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Understanding the value of structured data

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!

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                 

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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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.

How can banks reduce litigation and investigation-related legal costs?

How can banks reduce legal costs?

Last week over 50 corporate in-house counsel and lawyers working in the financial sector gathered in the rather glamorous surroundings of the Banking Hall to join Kroll Ontrack  for our breakfast seminar, ‘Banks or Law Firms: Who holds the purse strings’

After a delicious breakfast, our illustrious panel tackled the complex and often, controversial topic of managing legal costs for banking-related investigations and litigations. The key themes up for debate were:

  • How recent ‘big ticket’ regulatory investigations have affected the banking world
  • Using the latest predictive coding technology to reduce legal costs
  • Leveraging corporate buying power when using law firms and other professional service providers
  • Discussing alternative pricing structures
  • Examining the pros and cons of unbundling legal services

The debate was moderated by Ben Fielding of Kroll Ontrack and our speakers included Elizabeth Meekison a Senior Lawyer in Commercial Litigation atLloyds Banking Group,  Mark Humphries – Senior Partner at Humphries Kerstetter, Thomas Leyland, Partner at Dentons and,  Orion Wisness, Discovery Consultant at Kroll Ontrack. With representation from in-house counsel from banks, senior partners from top law firms and a technology provider, each brought their own experiences and opinions to what was an eloquent, wide-ranging, and informative discussion.

The key points that emerged were:

Priorities for banks:

  • Banks value accuracy, defensibility of process and not necessarily lower costs when it comes to ediscovery
  • Working collaboratively with law firms and technology providers and ensuring regular and effective communication

The benefits of proactivity:

  • The importance of involving an ediscovery provider from the beginning of the disclosure process or investigation.
  • How implementing information governance strategies and managing the quantity and location of your data can reduce costs.
  • How fixed fee modelling could be implemented (and why this might not be a possibility in certain cases.)

Legislative concerns:

  • Are the standard disclosure rules too broad?
  • In light of spiralling data volumes, should the disclosure rules be modified so they are closer to the arbitration model?

The importance of predictive coding technology

With the recent judgement (Pyrrho Investments v MWB Property [2016] EWHC 256 (Ch)) approving the use of predictive coding still hot news, much of the debate and audience’s questions were focused on:

  • How technology such as predictive coding can be used to reduce the burden of big data in litigation and investigations
  • The implications of the recent judgement approving use of predictive coding technology in the UK
  • The need for both corporations and law firms to fully understand exactly what predictive coding entails in terms of both its capabilities and its limitations

We would like to thank speakers for taking the time out of their busy schedules to take part in the debate and share their expertise. We’d also like to thank our guests for joining us and further enlivening the discussion with their considered questions.

 

Is it time for banks to take greater control of their legal spend?

Legal fees incurred by banks can have a huge impact on profits. Deutsche Bank provides a prime example of this; according to data from Bloomberg, they have spent more than any other European financial institution due to a combination of regulatory fines and litigation costs.  Around 1.2 billion euros were earmarked for litigation. These legal costs have, in part, led to the bank reporting a  2.1 billion euro loss in the fourth quarter with the bank’s stock falling to the lowest value since 2009. In contrast, Bank of America’s profits rose by 10%, in part due to a reduction in spending on legal fees.

This leaves in-house lawyers in an awkward position when regulatory scrutiny and in-progress litigation cases are unavoidable but they are facing more pressure to cut cost.

The first port of call for any in-house counsel managing regulatory investigations is usually a trusted law firm, Yet, with the culture of billable hours being so prevalent, are law firms in the best position to provide the improved efficiencies and reduced costs in-house counsel are seeking?

Indeed, such is the concern about spiralling legal costs that the Competitions and Markets Authority, an organisation more associated with causing legal fees, recently announced that plans to investigate law firms in light the following concerns:

  • Whether clients can drive effective competition by making informed purchasing decisions;
  • Whether clients are adequately protected from potential harm or can obtain satisfactory redress if legal services go wrong;
  • How regulation and the regulatory framework impact on competition for the supply of legal services.

Kroll Ontrack is hosting a seminar discussing this difficult topic, with speakers from leading banks (Lloyds, Barclays) and top law firms (Dentons and Humphries Kerstetter). In what will no doubt be a fiery debate, the panel will discuss:

  • How recent ‘big ticket’ regulatory investigations have affected the banking world
  • Using new technology to reduce expenditure
  • Leveraging buying power when using law firms and other professional service providers
  • Discussing the relative merits of fixed fee vs billable hour pricing structures
  • Examining the pros and cons of unbundling legal services

To register for the event, please click here.