Articles and blogs emerge daily about new advances in e-discovery and records management technology. The way things are done changes almost as often. However, is the legal industry really keeping up with the technological advancements?
Using the latest technology involves more than buying or upgrading your software. All technology is only as good it’s users. Case in point is predictive coding. On the one hand, user interfaces are improving to the point where most of the bookkeeping involved in analysing the results is hidden away. However, predictive coding initially relies on humans to make critical decisions regarding a set of documents that are responsive and non-responsive. The technology then takes over. The more knowledgeable that the humans are in creating the “seed set” of documents, the more accurate the predictions will be when technology is applied to an entire data set.
This is where the issue lies. As the technology advances, the practitioners who use it need to advance along the way. Legal professionals need to become far more conversant in how the computer algorithms work. Certainly they don’t need to be able to write the algorithms or even develop the statistical models, but they do need to understand some of what goes on “under the hood”.
There are some key questions that legal professionals who must utilize technology to manage electronic evidence in today’s legal environment should be addressing:
Legal professionals need to have in place a well developed technology utilization program otherwise they will fall behind and be overwhelmed with the volume, complexity and high costs associated with managing information and data.
E-discovery, as a well-known fact, is approaching its tenth anniversary (the first e-discovery related Zubelake ruling was in 2003). However, e-discovery as a process is still a mystery to many legal professionals.
The overall e-discovery process involves more than just collecting, processing and hosting digital information. There are more subtle aspects, such as aligning the legal drivers with the client’s information mosaic to target the right set of records, ensuring that the information keepers (IT professionals) are comfortable and receptive to the preservation and collection approach. Advice is also required to strategically plan and manage the review process to ensure that the costs of this step of the e-discovery-related process is controlled.
Although there are myriad criteria that should be considered before choosing an e-discovery advisor, knowledge and experience are by far the most important. Your advisor must be well versed in both IT technology and legal procedures. He or she should also be in a position to offer unbiased advice – from proposing information sources for preservation, to recommending the best platform and managed process for reviewing the documents. An advisor that is not tied to one or a handful of software solutions, and whose fees are not dependant on the volume of data collected or processed, will be able to provide you with the best strategic counsel.
Wortzman Nickle’s Technical Strategies group provides e-discovery advisory services for both corporations and law firms.
Susan Wortzman was quoted in “E-data costs to ‘overwhelm’ – ‘Cultural shift’ needed for e-discovery glut”
Susan Wortzman was quoted in the article “E-data costs to ‘overwhelm’ – ‘Cultural shift’ needed for e-discovery glut”
This article* originally appeared and was published in the April 06, 2012 issue of The Lawyers Weekly.
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