Ediscovery Doesn’t Have to S*ck

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As a lover of all things tech and a self-proclaimed ediscovery dork, it is sometimes easy to forget that for many people, managing the technological nuances of ediscovery is the stuff of nightmares. From the high stakes to the sleepless nights due to razor-thin deadlines to simply having to decipher a foreign process and technology language, ediscovery is enough to make many legal practitioners' stomachs churn. But it doesn’t have to. 

Thankfully, new kids on the ediscovery block are flipping the script and attacking these headaches head on. Here’s how next-generation technology is different.

1. Way faster

 (No more spinning wheel of death)

Issues of volume and bandwidth rendered some legacy tech so slow that people had time for a coffee break when running searches on particularly large data sets. Furthermore, just-in-time image rendering caused page-to-page latency that in aggregate translated to lost time and money for clients. Today, next-gen cloud-native technology enables subsecond search speeds on data sets in the hundreds of millions of documents. Innovative cloud technology (like Google’s BERT, edge computing, and elastic search) has enabled DISCO to do everything like search, ingest, page to page navigation, and advanced data visualization in a fraction of a second.

2. Transparent pricing

(Goodbye, death by 1000 line items)

It was once standard fare to receive surprise invoices for ediscovery and managed review that dramatically exceeded estimates, sometimes doubling projected cost at the outset. A combination of complex and opaque pricing, unpredictable data expansion, and application of slow linear approaches to the ediscovery process contributed to this cost unpredictability. Next-gen companies understand that predictability is king and have adopted flat and alternative pricing models that enable legal practitioners to effectively budget and manage ediscovery costs. Additionally, at DISCO we have found an application of AI-powered tech and advanced workflows consistently yields reduction in time and cost of up to 60% with such consistency that we guarantee matter time to completion and cost at the outset. To date, not a single deadline has been missed or estimate exceeded. 

3. Handles emerging data types like a pro

(No need to fear weird data)

Today we are facing a personal and professional deluge of novel application-based data, and legal practitioners are increasingly scouring novel data formats and structures to identify key evidence. Legacy tools and workflows are ill-equipped to render new data types into an easily reviewable format, resulting in an increased investment of time and money to surface key evidence. Thankfully next-gen ediscovery tech understands that the surge in atypical data is just beginning and the tools for data visualization are being developed not just to handle data types like Slack’s JSON files, but also to draw insights across disparate data sources. 

4. Works anywhere, anytime

(Hasta la vista WFH snafus)

The work from home revolution caused by COVID-19 has flipped the script on traditional approaches to data collection and review. The old, painfully slow approach of relying on snail mail to send physical media caused bottlenecks and delays in the pre-pandemic era and today is simply not possible. Likewise, the old approach of having a team of contract attorneys huddled in a windowless basement somewhere conducting a linear review is practically impossible in an era of social distancing and suboptimal in terms of time and cost. 

Next-gen legal tech companies are ahead of the curve and as a result did not have to scramble to address the new normal. At DISCO we already had a high-speed data uploader for remote data transfer (minus snail mail); our Document Management Suite allows for anything from self-service to full-service support; and our use of AWS Workspaces created a secure environment for case teams and reviewers to conduct a DISCO review from anywhere

5. Fosters collaboration and continuity across matters

(Fear not next time you hear "new case team who dis") 

Taking over a case mid-stream or facing follow-on litigation months or sometimes years after the original document review is enough to make even a veteran practitioner’s stomach churn. Reconstructing key decisions and case logic, especially if there has been any turnover or a substantial passage of time, was nearly impossible with legacy tech. Next-gen solutions have leveled up collaboration substantially, and advanced tools like DISCO’s AI model-sharing take this to the next level by enabling practitioners to build and refine data models across a portfolio of cases — so that even on unrelated cases, they no longer have to start at square one. 

6. Keeps your data safer

(Don’t have a cyber heart attack)

Data security concerns pose an existential threat to any organization but this is especially true with high-profile litigation and investigations. Recent surges in law firm, consulting, and service provider breaches highlight the increased targeting of legal data and the vulnerability legacy systems poses. Newer cloud-native legal technology leverages the deep investment in data security by firms like Microsoft and Amazon to better secure client data, and tools like DISCO High-Speed Uploader and a self-contained end-to-end solution like DISCO’s minimize any exposure of “data on the move” previously encountered in the ediscovery process. 

7. Effortlessly handles the volume, variety, and velocity of data 

(Stay afloat in the data deluge)

The sheer volume of data legal practitioners face today is enough to make your head swim, and the limited scalability and adaptability of legacy solutions made this concern a very valid one. The combination of cloud-native architecture (that enables limitless scalability and computational lift)  and advanced AI-powered data parsing and visualization ensures that next-gen tech can not only support increasing data volumes but also reduce the amount of time necessary to surface evidence in even the largest data sets. 

8. Makes you faster

(Meet impossible deadlines)

Tight deadlines have always been a headache for legal practitioners, but they become a perfect storm when you factor in the dramatic increase in volume and variety of data. Legacy tools and linear approaches struggle to manage the rapid expansion of data in a timely manner, and linear review may not even be possible in some tight timelines on large data sets because there is not enough time to possibly get through all the data. Thankfully, next-gen tech leverages advanced AI-powered search and data visualization as well as both prioritization and continuous learning models to dramatically accelerate time to insight and enables practitioners to make informed decisions on a case early in the discovery lifecycle. Cutting-edge tech combined with advanced workflows dramatically reduces total document review timelines and has cut cost for some of our clients by over 60%. 

9. Saves you money

(No more clients saying “I’m not paying for that!”)

The rapid growth of the legal operations role and the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) has empowered savvy corporate clients to push back on opaque and bloated ediscovery spend. This increased knowledge and empowerment to push back causes quite a headache for law firms accustomed to the legacy pricing and approach to ediscovery. Next-gen legal technology works with corporations and law firms alike to provide predictable, transparent pricing models while at the same time dramatically containing cost through application of advanced workflows and AI-powered data analytics. The end result is a reduction in non-billable admin cost and a pricing model that is more palatable to law firms and budget-friendly for corporations.  

10. Intuitive and pretty UI

(1997 called and wants their UI back)

A final, but not insignificant, headache is the ubiquity of ugly, hard-to-use legal tech. Dated tech lacking the same ease of use we have become accustomed to in our daily lives is enough to make anyone dread ediscovery. Thankfully, next-gen tech has taken the same approach as iTunes and Netflix in deploying technology that is simple and intuitive to use but cutting-edge in its capability and infrastructure. Iphone-easy tools that use AI to dramatically improve insight without users even realizing it make AI adoption easier and results better for users and their clients alike. 

While ediscovery may never be exactly fun for most people, unless you are a true dork like myself, it has come light-years from the headaches of dated legacy tech and workflows. Cloud-native tools mitigate the worries about security and speed while savvy engineering makes navigating the tools a piece of cake and dramatically accelerates practitioners to insight. So fear not, innovative next-gen tech firms are making discovery suck less — and as a result, legal practitioners are able to get back to fact-driven case development. 

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Cat Casey
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