A practical guide to predictive coding

Did you miss out on our practical predictive coding event? Not to worry! We’ve created a twenty minute tutorial video that will guide you through the basics of using predictive coding technology.

Presented by Kroll Ontrack’s predicitive coding gurus and using real life case studies as examples, you will learn how predictive coding technology works and how you can use predictive coding technology in your own cases.

We hope you enjoy the video and find it illuminating, but if you have any further questions please get in touch in the comments or by emailing enquiries@krollontrack.co.uk.

Practical Predictive Coding

 

 

Understanding the value of structured data

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In the earlier days of ediscovery, the spotlight was on handling the spiralling volumes of unstructured data such as emails and documents. Email in particular changed the face of ediscovery and nowadays, most lawyers working in litigation or competition are now sophisticated consumers or users of ediscovery technology. However, another source of electronic evidence is becoming increasingly important- structured data. Structured data refers to any data that resides in a fixed field within a record or file. This includes data contained in relational databases and spreadsheets and so often includes financial or operational information.

Research conducted by the Data Warehouse Institute has found that approximately 47 per cent of corporate data are structured in nature, compared to 31 per cent of unstructured data, leaving the remaining 22 percent classified as semi-structured data.

Yet, despite the prevalence of this kind of data, many clients are unsure how to deal with unstructured data and when faced with Question 5 of the Electronic Document Questionnaire, they are firmly out of their comfort zone.

Whilst it might be intimidating or tempting to neglect this, structured data is a valuable source of electronic evidence and quite often is a treasure trove of information. With the right tools and expertise, it is possible to unearth trends, patterns, and red flags which can be used in an investigation or as intelligence into an organisation’s operations.

Much like ediscovery tools revolutionised the analysis of emails, data analytics tools are helping tackle the challenge of extracting, processing and transforming structured data into meaningful  electronic evidence. This evidence can be stand alone or supplementary to unstructured data such as email and documents typically reviewed and exchanged during the ediscovery process in legal proceedings.

Want to find out more?  Shine a light on Data Analytics

Join experts from Kroll and Kroll Ontrack on 13th October 2016 for a discussion of the ways in which data analytics tools can be used to provide advanced data insight for investigations, litigation and regulatory requests.

Using real world case studies, our speakers will illustrate how these tools have been used to unlock relevant information, and suggest ways to get the most out of your use of analytics.

Date: 13th October 2016

Timetable

  • Registration: 6:00pm
  • Presentation: 6:30pm – 8:00pm
  • Drinks and networking: 8:00pm
  • Location: Kroll Ontrack, Nexus, 25 Farringdon Street, London, EC4A 4AB

To register your place, please click here.

IBA Conference 2016: See you in DC!

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The International Bar Association’s Annual Conference is one of the highlights of the international legal calendar with over 6,000 delegates from around the world attending. We are delighted to be exhibiting once again and are looking forward to meeting existing clients and new faces.

The 2016 conference is being held in Washington DC and unsurprisingly, has attracted a prestigious panel of leading legal, financial and political figures including such as former US Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde and Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S Mueller, III. If that wasn’t a star-spangled enough line up,  our very own Hitesh Chowdhry has been invited to speak on a panel on Thursday 22nd Sept at 10.45am in Balcony B, Mezzanine Level.

Entitled ‘Recalls, reputations and repeat business: bringing companies and their products back from the brink of disaster’, Hitesh and his fellow panellists will be discussing the many essential considerations arising for companies and their in-house counsel in the midst of reputational crises fuelled by an urgent (typically global) recall of products from consumers.

The panel will present real-world recall examples and the companies and lawyers who were in the trenches, as well as true to life case studies in this interactive and vibrant session, with a focus on the winning legal, communications and public relations strategies that bring companies and their products back from the brink of disaster.

Members of our EMEA team will also be based at booths 40 and 41 and will be available to answer any electronic evidence-based questions you may have. We will also be launching the second edition of our New Frontiers report, which is bigger and better than before. Come say hello and get your copy hot off the press!

 

Predictive coding: a little less conversation, a little more action                 

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Predictive coding has been the hot topic of conversation for a while now. Both legal technology providers and industry thought leaders have waxed lyrical about its efficacy and this year marked the first time a UK court had approved the technology for use in a case. Yet despite this, one topic of conversation has remained untouched; how do you use the technology?

We decided to rectify this situation by hosting a unique seminar:-  Predictive Coding: Getting it Done. Held in the Museum of the Order of St John’s Chapter Hall, the seminar was led by Kroll Ontrack’s predictive coding experts Jim Sullivan and Leon Major. We were also delighted to welcome guest speakers Emily Maxwell of DLA Piper  and Ilaria de Lisa, Gleiss Lutz. As Kroll Ontrack clients, Emily and Ilaria were able to provide their unique insights into using predictive coding.

The seminar’s jam-packed agenda covered all the practical predictive coding basics including a breakdown of common terminology, an overview of the scenarios in which predictive coding can be used and, a step-by-step guide to using predictive coding using real life case studies as examples. Guests also had the opportunity to have their questions answered by our experts.

Following the presentation, guests gathered in the Museum’s medieval cloister gardens to enjoy a champagne reception and to make the most out of the unusually pleasant summer weather! Originally used by the Order of St John for growing medicinal herbs, the Cloister gardens is one of London’s hidden gems; a rose and lavender-scented oasis which proved to be the perfect location for relaxing after a very informative workshop.


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Brexit and data protection

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As the world contemplates the ramifications of the EU referendum, we’ve speculated as to how Brexit might change the way our clients handle data transfers in litigation and investigations.

What legislative regime would govern the UK?

The UK currently operates under the Data Protection Act 1998, which was enacted to bring British law in line with the EU Data Protection Directive (DPD). Since Britain has voted to leave the EU it is likely that the Data Protection Act 1998 will remain unchanged at least during the transition period.

For businesses operating solely within the UK, this means business as usual. However, things become complicated when a business needs to transfer data to or from another European country.

The EU is currently in the midst of replacing the General Data Protection Directive with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and had Britain voted to remain, British businesses would have had to comply with this new, tougher legislation which includes:

  • Increased fines, up to 4% of the annual global turnover
  • A “Privacy by design” provision requiring that data protection is designed into business services. Companies will need to ensure they are adopting measures to protect data right from the start of a client engagement.
  • Explicit consent being obtained for the collection and processing of data.
  • The appointment of an independent Data Protection Officer.
  • A “Right to be forgotten”. A client has the right to request the erasing of personal data. Companies will need to take steps to understand how they can comply with such a request.
  • A prohibition on data being transferred outside the EU without approval from the relevant supervisory body.

However, Brexit is not simply a case of “in” or “out” and much of the potential consequences of leaving depend on whether or not Britain becomes part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or completely severs ties.

If Britain becomes part of the EEA, this would afford Britain the same status as other European countries such as Norway and Iceland. This would mean it would be designated a ‘safe area’ under the GDPR.  In business terms, this would make data transfers somewhat easier, assuming the EU found the UK’s safeguards to be appropriate.  However, this would mean that the UK would still be subject to the DPD and from May 2018, the GDPR, when transferring data across borders to comply with legal obligations in other countries.

An EU-UK Privacy Shield?

If the UK does not become part of the EEA, the UK would probably have to negotiate an agreement similar to the EU-US Privacy Shield in order for UK companies to continue to transfer data between the UK and countries in the EU.

In this scenario it is likely the Article 29 Working Party would suggest similar terms to the US:

  • An ombudsman to handle complaints from EU citizens about the UK security services accessing their data.
  • UK Security services / the Home Office to provide written commitments that Europeans’ personal data will not be subject to mass surveillance.
  • An annual review or audit to check the new system is working properly.

The Upshot

Data protection legislation is changing regardless of the outcome of the referendum and British businesses need to be prepared for these changes. Until the UK finalises its data protection regime and comes to an agreement with the EU, companies need to think carefully about the risks of transferring data across European borders. However, business does not have to come to standstill; law firms and companies can rely on Kroll Ontrack’s mobile ediscovery solution and network of European offices and data centres to continue to process and transfer data in Europe in a compliant and cost-effective manner. We have always catered for the data protection needs of our clients as they take all laws and regulations into consideration.

Brexit: Our position

Although the results of the referendum are clear, the full impact of Brexit on data transfers in litigation and investigations is dependent on whether or not Britain becomes part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or the European Free Trade Association.

If the UK becomes part of the EEA and the EU finds the UK’s data protection safeguards to be appropriate this would make transferring data outside of the UK easier. However, it is likely that businesses will still have to comply with the new requirements to be implemented under the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation, when transferring data across borders to comply with legal obligations in other countries.  Both legal mechanisms and technology solutions are relied upon in these situations to safeguard the personal data of European citizens.

If Britain does not become part of the EEA, the situation is more complicated and it is likely that an arrangement similar to the EU-US Privacy Shield would need to be agreed.  This will provide a safe passage for the transfer of data between the UK and other countries in Europe

Until the UK finalises its data protection regime and comes to an agreement with the EU companies need to think carefully about the risks of transferring data across European borders.  Business does not have to come to a standstill; law firms and companies can rely on Kroll Ontrack’s mobile ediscovery solution and network of European offices to continue processing and transferring data in Europe in a compliant and cost-effective manner.   We have always catered for the data protection needs of our clients as they take all laws and regulations into consideration.

 

Putting the crypt into encryption

Last week a group of intrepid lawyers joined us for a foray into the fascinating worlds of computer forensic investigations and fine wine.  Entitled the Gigabyte and the Grape, the event was designed to stimulate both the mind and the palate. However, the event proved to be so popular that we quickly outgrew the capacity of the original venue! We are always pleasantly surprised when our events exceed anticipated demand but given the growing importance of electronic evidence in legal proceedings, it is perhaps less surprising that brushing up on computer forensics knowledge is becoming a greater training priority for lawyers across practice areas.

Thankfully we were able to upgrade our venue to the historic St Andrew Holborn, dividing our time between the beautiful beamed Court House room for the presentation and the atmospheric crypts for the wine tasting segment of the evening.

The Gigabytes…

courthouseAfter a welcome drink, Lead Forensic Consultant  Tony Dearsley led our guests through our ‘Forensics for Lawyers’ presentation.

As the title might suggest, the purpose of the presentation is educating lawyers and although there is technical information and explanations, we focus on providing information that can be used in practice, covering key topics such as:

  • The types of data that can be extracted
  • The types of device which can contain evidence
  • Digital forensics methods
  • How digital forensic evidence can be used in cases

The Grapes…

cryptAfter the presentation, we entered the candle-lit crypts for the second part of this educational event; a wine tasting hosted by renowned sommelier Gilbert Winfield. Gilbert guided our guests through a flight of fine wines, starting with a Nicholas Feuillatte champagne and ending with a rare Madeira.

Accompanied by canapes specially-selected to match the wines on offer, it was a very convivial evening and one which we hope has given our guests useful insights on the power of computer forensics.

ProFile: Stephanie Painter (Associate Case Manager)

Stephanie Painter is one of our newest members of the Case Management team at Kroll Ontrack. Always popular with our clients and dedicated to her work (so much so that one of them accused her of being ‘too nice’ at our Christmas comedy evening! ), we decided to catch up with Stephanie to look back over her first year at Kroll Ontrack and find out a bit more about the woman behind the job. 

Ediscovery is still quite a specialist industry. What made you decide to pursue a career as a case manager?

I have always been interested in law, both in terms of legal practice and academically. I have an LLB  from Exeter University and went on to do an LLM in International Human Rights Law which was really fascinating and something I am still passionate about in my spare time (more on that later!-ed). After graduating I initially worked as a legal assistant in the residential conveyancing and litgation departments. It was here that I first became interested in and aware of ediscovery. Working in litigation gave me hands on experience of how technology can make or break a case and I found myself becoming more drawn to the ediscovery/investigative side of things. To cut a longer story short, I have now been at Kroll Ontrack for just over a year and I am fully immersed in the world of ediscovery!

Stephanie Painter. Kroll Ontrack. London.

Stephanie Painter. Kroll Ontrack. London

That sounds intense! How have you found it?

Although I had some relevant experience from my litigation days, it has been a steep learning curve!  I not only had to learn about ediscovery but also get up to speed with Computer Forensics  and Data Analytics, both of which were completely new areas for me.

Thankfully, Kroll Ontrack and the Case Management team have helped build my confidence. I started by learning on the job and assisting with smaller projects with just a few custodians and quickly progressed to working on a project with over 15 million documents!

What are you working on at the moment?

My current workload is a prime example of just how varied and busy the job can be. As I write this, I am managing a number of projects including a large multi-faceted project for a Silver Circle Law Firm, with Computer Forensics and Managed Review elements. This type of project presents unique challenges. I am not only responsible for educating our clients about the ediscovery process but also for overseeing the collection, processing and review of millions of documents which are spread across a number of data bases. A year later and I am building up my own contacts and taking on large, international projects independently.

What do you like best about being a case manager?

Ediscovery is very much a global industry and as someone interested in international law, I am really enjoying cases that have an international flavour. So far, I have been helping clients with cases spanning Europe, the US and Asia. Over the past year I have travelled to Barcelona, Amsterdam and Milan a number of times. Trips to Switzerland and Rome are also on the cards! I have always loved travelling, so it is great to now be able to do it as part of my role here at Kroll Ontrack. Being able to travel and meet clients at their own offices (in beautiful European cities!) has been a real highlight.

Well, that’s the work stuff out of the way! You’re obviously very busy but when you do have spare time how do you like to spend it?

Yes, I certainly do like to be busy, so I usually always have something planned for the weekend! I am a Qualified Mountain Leader and teach the Duke of Edinburgh award, so can often be found half way up a mountain teaching teenagers navigation. I also share a horse with my friend at home in the Cotswolds and like to ride as often as I can. I have volunteered with the Red Cross for the last 3 years and go across to the Refugee Destitution Centre in Hackney a few times a month at lunchtimes or in the evenings.  We have been delivering English writing classes that encourage creativity and the poems that the refugees have been writing are truly inspiring. I am a keen advocate of volunteering and like to encourage everyone to find some time in our busy lives to give something back to the community!

Our German Document Review Centre is now open

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Following the continued success of our London document review centre and unprecedented demand from European clients, we have now opened our purpose-built document review facility in Germany, located just outside of Stuttgart.

Stuttgart is a city renowned for being home to leading high-tech corporations, financial services providers and law firms, making it a natural location for our services. As Stuttgart boasts excellent transport links, clients from cities inside and outside of Germany are only a train ride away.

Key facts

German-qualified lawyers with a global outlook

Our pool of review lawyers are primarily from Germany and qualified at German law schools, meaning they are experts on German law and are often native German speakers. However, many of our review lawyers speak second or third languages and have extensive experience working at leading global firms.  At the moment, our document review centre is a little like a condensed version of Europe with current reviewers speaking and reviewing documents in  German, English, Spanish, French, Romanian and many other languages!

Designed with reviewers in mind

Our success in London has partly been down to the reviewer-focused way in which our facility is managed and designed and we have followed the same principles in Germany. Our document review centre provides lawyers with comfortable, ergonomic workstations as well as dedicated kitchens and break areas where it is possible to relax and make personal phone calls (mobile phones are not allowed in the review rooms).

As well as the facilities, our document reviewers receive a warm welcome and are invited to take part in socials and networking events alongside our permanent ediscovery team.

Details such as these have proven very popular with review lawyers and have enabled us to attract and retain the best review lawyers in the business, which in turn retains old clients and attracts new ones.

 

The ‘Go’-ahead for Artificial Intelligence

Go and artificial intelligence

In 1996 chess master Garry Kasparov was beaten by Deep Blue, a supercomputer developed by IBM. Before Kasparov was defeated, many commentators thought that it would be impossible for a computer to beat a human at the game. Chess is a sophisticated game, lauded for its complexity and often used as a measure of human intelligence and human success at the game depends on reading one’s opponent and planning. However, unlike a human, a chess computer is able to analyse all potential moves, a tactic that ultimately led DeepBlue to beat Kasparov.

Fast forward 20 years and there has been another surprise victory for artificial intelligence; this time with a Google-developed program called AlphaGo beating Lee Sedol, a 9thdan champion of the strategy game Go.

Go has long fascinated mathematicians and computer scientists. Back in 1965, the cryptologist I. J. Good described the difficulties involved in a computer beating a human Go player:

“Go on a computer? – In order to programme a computer to play a reasonable game of Go, rather than merely a legal game – it is necessary to formalise the principles of good strategy, or to design a learning programme. The principles are more qualitative and mysterious than in chess, and depend more on judgment. So I think it will be even more difficult to programme a computer to play a reasonable game of Go than of chess.”

Unlike chess, which is played on a board consisting of a twelve by twelve grid with only twenty-four pieces, Go is played on a 19×19 grid and uses counters known as stones. A standard Go set contains a whopping 181 black stones and 180 white stones. In order to win, a player must capture an opponent’s stones. Unlike chess, this is achieved by surrounding a stone with multiple stones which in turn makes mapping the number of potential moves much more difficult if not mathematically impossible. In other words Go is like chess on steroids.

Even as recently as 2015, the best Go programs only managed to reach amateur level and prompted prominent investors such as Elon Musk to comment that we were still 10 years away from a victory against a top ranking professional player.

So how did the computer finally beat a human?

Put simply, by being more human.  AlphaGo’s algorithm uses machine learning, neural networks and tree search techniques to make decisions. The program’s neural networks were initially trained to mimic expert human gameplay using data from historical games played by experts. This data consisted of around 30 million moves from around 160,000 games.  After this period of learning, the program was trained further by playing large numbers of games against other versions of itself. Once it had reached a certain degree of proficiency, it was trained further by being set to play large numbers of games against other instances of itself. Unlike chess programs, AlphaGo doesn’t use a ‘database’ of moves to play.

Because of this, the outcome of the game against Sedol was a complete surprise to AlphaGo’s creators. One of the developers commented:

“Although we have programmed this machine to play, we have no idea what moves it will come up with. Its moves are an emergent phenomenon from the training. We just create the data sets and the training algorithms. But the moves it then comes up with are out of our hands—and much better than we, as Go players, could come up with.”

Predictive coding: science fact not science fiction

The story of AlphaGo gives a fascinating insight how artificial intelligence is developing and  uses similar techniques to  our own predictive coding technology. In the same way AlphaGo uses machine learning to learn from past games, expert human reviewers train our platform to identify which documents are relevant and make legal document reviews more efficient.

For AlphaGo, this has resulted in a victory against one of the finest human players whereas predictive coding technology has received judicial approval stating that it is as efficient as traditional document review using keyword searches also uses machine learning techniques to mimic a human reviewer.

Many people still have doubts about using predictive coding technology but we hope intelligence victories such as AlphaGo’s will lead to greater public awareness about the capabilities of machine learning technology. After all, if a computer can beat a human in a game as complex as Go, suddenly believing in the capabilities predictive coding seems less of a leap of faith.