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.
Equivio products have the merit that their names reflect what they do — it is easy to understand what a product called Equivio>NearDuplicates or Equivio>EmailThreads is for. Equivio>Relevance works by giving the lawyer small batches of documents which they code for relevance. The results of each pass are used to improve the relevance scoring progressively for subsequent batches – it is this which gives my interview the word “Trainable” in its title. The continuous interaction between lawyer and software is what provides both accuracy and the requisite level of comfort to lawyers.
I will leave you to read the article. Equivio has had a good run of success stories lately with a high profile adoptions of its near-duplicates and e-mail thread technology by Barrister Digital Solutions and by Bowman and Brooke LLP.
If you want to see all this for yourself, Equivio will be at LegalTech in February. Warwick Sharp of Equivio, who is my main contact there, is moderating a panel on Monday, 1 February on the track Risk Mitigation: Leading Practices in Information Management and Discovery. I am an enthusiast for Equivio, and not just for their own technology – they have the knack of describing the broader problems and solutions in a way which makes them less daunting. As the MCC article says, I am happy to talk about the subjects discussed in it, whether at LegalTech or before it.