawyers?, go and visit a provider of outsourced document review services and compare their offering to yours (or to that of your lawyers if you are a client), and arrange a demonstration of a range of modern technology solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

Hobs Legal Docs takes Relativity and makes a senior appointment

May 31, 2012

London-based litigation and document management provider Hobs Legal Docs has made two significant announcements whilst I have been on my travels.

The first was the appointment of Patrick Rowan as Sales Director and as a Board Director of Hobs Legal Docs Ltd. Patrick comes from Ernst & Young whence he brings skills and experience in eDiscovery and eDisclosure as it arises in Competition and Regulatory matters, as well as experience in forensics data analytics. The Hobs press release about Patrick Rowan’s appointment is here.

I have yet to meet up or speak with Patrick since his appointment, as I like to do when appointments are made at this level, and hope to remedy that soon.

The other news from Hobs is that it has been appointed a Relativity Premium Hosting Partner, as you can see from the Hobs press release here and the kCura one here.  I was asked at a seminar this week if I would point the delegates to providers of software and services.  I gave my usual answer which is that the list of logos of those who support the eDisclosure Information Project is a good place to start, whilst adding in the interests of objectivity that there are other players in the market. Providers like Hobs bring a wide range of choices, together with the consultative skills and experience to help point users towards the right solution for their particular needs.

As you can see from Hobs Partners page, there is some overlap between their partners and my sponsors, as Relativity joins Westlaw CaseLogistix, Guidance Software, Clearwell and Equivio amongst others on the list.

It is worth reminding you that Hobs has a Manchester office and that all these applications, together with Hobs’ ability to manage paper disclosure in tandem with electronic disclosure, are available from there. I was in Manchester with Terry Harrison of Hobs in January (see eDisclosure seminar in Manchester with Hobs Legal Docs) and hope to be back there, this time on my own, later in the year. My next trip north is to Leeds on 13 June for MBL Seminars, something I will write about separately.


Reed Smith chooses Equivio Zoom for Predictive Coding and Analytics and Relativity for Review

April 20, 2012

Since both Equivio and Relativity sponsor the work of the eDisclosure Information Project, I am necessarily interested in reports of their big sales. I do not, however, write about every success on the part of those who fund what I do because they, as well as I, value my readership and know that we would soon drive it away if all that you found here was lists of buyers. That function is ably served by others, and I am spared having to decide, for example, whether this sale is worth reporting where that one was not, quite apart from considerations like having only a finite number of hours in a week.

Every so often, however, a law firm or other user makes a strategic purchase which serves in some way as a model which others ought to follow – not necessarily with the same suppliers, but as the product of a coherent plan to offer an integrated set of services to clients which reconciles quality with cost.  There is a fiercely competitive market out there of software suppliers, providers of managed review, and consultants offering project management and other skills, and a decision to bring all that in house is not lightly made. Read the rest of this entry »

Greg Wildisen of Epiq Systems on Predictive Coding in UK eDisclosure

April 18, 2012

The Society for Computers and Law has published on its website an article by Greg Wildisen, International Managing Director at Epiq Systems with the title E-disclosure: Training Technology.

Epiq offers predictive coding through the integration of Equivio’s Relevance product into Epiq’s IQ Review, a mixture of technology and consultancy services. Greg Wildisen summarises briefly the story behind Judge Peck’s Opinion in Da Silva Moore v Publicis Groupe which approved the use of predictive coding technology in a case in which parties had agreed to use the technology, and considers the likely reaction when this type of technology is used in UK proceedings.

He focuses on the significance of analysing non-relevant as well as relevant documents and, potentially, of doing so cooperatively with opponents in order to win agreement about the validity of the process. He thinks it possible that lawyers may object to the disclosure (in the broadest sense of that term) of documents which are not strictly required in the present litigation, not least because of implications for future cases.

I am reasonably optimistic about this, partly because (as Greg Wildisen makes clear) judges have discretion to make whatever orders they think appropriate for the better conduct of the case before them, and partly because clients’ objections are likely to whither in the face of the enormous potential for cost savings – they will be willing to give a little to gain a lot or, at least, to make a proper assessment of the risks against the advantages

We shall see. Meanwhile, Greg Wildisen’s article is a good short summary of implications which UK lawyers and their clients should be thinking about.


Equivio spells out predictive coding basics on ESIBytes podcast

April 5, 2012

Yet again, I find myself pointing to one of Karl Schieneman’s ESIBytes podcasts as a source of timely and coherent explanations of topical eDiscovery issues.

Predictive coding inevitably dominates at the moment, thanks to the coincidence of the Da Silva Moore and Kleen Products litigation. In both cases, although in very different ways, the defensibility of predictive coding / technology assisted review / computer assisted review / call it what you will / is at issue.  Most of us who are interested in encouraging the use of predictive coding would have preferred a less confused battleground than is offered by either of these cases, and value any explanations which stick to basic propositions uncluttered by the wider agendas coming out of the cases.

Anyone who speaks from first-hand experience, whether as a provider or a user, will have a preferred product; what matters are the core concepts, and it would be odd if speakers did not use their own or their preferred products to illustrate these concepts. Here, as in his other podcasts, Karl taps the special knowledge of his speakers to draw out broader understanding.

Warwick Sharp of Equivio is a particularly lucid advocate, both of the specific components and workflows in Equivio’s Relevance product and of the wider principles – it is from him that I got the idea that the true test of a technical explanation is whether your mother, having heard it, can explain it back to you. He is one of the speakers on Karl Schieneman’s Predictive Coding and Review Roundtable recorded on 26 March; the others are Jim Wagner co-founder and CEO of DiscoverReady, and Tom Gricks, head of E-Discovery at the law firm Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, both of whom were early converts to, and are convinced users of, predictive coding where that use is appropriate to save their clients’ money without diminishing their arguments, their strategy or their proper conduct of cases. Read the rest of this entry »

Appearances count for Equivio and iCONECT

March 14, 2012

The two companies named in my heading, iCONECT and Equivio, are in fact related in that there is a partnership between them which appears from both their web sites. That is a coincidence so far as this article is concerned. They are grouped together because both have recently launched visual enhancements to their applications and their web sites which are worthy of note.  They have both made enhancements, also, to the technology in their applications, but I am here concerned only with what they look like and how they work from the point of view of a potential customer who wants to know about the products.

If you think that this is a superficial approach to marketing business tools then think again. I  do not suggest that law firms and corporations make purchasing decisions on the strength of web site artistry, because any serious player (and these companies are interested only in serious players) will delve well below the surface before buying anything. I am not, either, suggesting that their rivals in the same space are backward or deficient. Marketing, however, consists in part of catching the eye, and both these companies have certainly achieved that.

Let’s start with Equivio, who have simultaneously released a user application, Zoom, and a web site which have torn up the standard spec for both. Zoom, which combines Equivio’s near-duplicates, email threads and Relevance applications, is crisp and white. It has as little as possible on the screen at any one time, and “intuitive flow” (their choice of words, but I’m happy to endorse it) from one stage of the process to another, and the use of graphics wherever possible to give clear guidance as to the present status of the processes. Read the rest of this entry »

Epiq Insights – an eDisclosure newsletter from Epiq Systems in the UK

March 13, 2012

Relatively few of the eDisclosure / eDiscovery newsletters focus on the UK, so it is good to welcome Epiq Insights from Epiq Systems which is now available as a web page as well as by subscribing to an e-mail. The current edition is here.

It includes links to articles which are either about the UK or which, whilst having a US origin, are relevant to those responsible for the management of UK eDisclosure exercises.

Some of them are things I have already written about –  November’s Metropolitan Corporate Counsel article on predictive coding, for example, and reports of the Epiq Showcase and of the panel on the Challenges of Cross-Border Regulatory Investigations. Others are new to me and it is helpful to be able to pass them on in one go by pointing you to the newsletter.

Of the ones I have not seen before, I refer you in particular to the New Law Journal article on right-sizing the outsourcing of document review written jointly by Epiq’s Saida Joseph and Mark Surguy of Eversheds. Its conclusion is that the on-shore / off-site model for document review is the one which strikes the best balance between cost and risk.

This is a relatively new model for the UK market and one which has attracted a lot of attention very quickly. I gave a video interview yesterday for the College of Law. Quite often when I do these things, I am invited to say what I want to talk about. The College of Law works the other way round – they detect the trends which interest their audience and send me the questions. One of this year’s questions, appearing for the first time, was about managed review Read the rest of this entry »

Judge Peck’s Predictive Coding Opinion – reporting the reaction

March 7, 2012

It needed no great prescience to anticipate a flood of articles about US Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck’s opinion in the Da Silva Moore predictive coding case (Monique Da Silva Moore, et al., v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Group, Civ. No. 11-1279 (ALC)(AJP) (S.D.N.Y. February 24, 2012). I made an early election to stand back before writing about it, reckoning that I do you better service by pointing to the best of the early reactions and then taking a broader approach myself, not least in jurisdictional terms.  I may challenge from time to time the idea that the US is in any sense “ahead” of the rest of us in terms of rules and processes, but there is no challenge to the suggestion that new technology gets its most exacting trials in the fire of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and other jurisdictions can observe and learn.

In what is, I think, the only UK article thus far apart from mine, Charles Holloway of Millnet reckons, in an article headed In the jaws of ediscovery, that an English judge would take the same view as a US judge in similar circumstances. There are judges and judges of course, on both sides of the Atlantic, but I think Charles is right. Millnet know whereof they speak in this regard, having been involved in the only UK predictive coding case whose outcome has been written up publicly – see my article Two predictive coding case studies emphasise time and cost savings, which involves a US case involving Epiq Systems well as Millnet’s UK one.

The present article points to some (by no means all) of the commentary which has appeared already, allowing me to go on to take a slightly different approach in my separate article.

The best plots are those which can be summarised in a few words. “Father murdered, uncle bad, Ophelia hot, Hamlet mad, all dead” tells you all you need to know about Shakespeare’s most famous play.  The equivalent in respect of Judge Peck’s opinion came from Warwick Sharp of Equivio who quickly boiled the whole thing down to this: Read the rest of this entry »

Forbes article: Technology assisted eDiscovery and the role of humans

January 11, 2012

I bring a fairly jaundiced eye to some of the marketing by those who sell technology solutions to lawyers. This is not so much to do with the quality of the marketing materials themselves but more to do with their approach to the psychology of those to whom the marketing is addressed. To some extent, a mismatch is unavoidable: the technology pitch is that it saves lawyer time, and lawyers live by selling time; much of eDiscovery validation depends on statistics and probability, and lawyers are largely arts graduates; there is good reason for fear, uncertainty and doubt in the management of discovery and it is unsurprising that providers trade on this as part of their pitch, often at the expense of more positive messages.

Deeper fears are touched by the implication that technology can do certain tasks better than humans can do them. It comes across as a threat to jobs at a time when many lawyers are out of work already; it appears to mock the years of expensive learning and the large qualification debts; it seems to threaten the central role which lawyers have traditionally had in the litigation process as functions are increasingly delegated to what is seen as a black box, and are challenged by new business models. There is something in all of this, and the New York Times article of March last year Armies of expensive lawyers, replaced by cheaper software, stoked fears which certainly had some substance. Read the rest of this entry »

Equivio near duplicate and e-mail threads integrated into Relativity

January 8, 2012

Equivio and kCura have got in ahead of the LegalTech announcements flurry by launching an Equivio tab In Relativity. “Integration” means just that – Relativity users access Equivio’s analytic functionality without either they or the data leaving Relativity.

The words “efficient” and “seamless” appear in the press release from Equivio and in Relativity’s product information page. Quite apart from the benefits to the user experience, the integration should mean that future developments by both companies should be easily absorbed.

This is one of kCura’s growing number of Ecosystem Applications which include Digital Reef, EnCase eDiscovery by Guidance Software, Nuix , Trident Pro from Wave Software and audio and video forensic search by Nexidia. The Ecosystem was only launched last July, and Relativity’s pulling power continues unabated, with further integrations promised shortly.


LDM Global launches processing and hosting managed services

December 16, 2011

LDM Global is offering legal discovery processing, hosting and support services in fixed-price blocks payable by monthly, quarterly or annual subscriptions. The press release is here.

The scheme allows access to LDM Global’s processing, storage, and backup, together with project management and technical support, available by web access to all cases from anywhere in the world. Having decided on the size of volume blocks and a payment period, the client can think in terms of overall case volumes rather than project by project costs.

Once a new case has been set up with licenses and permissions, any tasks thereafter can be done either by the client’s own team or by LDM Global’s support team. Different levels of support are available depending on the service level chosen, making this attractive both for skilled users and for those without their own resources.

LDM Global partners with Equivio, Relativity, AccessData and LexisNexis among others. The appropriate applications will be used at each stage to achieve the right result for the client.

This looks a good approach for firms and companies who can anticipate a certain level of demand without necessarily being able to predict how much will be required by any one case at any time. The context is the obvious concern about costs, where certainty is as important as the actual outlay. The level of predictability offered by such a service should enable law firms, in turn, to be more accurate in their cost predictions both to their clients and to opponents and the court in the new world of court-led costs management.


Two predictive coding case studies emphasise time and cost savings

December 16, 2011

I referred a while back to two case studies about the use of the technology known variously as “predictive coding”, “computer-assisted coding” or, more recently, “technology assisted review” or TAR. One of them involved Epiq Systems and the other Millnet. One was a US example involving Baker & McKenzie and the other one came from Eversheds in the UK. I group them together because all four of these names, of service providers and law firms, are familiar ones in the UK. Most of the (by now extensive) literature on the subject of predictive coding involves organisation names which allow non-US lawyers to dismiss the subject as being of no relevance to them. The familiarity of the players in these two case studies may help to dispel this notion, even if one of the cases involves US regulatory proceedings.

The Baker & McKenzie / Epiq IQ Review / Equivio example

I start with an interview in Metropolitan Corporate Counsel with David Laing, a partner in the Washington, DC office of Baker & McKenzie LLP and called Predictive Coding = Great eDiscovery Cost and Time Savings.  The application used was Epiq Systems’ IQ Review which is a combination of Equivio’s Relevance software and Epiq’s own applications, pulled together by Epic’s consultancy services.

David Laing first describes how this technology works. He says:

It uses a limited number of senior attorneys familiar with a matter to review a representative statistical sample of the documents. The predictive coding software then applies the results of that statistical sample to the entire database. Predictive coding provides a way to prioritize documents for review.

His context is very large cases involving both high volumes and tight deadlines as well as an opponent, the Department of Justice, with the motive, the power and the means to be extremely fussy about what they are sent. The DOJ was, Laing says, “completely satisfied with the response and raised no questions about it”. Read the rest of this entry »

Equivio adds Applied Discovery, LDM Global and others to a growing list

November 22, 2011

It can be quite difficult keeping up with those who sponsor the eDisclosure Information Project, quite apart from the wider eDiscovery/eDisclosure market. Some of them seem to assume that I pick up news by some magical process; others broadcast little because they are just getting on with an increasing flow of work; yet others have so much news that it is hard to keep up with them. In parallel with market news comes an ever-denser flow of information and discussion about rules and cases, plus thoughtful analysis of the directions we should be going in to improve the eDiscovery process. It all gets filtered at this end anyway, not so much by my subjective view of what is important but because I feel I owe you more than merely copying and pasting press releases; that inevitably reduces the number of articles in a week, even without the interruption of six weeks’ near-continuous travel such as I have just completed.

Equivio sends out a regular update and keeps its press releases in good order on its website – perhaps this is what one should expect from a company which specialises in making it easy to find the information you actually want. Equivio also keeps what it calls an Installed Base page – the “growing list” referred to in my title. LDM Global similarly keeps me well informed, and nobody keeps up a better flow of information, both about its own activities and about the wider eDiscovery world, than Applied Discovery.

For today’s purposes, Equivio provides the connection between these very different companies. Equivio’s Relevance product is its contribution to the predictive coding, or Technology Assisted Review, market which is as significant in discussions about rules and procedure as it is in pure market terms. I will not stop here to explain why this technology, in its various forms from a growing number of providers, is exciting debate – I write about it a lot, and an article called Search, Forward by US Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck (free registration required) suffices to explain why it is important (type the word “predictive” into the search box opposite for my own heavily hyperlinked articles on the subject).

Equivio was producing the tools to identify and eliminate duplicative and redundant data long before Equivio>Relevance was born, and was already well-known for its near-duplicate and e-mail threading software. These remain critical components in accelerating the review process by grouping together documents with common characteristics so that they can be reviewed together and, where appropriate, tagged en bloc. You do not need great technical knowledge as a lawyer conducting document review to appreciate the value of putting under one hand all documents whose content is very similar or which form part of the same e-mail thread. Read the rest of this entry »

More on Software-Assisted Review as Applied Discovery and KMPG add Equivio>Relevance

September 27, 2011

Electronic discovery company Applied Discovery and KPMG are amongst those who have recently partnered with Equivio to integrate Equivio>Relevance into their existing eDiscovery applications. These two recent announcements give me an opportunity to return to the subject of software-assisted document review using what is generally known (but see below) as predictive coding. Recent discussions with some lawyers have shown scope for fundamental misunderstandings about what this kind of software does, and a look at the explanations produced by Applied Discovery and KPMG, as well as those of some other players in this space, may help.

My primary objective is clarity for those who come across the names and the terminology but are not necessarily clear as to the functionality being offered or its purpose. There seem to be three aspects which some lawyers find difficult about this kind of software, each of which is worth challenging. These are the following:

  • They think it is being sold as a substitute for human review of the documents which are to be disclosed. That is not its purpose. It provides (amongst other benefits) a means of identifying irrelevant (or less relevant) documents or, to put it the other way round, a way of prioritising documents so that those identified provisionally by the software as the most relevant or most important are brought to the top. The important word here is “provisionally”, with its clear implication that the lawyers get every opportunity to double-check both what has been ranked as important and what has not.
  • It is the subject of debate about judicial acceptability which, again, follows from a misunderstanding both of what it does and of what the courts expect.  You may care to read an article called Judge Peck and Predictive Coding at the Carmel eDiscovery Retreat which reports on what I describe as “one of the clearest statements yet by a judge that the use of new technology like predictive coding is an acceptable way to conduct search”. Judge Peck’s immediate context may have been the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but the principles which he covers apply anywhere, and the UK’s Senior Master Whitaker has said much the same both in conference speeches and in his judgment in Goodale v Ministry of Justice. Master Whitaker has also emphasised repeatedly the first point made above – that none of this software is intended as a substitute for human review of documents to be disclosed; he has heard this reaction as well.
  • There is a paradox inherent in the nature of lawyers. They crave certainty but prefer it expressed in words rather than in numbers (a point which comes up in my recent report about the risk management function of corporate counsel). The statistics-based evidence of an application’s accuracy may underpin a decision to use this type of software, but lawyers still prefer the evidence of their own eyes. In fact, the applications give every opportunity for output to be validated by humans, but (in a second paradox) this may be getting lost in the marketing literature’s emphasis on the science.

The second of these points, judicial acceptability, is adequately covered in my Judge Peck article. In this article, I will focus on the lawyers’ own confidence in these applications as an aid to lawyerly judgement, not a substitute for it. To do that, I will look at the descriptions of what these applications do rather than on the science behind them, supporting the relevant parts of the Applied Discovery and KPMG materials and by extracts from those of other products with similar functionality.

First, however, it is worth saying a few words about terminology, not so much to define the labels as to pick the generic purpose out from the proprietary or product-specific names given to this kind of functionality. They all work slightly differently, and I defeat my object of simplicity if I qualify my deliberately broad descriptions with any attempt to describe the distinguishing features of each of them. Read the rest of this entry »

ILTA 2011 – the end of the beginning? We’re just getting going

September 1, 2011

Gaylord exteriorI am back from the annual conference of ILTA, the International Litigation Technology Association, in Nashville, Tennessee.  The original draft of this post said that I was “just back” but (as more than one correspondent has reminded me) time has gone by without any post from me about it or about anything else. Catching up after two back-to-back conferences in opposite corners of the world plus an ever-busier Twitter stream and a few other things have kept me amused.  I will in due course do a couple of posts about the serious stuff at ILTA and I will point you to summaries by others of the product and company news which, however interesting and important, can be dealt with from my desk if it still seems interesting or important by the time I get to it.

Despite the best efforts of the PR people, I don’t cross the world to shut myself up in dark demo rooms or to hit the social scene. The breathless prose of the press releases offers little incentive; I don’t drink much, don’t party more than formal politeness requires, don’t really appreciate most corporate nights out unless they involve a table and a decent menu, and can’t stand shouting above noise. Why do I go each year?, someone asked.

As I have said in an earlier article, I had some formal reasons for going – I sat on a panel for Thomson Reuters and moderated a video session for Digital Reef. The real value, however, lies in ad hoc and informal conversations. Within a few hours of arriving, for example, I had lunch with Amir Milo and Warwick Sharp of Equivio, a conversation with Herb Roitblat of OrcaTec, and an extended early-morning coffee with Howard Sklar of Recommind; those who followed the predictive coding furore of a few weeks ago will note that these companies were in the front line trenches of that energetic debate. I could, in theory at least, ring up any of them for a chat at any time but it is only at ILTA that there is an opportunity for these impromptu discussions.

So what?, you say. You bumped into all your mates and had a nice chat. How pleasant to be able to do that in a grand hotel somewhere hot and call it “work”. Well, it is enjoyable, but it has a serious purpose as well. This post is largely anecdotal and aimed at giving the flavour of the event in the hope of encouraging you to go next year.

Carrying messages

Gaylord AtriumThe advertised pitch for the eDisclosure Information Project is that I carry news and views about eDisclosure / eDiscovery between judges, lawyers, clients and those who supply into the market. Some of that is done by sitting on panels, taking part in webinars and other one-to-many exercises; sometimes it involves reporting things which deserve a wider audience such as Judge Peck’s speech at Carmel and those of Singapore’s Chief Justice, of Lord Justice Jackson, and of Senior Master Whitaker at the recent conference in Singapore. Sometimes, however, it lies in one-to-one conversations which you can’t have if you just sit at home writing blog posts.

Talking to Equivio’s Warwick Sharp is like standing beside an expert at a pheasant shoot. Up go the arguments, bang goes the gun, and down they come lifeless to the ground. My role is to be the labrador who retrieves them. Our lunch discussion on that first day was about the arguments advanced against using sophisticated technology like predictive coding – not specifically Equivio’s  product but any of the high-end software applications which take input from senior lawyers on a subset of documents and use it to make relevance and other decisions about the rest. The only plausible argument against the use of such applications, if you discount the self-interest of  lawyers who make their money from setting large teams to read all the documents, is that there is as yet no court decision which expressly approves of the use of such technology.

As Judge Peck noted at Carmel, there is no decision approving the use of keywords either, and both he and Master Whitaker in Singapore addressed this primary objection. Warwick Sharp instead rattled off a list of uses for predictive coding which needed no judicial approval – QA of your own results and a quick assessment of your opponents’ discovery were amongst them. I did not need to go to Nashville to hear this, but there were many who had gone there for just that purpose.  Later that day, I met in quick succession two people whose role within their firms required them to marshal just these kinds of arguments for the benefit of their lawyers, and I passed on what Warwick had said more or less verbatim. That alone justified being there, and you only really get that kind of opportunity at ILTA, where the mix of educational and social events, coupled with the informality and relative leisure which differentiates ILTA from the frantic pace of LegalTech, encourages this kind of discourse.

The venue

Gaylord CascadesThe Gaylord Opryland Resort covers 56 acres; it has 2881 guest rooms, 220 suites, an atrium 150 foot high and 4.5 acres in extent plus a second atrium of an acre which comfortably swallows two waterfalls, tropical gardens, a restaurant and a bar; the resort has 15 restaurants in all, a river, and several hundred thousand square feet of exhibit hall and conference facilities. There were people whom I knew to be there amongst the 1200 registered delegates at ILTA whom I did not see at all.

You wouldn’t find me checking in here for a holiday, but the Gaylord resorts are perfect for an event like this, provided that you don’t mind a 20 minute round trip between the conference centre and your room, as I had. The big events  – the opening party, the  big sessions and the final dinner – fitted comfortably into the cavernous rooms but there are plenty of quiet corners for conversation. Read the rest of this entry »

Three new sponsors and HP buys Autonomy – all in a week’s work

August 20, 2011

This was never going to be a relaxing week, sandwiched as it was between a conference in Singapore and ILTA 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least I had written all my Singapore articles by the time I landed at Heathrow at dawn on Monday, with their themes of judge-led litigation processes, judicial intolerance of eDiscovery unreadiness and South East Asian business and educational ambitions.

ILTA is a fixed entry in the calendar of anyone interested in litigation technology. On the surface, it is a more relaxed event than most of the others, taking place in high summer, in casual attire rather than suits, in a resort, and spread over five days. A lot happens there, however, quite apart from the fact that Nashville is a long way from Oxford, England or, indeed, from anywhere – the journey time is the same as to Singapore with the added excitement of having to change terminals at JFK.

Like certain other things – conflicts between my sponsors, the revolting coffee on aeroplanes, and the unwanted attentions of legal PRs – these things go with the territory which I have staked out for myself, and are a small price for involvement in a global business which is worth billions, which I am passionate about, and which is occupied by interesting and likeable people. it is also a young industry, with the opportunity which that brings to make the weather and not merely to report on it.

What makes that possible is my involvement with those companies whose logos appear on the right-hand side of this page. Between them, they cover the full range of software and services used for electronic discovery in every jurisdiction in which discovery is a relevant concept. Their sponsorship does more than provide the time to write and the opportunity to go where the action is. It also gives me a direct line to the senior people in the industry, and the ability to get involved with the development of rules and the connections with judicial thinkers, things which do not of themselves create a viable business.

The addition of three new sponsors in one week may be a coincidence; I think in fact that it tells us something about the state of the eDiscovery and information governance market and the direction in which it is going. Read the rest of this entry »

A Flock of Articles on Computer-Assisted Document Review

August 8, 2011

What tells the swallows to gather on the telegraph wires before starting their migration southwards? One has to ignore, I think, the possibility that the telegraph wires are part of their communications network. Perhaps the birds all use an avian version of Twitter. Perhaps, indeed, that is why Twitter is called Twitter.

The subject comes up because last week saw a number of articles about computer-assisted document review after what I described recently as A Lull in the Predictive Coding Battle. These do not appear to be copycat articles (except this one, which is expressly reactive to the rest) and each of them must have been written in ignorance of the fact that others were also writing on the subject. There appears to be no common springboard, and they are comment articles rather than combative ones by participants. Perhaps everyone needed to write one last article before pushing off on holiday and this was thought to be an easy subject.

That conclusion does not in fact do justice to the quality of some of these articles. For those of you who do not have Twitter permanently open on a dedicated screen, it might be helpful if I draw attention, without great commentary, to the more interesting of them. I should say, incidentally, that I do not by choice do two big articles on the same subject within a a few days – there is plenty of other good technology out there, other areas of eDiscovery / eDisclosure of significance and much to write about that is not directly about technology at all, such as the certification debate. The real theme here, and the reason why these articles are worth capturing in one place, is that they encourage investigation into what is right for your cases, which may be something far less sophisticated than the predictive coding technology which gives this spate of articles its label.

If I include my own one first, it is because of a comment which came from a reader and not because it needs another airing so quickly. It was called Judge Peck and Predictive Coding at the Carmel Valley eDiscovery Retreat and its timing followed the speech it reported. Reactions included an e-mail comment which, whilst approving of the article itself, reckoned I had omitted one important subject. Lawyer adoption of discovery technology is slow, my correspondent said, because lawyers earn a great deal of money from manual review and have no interest, in any sense of the word, in investigating ways of reducing the chargeable hours.

I left this subject out of my article mainly because it formed no part of the speech which I was reporting. I don’t mind being discursive (you can go elsewhere for the short, snappy stuff) but some articles must stick to their headlined themes, and this was one. Besides, once you start looking at what are colloquially called “vested interests” (“colloquially” because the true meaning of the term has a narrow legal sense) where do you stop? Every change in business practices brings winners and losers. If you talk up technology solutions, you appear to be running down outsourced document review (you are not, or, at least, I am not – it is the informed choice which matters); reduce discoverable volumes and you hit hosting fees; reduce lawyers’ chargeable hours and – well, they have to find a better way of offering value to their clients. That is how business evolves. Read the rest of this entry »

A lull in the Predictive Coding battle

July 12, 2011

The role of a journalist in war, it is said, is to come down from the hills after the battle and bayonet the wounded. I will content myself with a tour of the battlefield.

If this means nothing to you, you may care to refer to my long article Predictive Coding Wars: Recommind Contra Mundum in which I cautiously navigated a war of words which broke out when information software company Recommind issued a press release headed Recommind Patents Predictive Coding. I reported the reactions of others whose technology is of the same kind (I’m treading carefully here with my choice of words) and of market commentators, ending the story with an article of 16 June by Recommind’s CEO, Bob Tennant, headed Of Predictive Coding and Patents.

Recommind’s chief critics were Herb Roitblat of OrcaTec  and Equivio. Herb Roitblat was quick to say that Bob Tennant’s article satisfied him. The story comes up now because Warwick Sharp, VP Marketing and Business Development of Equivio, has written an article headed Predictive Coding, Patent Wars and May the Best Product Win – the latter words being an echo of Equivio’s main message in their formal comment about the subject. In the interim, Metropolitan Corporate Counsel has interviewed Bob Tennant under the heading Revolutionizing eDiscovery With Predictive Coding.

It is probably not a coincidence that Warwick Sharp has taken his headings from Shakespeare’s darkest plays, Macbeth, Hamlet and King Lear. Shakespeare, of course, has something to say on every subject, including this one – is this Much Ado About Nothing? Do we say, like Mercutio as he bled to death, “a plague o’ both your houses”? Give me a couple of hours, and I could write a whole relevant paragraph made from quotations from Shakespeare’s plays – you might say, for example, that the whole subject is “Greek to me” as Casca said to Cassius, and that you don’t understand a word of it.

We all have things we do not understand – I would lump string theory, Serbo-Croat and line dancing together as areas of skill or knowledge which I am happy to do without. I do not understand, any more, how a motor car engine works – the “any more” signifying both that they have become more complex and that their reliability removes the need to understand what happens when I turn the key. Do you need to know how predictive coding works, what can be patented and what cannot, and how it differs from potato peeling (to take Warwick Sharp’s analogy)? No, you don’t, any more than I need to know what happens when I turn the car key, but you ought to know what advances have been made in computer-assisted document review.

I take a look at some of these applications about once a year – I saw Recommind’s Axcelerate Review & Analysis solution demo on Friday, as it happens, and it is about time I caught up with changes to Equivio’s Relevance since I last saw it. I do not have to go anywhere to see these demos – they are brought to my desk over the web, and are “live” in both senses – a human is presenting them and they involve real-time searches of live data. I can interrupt and ask the demonstrator to go back to explain something again, and they are a painless and informative way of catching up with developments or, if it is all new to you, of understanding these tools and what they can do for you.

As I say, Warwick Sharp’s latest article repeats what was the theme of Equivio’s first riposte to Recommind’s claim – “May the best product win”. What is “the best” is not capable of absolute measurement or, rather, I am not qualified to give a view as to which is the best even if it were politic to try. There are several choices here (Recommind and Equivio are not the only players) and the important thing to understand is that the competition between them drives the technology upwards and the prices down. Any conclusion reached a year ago about what is right for you and for your cases and clients ought to be reviewed – just as your clients are probably reviewing which external law firms are best equipped and skilled for their eDiscovery.


Predictive Coding Wars: Recommind Contra Mundum

June 19, 2011

It is a novel experience to spend a whole Saturday writing a 4,330-word article whose conclusion is that none of its subject-matter is really very important to one’s readers, however much it means to the participants in the story.

Sink the BismarckIf you have come to see me take sides in the predictive coding war of the last few days, you will be disappointed. My job is enlightenment: picture me, if you like, as a small boat sailing between the double line at Trafalgar as the shots fly overhead, trying to give an update on the state of the technology being used rather than a partisan account of the battle. Actually, it has been more like Sink the Bismarck, with enemy ships and planes great and small all directing their fire at one target. Fortunately for Recommind, playing the Bismarck in this scenario, we don’t get to see the final reel.

For those who do not know, I am funded on a flat-rate basis by sponsorship from the companies whose logos appear on the right. Anyone who expects me to take sides misunderstands the nature of my role. It is not just a matter of not biting the hand that feeds me, nor of holding the ring between them when they start fighting each other. The aim is to try and shine a steady light in the darkness for the benefit of those who must get on with the job of managing electronic discovery / disclosure, and to keep it burning whatever is going on around me. I do not actually think that the market gives two hoots for this battle or its outcome (if there is one), but it may be helpful to have a distillation of the debate, if that is not too dignified a term for it.

While we are on disclosure of interests, I should say that I know nearly all the people mentioned here apart from Henry V, Hamlet, Alice and Humpty Dumpty, Houdini, Pontius Pilate, Tom, Dick and Harry, Lt Farley (late of the Confederate Army) and a couple of the referenced authors. Read the rest of this entry »

Metropolitan Corporate Counsel interviews Equivio on Processing and Proskauer on Compliance

May 3, 2011

The only direct connection between the two articles referred to in my title are that they both appeared on the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel website yesterday. An interview with Warwick Sharp of Equivio is headed The processing mountain was blocking the view – new mountains to climb in e-Discovery. An interview with Anthony Pacheco of Proskauer is called The FCPA and UK Bribery Act: Compliance Programs essential.

There is another connection – they are both superlative articles of their kind, and on subjects which are topical and important. I have done an interview with Metropolitan Corporate Counsel for such an article. It took more than two hours, mainly because the interviewer was genuinely interested in the subject matter, not just knocking out copy to fill some space.

I see no point in summarising either of the articles, hoping that you will accept my recommendation that you read them. Warwick Sharp once told me something he was told at university: you know that you have described something adequately if you have explained it to your mother and heard her explain it to somebody else. One’s mother, in this context, stands for anyone who is unfamiliar with the subject-matter. If that is your position in relation to predictive coding, then Warwick’s interview will fill the gap for you. I particularly like his conclusion that law firms are the potential winners not, as they might think, the losers, from the adoption of technology of this kind.

I found both of these articles through Twitter – it would be more correct, in fact, to say that they found me, because they turned up in my screen on being tweeted or retweeted by someone whose recommendations I rely on. I retweeted them in turn, but that is because I choose to be an active rather than a merely passive user of Twitter. There are many reasons why you may have decided that Twitter is not for you. It is worth stressing that you can get enormous benefits from it as a purely passive user, selecting a few people to follow and reading linked articles which appear to be relevant to you. You may get drawn into the discussions and you may go on to use Twitter as a communication tool of your own, but many people use it simply to get timely and targeted information about things which interest them.


Aggressive Transparency and Strategic Cooperation in Electronic Disclosure

March 16, 2011

Lieutenant Schrank: You hoodlums don’t own these streets. And I’ve had all the rough-house I can put up with around here. You want to kill each other? Kill each other, but you ain’t gonna do it on my beat. … So that means you’re gonna start makin’ nice with the PRs [Puerto Ricans] from now on. I said nice – GET IT! ‘Cause if you don’t, and I catch any of ya doing any more brawlin’ in my territory, I’m gonna personally beat the living crud out of each and every one of yas and see that you go to the can and rot there.

Riff: Now, protocality calls for a war council between us and the Sharks, to set the whole thing up. So I would personally give the bad news to Bernardo.
Gee-Tar: Where you gonna find Bernardo?

Baby John: It ain’t safe to go into PR territory.

Riff: He’ll be at the dance tonight at the gym.

A-rab: Yeah, but the gym’s neutral territory.

Riff: A-rab. I’m gonna make nice with him! I’m only gonna challenge him.

You will recognise the lines from West Side Story. They are clearly a parable – Schrank is the judge and Riff is preparing for a case management conference with Bernardo, as protocality (otherwise known as the Practice Direction) requires. Can you “make nice” with your opponent and yet challenge him?

In my account of LegalTech, I mentioned a panel led by Laura Kibbe of Epiq Systems whose participants included the UK’s Senior Master Whitaker, US Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck and ediscovery specialist partner David Kessler from Fulbright and Jaworski. I said this of it:

An animated discussion arose during this session about the conflict between co-operation to minimise over-disclosure (on the one hand) and the risk of showing more of your hand than you intend (on the other) with the judges in one corner and the terrier litigator David Kessler of Fulbright & Jaworski in the other. The discussion deserves more space than I can give it here, and I will come back to this.

The principles at issue here apply equally in a US and a UK context. The UK 1999 Civil Procedure Rules were founded expressly on a “cards on the table” approach, and the co-operation duty is both implicit and expressed in the e-disclosure Practice Direction 31B. Rule 26 (f) of The US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is its parallel. Many lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic find it counter-intuitive (read “treacherous”) to have any co-operative discussions at all. My favourite judicial quotation in this context is the one which says that “co-operation is not all sitting round the camp-fire singing Kumbaya”. Browning Marean of DLA Piper US captures the same spirit with two neat phrases “strategic cooperation” and “aggressive transparency”.

Although I look at this subject with a bias towards the UK rules in this post, much of what arises transcends jurisdictional differences. My premise is that we can only manage electronic disclosure proportionately (meaning, in this context, at a price the clients are willing and able to pay) if we require or persuade the lawyers to try and reach agreement on the scope of disclosure/discovery. Litigation is inherently a contentious process but we need, where possible, to separate the fighting over the facts and issues from the mechanics of disclosure. I include the words “where possible” because it has to be recognised that there are cases where the parties are never going to agree about anything and where the costs seem to them to be irrelevant. It is for the court to manage that, and to punish those who use the disclosure obligations as a weapon. Read the rest of this entry »

Predictive coding and defensibility

December 14, 2010

An article called The Red Herring of Defensibility and Predictive Coding by Craig Carpenter of Recommind on the Inforiskawareness site draws attention again to the technology generally known as “Predictive Coding”. Craig can fight his own corner as to the merits of Recommind’s technology versus, say, Equivio>Relevance – anyone interested in speeding up document review should look at least two implementations of prioritising software.

I say that because whilst such technology is not necessarily easy to describe to those unfamiliar with it, its benefits are instantly obvious when you see it. One might add that anybody not interested in at least considering one or more of these solutions might usefully try and articulate the reasons for ignoring it – I will be happy to host a debate.

From my experience of talking about it (and I moderated a panel in Singapore recently with a star panel from Recommind, Epiq Systems, Nuix and Kroll OnTrack which covered various aspects of automated review) the chief concern is the one which Craig identifies and which is generally labelled “defensibility”. I prefer to think of this as “Am I doing my job properly by using such technology?”

The focus when you look at such things is not so much what the algorithms are doing, still less how they are doing it, but whether you can follow in their footsteps, for example by sampling, to satisfy yourself both as to what has been included and as to what has been left out by the process.

This is by now a mature technology, and one which is available for users far less exalted than those identified in Craig’s article. How big does a case have to be before there is a value in having a means of prioritising them, that is, putting the most important documents at the top of the pile, so that the best-qualified lawyers can look at them first? Not necessarily enormous, I would say.

There is much more to write about this subject (I am in fact doing just that at the moment), but Craig’s article gives you the flavour of the subject.


Another London doorway to Equivio technology

November 2, 2010

Legastat is the latest London-based e-disclosure services provider to offer Equivio’s technology for speeding up the identification of redundant data and enabling early case assessment. It is not the only such provider, and the same technology is available as integrated components of some software solutions.

There are not many providers of electronic document services whose logo includes the words “Established 1953″. It was obviously a good year for those whose involvement in electronic disclosure was necessarily preceded by a long period doing something else. It was the year in which I was born and it is the year in which Legastat was founded, and both of us had to occupy ourselves elsewhere until e-disclosure came along. I was a solicitor and Legastat was a provider of printing and copying services. When I was an articled clerk, I used to go to its premises in Carey Street, at the back of the Royal Courts of Justice, for urgent copies, a service which it still provides from the same premises.

More recently, it has added e-disclosure services to its more traditional offerings, now under the direction of Casian Sala. It crosses my radar now because it has augmented the services offered to its clients by taking Equivio’s technology for identifying near-duplicates and e-mail threads. It joins many of its rivals in the UK litigation services market, Trilantic, Hobs Legal Docs, and Millnet among them, on the list of those who provide Equivio’s technology (I will come on in a moment to those who provide them as part of and in addition to their own software solutions). Read the rest of this entry »

Having the Acuity to determine Relevance with Predictive Coding

October 15, 2010

Many commentators have lighted on the paper Crash or Soar – Will the legal community accept “predictive coding?” by Anne Kershaw and Joe Howie, in which they explored whether lawyers will be willing to abide by the results of review accelerators, which they group together with the label “predictive coding”.  The article is based on the results of a survey of eleven legal software companies whose applications or services include review accelerators of some kind. Three of those who took part in the survey are companies which I know well, and happy chance enables me to make a plausible title for this article from FTI Technology’s Acuity, Equivio>Relevance and Recommind’s Predictive Coding.

“Acuity” is sharpness or acuteness. “Relevance” connotes bearing upon, pertinent to, the matter in hand. “Predictive” implies foresight and the ability to anticipate. These are good names, therefore, for products or services whose function is to get you to what matters quickly. The Kershaw/Howie article gets its name from the fact that many lawyers are nervous of reliance on any form of automated review, preferring, or at least claiming, to read every document.

Those who advocate human review must address three points: if predictive coding (I will stick with the Kershaw/Howie label for convenience) can save significant costs without significantly reducing accuracy then the burden falls on its opponents to point to its flaws; consistent accuracy by humans – Monday to Friday, morning till night, across multiple reviewers – is impossible to achieve, at least within reasonable time-frames; and even if you could expect such accuracy, you have no way of verifying it without repeating the exercise with a different set of reviewers, whereas (as Kershaw and Howie observe) “predictive coding is based on human-assisted computer analysis, sets of documents can be examined multiple times using different parameters or sample sets”. Read the rest of this entry »

ILTA 2010 wrap

September 3, 2010

This is my third (and last) article about ILTA 2010 Strategic Unity which closed in Las Vegas last week. My first article was a scene-setter, designed to give the flavour of the event and to explain why I thought it important for the UK to know what is going on in the legal technology market. The second article was largely devoted to the two sessions which I attended, on defensibility and on cloud computing. This article is about some of the people, companies and products which I came across.

I am not here solely concerned with my home market, the UK, but that well illustrates the growing need for lawyers to know something about the range of legal technology providers. The cumulative effect of the new practice direction and electronic documents questionnaire and of some recent cases (the ones I characterise as the “incompetence cases”, turning more on sloppiness and ignorance than on fine points of law), is that many UK lawyers will make their first acquaintance with electronic disclosure during the coming year. It is not, of course, that the problems have been invented by the cases or by the changes to the rules; most potentially disclosable documents are electronic, and few cases can be conducted proportionately by printing and reading them all.

If many UK lawyers will make their first call to a provider of litigation software or services for the first time over the next 12 months, their US counterparts will be making similar calls. The US case law continually raises the bar, not because it is binding on other courts, but because it redefines the standard of care expected of lawyers generally; clients expect more for less in the US as in the UK; the technology evolves continually; every player snipes at its rivals’ costs models, but competition keeps overall costs stable at worst; companies merge with and acquire each other, and individuals move from one provider to another. It is hard enough to keep up even if you already have experience of electronic discovery. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting in amongst the lawyers

July 26, 2010

I referred in my last post (see The Last Lap) to the  law firms which lie below the very biggest and which have the potential to be the standard-bearers for a new approach to managing litigation. Many of their lawyers have come from the big firms, with all that that brings in terms of skills. They have a lower cost-base which goes through into their charging rates. They have the quality of work, the incentive in practice development terms and the flexibility to adapt to new ways of working. One of the factors which distinguishes them from the city giants is that they do not have large teams of people to allocate to  heavy e-disclosure jobs which means that they must either find other ways to handle large volumes or avoid document-heavy cases (they could just do them badly or unprofitably, of course).

The majority of their lawyers’ case-loads are not big budget ones with hundreds of thousands of documents, so they have not seen the need or opportunity to develop either a process or the skills to manage a large electronic disclosure exercise. They do have such cases, however, and another could turn up tomorrow, particularly as clients shop around to make their litigation budgets go further.

I am hearing from an increasing number of such firms – all names which you would know in a litigation context and which, despite variations in size and specialisation, have much in common in terms of the civil litigation work which they do. Most of them lie in the top 100, with one or two of them in the range 100 to 200 as defined by The Lawyer. Their Lawyer ranking does not necessarily define the size of the litigation which they handle. Their motivation for showing interest in e-disclosure varies: sometimes it comes with a particular matter in which they are instructed; they may have missed the cases which are reported as significant (Digicel v Cable & Wireless or Earles v Barclays Bank for example), but they may have seen the ones which attracted publicity in the press (Shoesmith v Haringey, Ofsted and the Secretary of State for Education, the OFT’s withdrawal of its price-fixing prosecution against BA and Virgin) which point up the risk of getting it wrong; they may have heard of the pending practice direction and electronic documents questionnaire and of Master Whitaker’s judgment in Goodale v the Ministry of Justice; they may sense a practice development opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping up with Equivio

June 28, 2010

Equivio illustrates the maxim “less is more” in ways which go beyond the purpose of its software, which is “the management of data redundancy in content-centric business processes” . There is something appropriate in the way that a company whose business  is identifying the fewest possible documents manages to describe itself in the fewest possible words.

Equivio’s technology, in its own words, zooms in on unique data…With products for grouping near-duplicates, capturing email threads and determining document relevance, Equivio powers a broad range of business applications, including e-discovery, data retention, records management, email archiving and intelligence.

Equivio is generally found built into something else, and this unshowy role is matched by marketing which is low-key and much the better for it. Its web site and other promotional materials state in simple terms what the products do without screaming at you. Because other providers build Equivio’s products into their own applications and processes, they have an interest in spreading the word, and even Equivio’s rivals are publicly respectful of it. I use its illustrations in some of my slides, and it has turned up in my articles in side-references (my recent Australian round-up, for example) but other things have been going on there whilst I have been engaged in my recent tour of the world’s airport lounges. Read the rest of this entry »

Australian ediscovery round-up

June 28, 2010

My conclusion after my recent visit to Sydney was that every jurisdiction which engages in ediscovery thinks that it is behind the others. This is certainly not true of Australia, and  Master Whitaker and I were not merely being polite when we said that we had come to find out what is happening there for our own benefit, as well as bringing news of developments in the UK.

There is enough going on down there at the moment to warrant a quick summary. My own accounts of our visit to Sydney are here and here,  and I wrote before I went of the Attorney General’s Terms of Reference for a Discovery review.

Since then, Geoffrey Lambert of has tipped me off about a further development, the Civil Dispute Resolution Bill 2010 (Bill) which, if enacted, will require a “Genuine Steps” process by which parties must show formally that they have tried to settle a dispute, with costs implications if they do not do so. I am slightly chary of developments like this – the experience in England & Wales of court-driven settlement is that the mechanics of managing the dispute take second place to attempts to impose a rapprochement which is itself expensive and not necessarily what the parties want.  There is a distinction (for which we must thank Professor Dame Hazel Genn QC) between “a just settlement” and “just a settlement”, and there is a difference too between mediation to resolve a dispute and co-operation to conduct it efficiently.  If judges spent less time on the former and more time imposing the latter, we might see the costs of litigation come down whilst allowing the parties to have their day in court. It will be interesting to see if Australia can take the benefits of alternative dispute resolution without losing the drive towards more efficient procedures for managing contention. Read the rest of this entry »

Far and wide eDiscovery at the Chilli IQ conference in Sydney

June 13, 2010

Sometimes an unconscious theme develops during conferences. Appropriately, perhaps, given the “IQ” element in the organiser’s name, the point which recurred in Sydney was the use of human intelligence in parallel with the processing power and clever technology to get as early as possible to the things which matter. That phrase “as early as possible” came up a lot, not least because (as I noted when I commented on it – see Terms of Reference for Australian Discovery review),  the Australian Attorney General’s Terms of Reference for the pending Discovery Review uses those words three times in their few lines.

Beth Patterson of Allens Arthur Robinson observed, for example, that one might be able to count whole directories in or out by having someone with the appropriate skills and a bit of brain just look in them; if they are patently irrelevant, why include them in the future stages? Michelle Mahoney of Mallesons said that dependence on raw processing power alone meant taking the thinking out of discovery; computers are very good at many things, but they cannot think. Eddie Sheehy of Nuix, unsurprisingly as strong an advocate of intelligent computing power as you will find, recommended giving a couple of the team’s best brains a day or two towards the end of the exercise to try and pick holes in the result by going in any direction they thought fit, trying to find documents or categories which had been wrongly included or excluded. For the third conference running, Equivio (who were not involved at any of them) was praised for the way its products used the best of technology and intelligent human input.  And I used my stock phrase “the best technology lies between your ears”.

Chris Dale and Master WihitakerI quite like opening the batting at these conferences. The audience is awake, no-one can have stolen your thunder by covering your chosen ground, and a keynote speaker has licence to roam more widely than one with a defined topic.  I merged my session with that of Senior Master Whitaker – I gave a short introductory speech, and used the rest of the double session for an interview-style  discussion with Steven Whitaker about UK developments.  My topics in opening included the international community of interest in ediscovery; the relative importance of rules and processes on the one hand, and discretion, proportionality and the clients’ actual objectives on the other; and the changing relationship between clients, their lawyers and the technology suppliers, with the possibility that the lawyers will get marginalised in that relationship.  Steven Whitaker took us through the key points of the Jackson Report, the range of disclosure options in the draft Rule 31.5A, and the proposed Practice Direction and Questionnaire. We took the cases between us, Steven Whitaker covering the ones which turned on the law, and I taking those in which stupidity, ignorance and incompetence were the main factors (there is something about being in Australia which encourages plain speaking). Read the rest of this entry »

Free use of Equivio Early Case Assessment Software for up to one million documents

March 12, 2010

Equivio is offering to make its early case assessment application Equivio>Relevance available to a limited number of participants in what they call the Equivio>Relevance Challenge – see the press release and sign-up page for details.

Most lawyers can understand the basic concepts of keyword search, if only because they do it every day with Google. Because one can generally find something out of the mass with a Google search, it is tempting to assume that throwing a list of keywords at disclosure / discovery data will reduce the volumes of data to be reviewed – and so, of course, it will. Many lawyers will understand, or at least be aware of, the idea that a keyword search is flawed as an approach to identifying relevant documents, not least because “relevance” turns on many factors beyond the incidence of a particular word or words in a document – correspondence between fraudulent conspirators will contain neither “fraud” nor “conspiracy”, to take a trite example. Read the rest of this entry »

Some statistics from Equivio>Relevance

January 29, 2010

I have recently written a white paper about Equivio>Relevance and was subsequently interviewed about it by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel – both if these can be found on Equivio’s publications page.

A recent article by Marisa Peacock on CMSWire called Equivio makes Early Case Assessment more relevant adds some diagrams to illustrate the statistics which I mentioned in my paper. One shows the increase in the number of relevant documents found by Equivio>Relevance compared with a review team, and the other shows the rate at which the bulk of those responsive documents was found. The point of the latter, if that is not clear, is that if more of the relevant documents are found earlier in the process, the sooner the lawyers get to see the ones which matter. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with Metropolitan Corporate Counsel about Equivio>Relevance

January 14, 2010

Metropolitan Corporate Counsel has published an interview based on a long conversation which I had with them before Christmas. The title is Trainable E-Discovery Software Offers Cost Savings and the subject is Equivio>Relevance.

The main theme of the interview was the extent to which lawyers can rely on modern software applications to help them get quickly to what is important from a large collection of documents. This is not just a matter of having a “defensible” process in the sense of one which can be justified to opponents or to the court. The first person who must be convinced is the lawyer himself. Before any lawyer will delegate any part of the process to a machine (for that is how many of them see it) he must be convinced that the result will be at least as good as would be obtained by manual review. In practice, of course, manual review is neither practicable nor all that it is cracked up to be in terms of its accuracy, even before the comparative costs are brought into account – manual review means lawyer time, and that means expense. The technology discussed in the interview cuts through much of that expense, to say nothing of the elapsed time to a conclusion. Read the rest of this entry »

Equivio->Relevance brings prioritisation to Epiq Systems’ DocuMatrix

November 19, 2009

Regular readers will know that I find Equivio’s value proposition to be extremely attractive, notwithstanding that the user – the lawyer or his client – does not always get to see it directly. That is because Equivio’s products are bought by service providers and software developers and incorporated seamlessly into their own products. The clients might ask for Equivio’s near-deduping and e-mailing thread processes to be used, and see only the result, not the legs working. Alternatively, the processes may be so closely integrated into the review application that they appear as just another function of that application.

Equivio have followed their applications for identifying and handling near-duplicates and e-mail threads with a product called Equivio->Relevance. I have mentioned it before and I am not going to say much about it here, because I am writing a white paper about it and do not want to steal my own thunder. Put as briefly as possible, Equivio->Relevance hands a small batch of documents to a human reviewer who marks them for relevance. The next batch takes account of the relevance decisions already made, and is further refined by the human reviewer’s input into them. This process continues until the application announces that it “knows” enough to mark the remaining documents (that is, the vast majority) in accordance with the decisions made about the samples. Read the rest of this entry »

Information retention at e-Disclosure conference in Brussels

October 6, 2009

I demonstrated my own commitment to information retention by mislaying my notes of the sessions at IQPC’s Information Retention and E-Disclosure Management Europe Conference in Brussels last week. As with all the best document retention policies, this means that I do not have to wade through masses of information and can focus instead only on that which is important – “important” in this context meaning what I can remember. It is reasonable to assume, perhaps, that the bits I remember are those which mattered most.

Patrick Burke and Judge Peck

Patrick Burke and Judge Peck

We kicked off with a judicial panel moderated by Patrick Burke, Senior Director and Assistant General Counsel at Guidance Software. Patrick is one of the relatively few in the US who “gets” the idea that, however sophisticated the US legal system may be in many respects, those who do business in a multinational context must take notice of jurisdictional differences. Rather too many assume that things are much the same over here if you shout and wave your arms about. Read the rest of this entry »


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