Have you ever been shocked at the price tag of a discovery project?
Here’s a story that’s famous around DISCO: A litigation boutique agreed to a flat-fee arrangement with their potential client on a document-heavy, 4 TB case. The lawyers then took the case to their ediscovery provider — who quoted them a “low, low” price that was 2.5 times the fee they had agreed to with the client.
For this particular case, the litigation boutique was Camara & Sibley, the year was 2013, and the result was DISCO. Fed up with pricing games for sub-par products, the firm decided to invent their own discovery platform.
Because DISCO was the product of a frustrated boutique law firm, we are all too familiar with the problems that arise in ediscovery: massive amounts of data to sift through, platforms that make associates hate their life, and wildly varying costs. That’s why we created DISCO — so legal professionals could get back to higher-value operations rather than waiting for a document to load.
Here are the litigation boutique problems DISCO was literally created to fix.
Being thwarted by the spinning wheel of death
For the case that inspired the creation of DISCO, the documents were repetitive — lawyers knew exactly where to look on each document to see if it was relevant — but the load time in their third party software was painfully slow. Even with all hands on deck, the software wouldn’t move fast enough to get the documents through.
In fact, the fastest solution turned out to be loading the documents as PDFs on MacBooks and flipping through using Preview to determine if the document was relevant. The firm literally bought several MacBooks to process the documents in time.
When we created DISCO, it was a top priority to allow lawyers to move quickly through a ton of data. That’s how we ended up with search results and document load times that clock in at a fraction of a second, regardless of file type or search complexity. (Learn more about how we’re always improving our search speeds.)
Having a myriad of software that isn’t doing the job (i.e. the dreaded Frankenstack)
For ediscovery at Camara & SIbley, lawyers had to use one system for emails and another system for everything else. Consolidating these results for productions was a nightmare, from rebuilding families to cumbersome and costly manual quality control checks to tracking the documents produced across multiple systems with offline cross referencing. Furthermore, they were aware moving data between multiple tools posed a risk of spoliation or a security breach.
DISCO, on the other hand, is a true end-to-end solution. Everything from early case assessment to productions can be handled within the platform.
Ugly, hard-to-use platforms
Even though it was 2013, even the best available ediscovery tools looked like Windows 3.1. But beyond the clunky ‘90s software aesthetic, there was almost no thought to the functional design. Lawyers had to conform to the software’s processes and cobble together workflows rather than having the software seamlessly integrate into how the lawyers worked.
The DISCO founders believed there was no excuse for legal technology to be so far behind the rest of the world. Kiwi, a computer science major before becoming a lawyer, believed even he could make something better.
As a modern enterprise software, DISCO is designed to be easy for the consumer (some of our users call DISCO “iPhone easy”). Every feature is put through several cycles of review with our council of users to make sure it fits into their natural workflows and actually saves them time.
The result of this investment on the front end is a platform that’s easy-to-use — reviewers are often up and running with little to no training. Of course, we do have training available for free if needed, or for advanced users.
Senior attorneys that aren’t involved with ediscovery
Developing the facts of the case is stunningly important. You can’t tell the story appropriately if you don’t have the facts right.
However, given the mountains of data to sift through with clunky technology, senior lawyers often stay far away from ediscovery — which is, of course, where the facts of the case lie — and instead relegate the job to junior associates or contract it out. Thus, the lawyers who are the most experienced become removed from the evidence.
DISCO was created to make sure bad technology was not the reason for this divide — and make associates less miserable in the process. Because the platform is user-friendly and facilitates collaboration between reviewers, senior team members can be involved with the ediscovery process — and maybe even enjoy it.
The ediscovery bid that Camara & Sibley received had pages upon pages of different line items for necessary features like analytics and email threading. The end result was so convoluted that even lawyers had difficulty understanding what they were being billed for.
DISCO set out to have our invoices make sense — often with just a single line item on the bill. There are also no surprises — like costs doubling or tripling once all the files are unzipped — just a simple, predictable per-GB fee.
DISCO was built to be an internal-only tool. However, it proved so popular within the firm that the opportunity arose to make it more widely available. There was actually some hesitation on the part of the DISCO founders as to whether or not they would leave the legal profession, which they loved, for the wild ride of the tech world.
In the end, the deciding factor was a love for the fair system of law. Our founders wanted to level the playing field and make it easier to find the facts of the case, eliminating the notion that getting justice depends on how much money you can spend. They had a grand vision to democratize the practice of law.
We’ve made several additions to DISCO since its founding in 2012 to solve even more problems — adding advanced AI to speed up workflows, rolling out deposition management software, and assembling expert Managed Review and Professional Services teams to offer everything needed for ediscovery.
But, almost 10 years later, many of these original problems still ring true with law firms — well, those that aren't using DISCO, that is. And for those who are? We are always iterating — based on new research, client feedback, and more — to make these core components of DISCO even better.