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.
This is one of the things which emerges from an interesting article in The Lawyer called Joined-Up Thinking. Sponsored by Hobs Legal Docs, the article consists of commentary from senior lawyers who manage such investigations all the time. Much of the article focuses on the use of technology such as predictive coding to identify the scale of the problem and to pull out the key documents very quickly.
Hobbs Legal Docs has, as I have reported before, developed a specialist niche in this area following the appointment of Patrick Rowan. Hobs uses tools like Guidance Software’s EnCase, Relativity Assisted Review, and the Symantec – Clearwell family (which now includes predictive coding) and has access also to Equivio‘s e-mail threading and near-duplicate functionality.
The descriptions of how technology is used are valuable in any context, and I point you to this article whether or not your own practice includes the regulatory matters which are the primary subject matter of the piece.