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How do ediscovery platforms manage the challenge of East Asian languages?

As a global company, it is always interesting to learn about how clients and colleagues use technology to overcome challenges. In our recent Face to Face with the Regulators symposium, one of the key requirements for clients working in Asia is capacity for their ediscovery vendors to deal with East Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

We caught up with our friends and colleagues at KrolLDiscovery APAC to find out how ediscovery technology tackles these languages.

How have you seen Asian countries like China handle the challenge of handling data in multiple languages during international and national e-discovery projects?

Working in multiple languages either nationally or internationally can present a number of challenges. First, you need an ediscovery platform capable of handling multiple languages including Chinese, which comes with its own set of challenges specific to the written form (more on this later). Secondly, you need to have in place native speakers in each language who understand the legal and technological considerations of each case. For international projects, there is a third consideration that you need teams that can work locally in each country whilst still communicating and working as part of a wider global team.

Our Asian clients come to us because our combination of technology, global network and local expertise mitigates these challenges. In terms of technology, our ediscovery platforms can handle hundreds of languages including Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese. One platform can handle multiple languages within one country, simplifying national ediscovery projects with multiple language requirements.

For international projects, we like to say we are around the globe but across the street. Our case managers, consultants and forensics experts are based in local offices and speak the local language but are part of something bigger and often work on cross-border cases in conjunction with our other teams around the world.  We believe this is the key to a successful ediscovery project involving multiple languages and jurisdictions as ultimately, there needs to be cohesion and collaboration to ensure the deadlines and requirements in all countries involved are met.

 What are some of the nuances or idiosyncrasies of the Chinese language which may make it more difficult than English to review for e-discovery practitioners and e-discovery tools / machines? Do other related Asian languages share the same nuances / idiosyncrasies?

The biggest challenge for ediscovery practitioners and ediscovery software developers alike is handling the written forms of Chinese and other East Asian languages. Unlike Western languages using Roman or Cyrillic alphabets where each letter represent sounds to build words, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Japanese and Korean language groups use a logographic system. As a result, single characters can represent anything from a single word to multiple words to entire phrases. Furthermore there are no spaces to segment individual words. A string of characters can be read differently depending on where they are segmented by the reader or indeed, in ediscovery cases, the platform.

When looking for an ediscovery platform to use in China, it is vital that effective tokenization systems are in place.  Tokenization is the process of segmenting character to strings to define words and phrases. The best ediscovery systems use sophisticated tokenization systems to ensure searches of accurate. In contrast, more basic platforms deploy a simplistic method whereby each character is assigned a word. Given the nuances involved, these systems can result in unreliable and inaccurate data filtering and processing.

Language recognition can also present a problem during Asian ediscovery projects.  For example, the Japanese has three written language systems;  hiragana and  katakana which are syllabaries (phonetic writing systems where each character represents a syllable) and kanji. Katakana is primarily used to transcribe foreign words. Kanji is a logographic system that uses a lot of characters common to written Chinese. On a similar note, some Japanese text is written in ‘Romaji’ where the Roman alphabet is used to write in Japanese. As a result, some platforms may not recognize a text as being written in the Japanese.

When looking for ediscovery providers for projects in Asia, it is always best to choose companies that employ native speakers in their consultancy, case management and computer forensics teams. Aside from the complications involved for platforms handling Asian written languages, human readers can also struggle. Asian languages are richly nuanced and the meaning of a word or phrase can be changed by the use of different tones or regional dialect. Even fluent second language speakers may miss these nuances which could result in significant misunderstandings that may affect the outcome of a case or investigation.

Have you seen more e-discovery companies or practitioners use advanced technology like AI to better mitigate language challenges when conducting e-discovery? If so, how?

Asia is only just beginning to discover the advantages of predictive coding technology. The majority of our clients in Asia are using predictive coding to automatically create workflows by identifying documents according to language and then segregating documents for processing accordingly.

However, some of our more technologically savvy clients are starting to unlock the potential predictive coding has for refining the ediscovery process on projects involving Asian languages for example, to look documents containing for colloquialisms or other ambiguous language that requires further human review to improve clarity and understanding.

 

 

Face to Face with the Regulators in Tokyo

On July 26th, our Tokyo office hosted a unique event: Face to Face with the Regulators.  Delegates were able to get up close and personal with regulators from the US Department of Justice, US Securities & Exchange Commission and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for a discussion on the following topic :

  • Enforcement trends
  • Industries under the regulators’ spotlight
  • The conflict between US regulators’ expectations and business culture in Japan
  • Clarifying regulators’ expectations
  • Managing ediscovery requirements and tips for a cost-effective process

Although the day was designed to help Japanese businesses, the insights that were shared are valuable for European businesses who have subsidiaries in the USA.  Below is a high level overview of the the key points that came out of the day’s discussions.

  1. Pay now or pay later. Implementing and investing in compliance programmes is something that will save your company money in the long run. It is always better and cheaper to uncover wrongdoing and use leniency programs than undergo an investigation triggered by a whistleblower or having attracted scrutiny from regulators. This applies to both anti-bribery and antitrust cases.
  2. Collaboration between national and international regulators is increasing each year.  This means there are more resources to conduct investigations leading to more prosecutions and subsequently more risks for companies operating domestically and abroad.
  3. Third party subsidiaries, partner organisations and suppliers remain a source of considerable risk for companies. Companies need to be vigilant and ensure that their compliance programmes and training extends to these organisations and individuals. Management needs to buy into to compliance and communicate directly with those on the ground to understand and manage risks.
  4. Individuals are becoming more important to investigations. Programs have been introduced that financially reward individuals for reporting wrongdoing to the authorities. This will incentivise potential whistleblowers into taking action against their companies. Equally, individuals violating antitrust and anti-bribery legislation are at risk from prosecution and can receive harsh including fines and prison sentences.
  5. Ediscovery is essential for effectively responding to regulatory investigations and facilitating efficient compliance programs. The sophistication of this technology means you can respond quickly to requests for information, uncover and preserve key evidence and avoid excessive costs associated with processing large volumes of data

Thank you to all of our speakers, delegates and our colleagues in the Tokyo office for making the event so informative and inspirational.

Ediscovery Costs: Pay as you gone?

eDiscovery On-Demand

In today’s no-frills ‘on-demand’ economy, customers apparently want to rent rather than own things. Why commit to purchasing a car when you can order a cab instantaneously? Why take on permanent lawyers in-house when you can hire temps as and when required? And in the ediscovery world, why pay astronomical sums to license technology in-house when you can tender out work to vendors on a project-by-project basis? The way ediscovery technology is bought and sold is a hot topic.

The latter ‘pay as you go via tender’ model has been the preferred modus operandi for most law firms in the UK and Ireland. Many of the firms who have tried to make ediscovery into a ‘profit centre’ by licensing technology in-house have failed to do so. In my experience the reasons for this have included the following:

  • The up-front hardware costs can be enormous;
  • Technology becomes obsolete quickly and law firms are not set up to maintain it;
  • A small team (often only one person) within the firm knows how to operate the technology. The firm therefore becomes overly-reliant on those people; as and when they leave they take the key operational knowledge with them. One firm I deal with has been without a litigation support manager for 2 years and hires external consultants to operate their system on an ad hoc basis;
  • The ‘profit centre’ argument may make sense on paper, but in reality the technology cost is often the first line item to get written off of a client’s bill.

A False Economy?

That said, the tender model is not without its difficulties. Ediscovery is not a taxi service – it is a complex blend of technological and consultative processes which requires matter-specific application. Not to mention time and costs. Associates often spend an inordinate amount of (non-billable) time comparing quotes that seem to require a PhD in Mathematics to comprehend. Even if estimates are put into a standardised format, predicting data volumes can be as kind to the forecaster as predicting the British weather. All of which goes against the maxim that costs in litigation should be both reasonable and predictable.

The reality is that ediscovery is an integral part of the modern litigator’s practice needs. Whilst only some matters proceed to the disclosure stage, the perusal of electronic data is often necessary to assess merits at the outset of a matter. At that stage a client is just about content to invest money in legal advice, let alone to approve a disbursement for technology to enable that advice. Lawyers now need the comfort of an in-house system where they can upload data as and when they please without incurring the stress, time and moreover the uncertainty of a full-blown tender process. Could you imagine having to contact three or four companies every time you needed to conduct some legal research or find a precedent? This has led to forward-thinking law firms pursuing a third option for the procurement of ediscovery services – the subscription model.

Just Sign Here…

A subscription model (aka a Software as a Service model) is a fully-flexible solution which allows you to pay a fixed monthly sum for a certain volume of data to be hosted across an unlimited number of matters. The pricing is set out in ‘bands’ so that you have the flexibility to increase your hosting volume without incurring any extra costs up until you reach the next tier. Each offering is designed bespoke to the client’s needs. The advantages are as follows:

  • There is far greater certainty on costs than under a ‘pay as you go’ model;
  • Lawyers can save significant time and stress by avoiding the tender process;
  • There is a tangible value-add to point your clients to. ‘Innovative’ has become an overused buzzword in law firms’ self-descriptions. Relieving clients of the uncertainty of ediscovery costs and being able to analyse key electronic data immediately when instructed on a matter are strengths to genuinely shout about;
  • There is no need to worry about paying huge up-front sums to invest in technology. Your provider will maintain the hardware and software in their own data centre. Moreover, you will have the ability to host data in any of the provider’s global centres and on any of the review platforms that they offer. I have come across dozens of organisations who are using an outdated review platform purely because at the time they licensed it, it was cutting-edge. As Blackberry has discovered, 5 years is a long time in business;
  • You can build a relationship with people at the provider, and set in motion a style of working that suits your firm, so that you receive a consistent, repeatable service. There is also no concern about an over-reliance on one person at your firm; some of our project managers are considered by their clients as extensions of the legal team.
  • You can decide how to bill your clients for ediscovery services.

How much does it cost?

Naturally, firms will be concerned that a subscription model is only suitable for those firms with the deepest pockets. That is simply not the case. Rather than focusing on costs, you are advised to approach vendors with a ‘wish-list’ of services and a budget in mind (it may be the last time you need to contact more than one provider). We have law firms who are able to service their clients’ needs with a spend of around £10,000 per annum. Small change for speed, reliability, and a competitive advantage.

Time to get off the app and into the driving seat.

About Hitesh Chowdhry

Hitesh Chowdhry joined Kroll Ontrack’s London office in July 2014. He sits as a consultant within the Electronic Evidence Consultancy team, advising lawyers and their clients on how to effectively manage electronically stored documents in litigation, arbitration, and internal or regulatory investigations. Hitesh studied law up to Master’s level at Kings College, London. He trained as a solicitor at City firm Penningtons LLP, and qualified into the litigation department there in 2008. Hitesh moved on to join the Treasury Solicitor’s Department in 2010, where he acted on behalf of the Home Secretary in human rights claims. Prior to joining Kroll Ontrack, Hitesh spent one year working as a document review lawyer at various US firms in the City of London. Hitesh is currently studying an Executive MBA at the Cass Business School, London.

Ediscovery trends in 2017: from artificial intelligence to mobile data centres

2017

2017 is set to be a year of change as organisations prepare for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence. Faced with the need to manage greater volumes of data as well as multiplying communications channels, organisations and their legal representatives will be increasingly reliant on ediscovery technology processes to reduce the time needed to identify and manage information required to satisfy regulatory and legal issues.

Against this backdrop, we make the following predictions for 2017:

  1. Technology will play a vital role in helping organisations prepare for GDPR

The tough new General Data Protection Regulation currently being implemented in Europe will have a global impact. In cross-border litigation and investigations, where data needs to cross borders to comply with discovery requests, mobile discovery will become essential.  These solutions capture, process, filter and examine data on-site, avoiding the need to transfer data across borders. GDPR has strict rules for protecting individuals’ right to be forgotten and organisations will need the relevant tools to find and erase personal data. Breaches of some provisions by businesses, which law makers have deemed to be most important for data protection, could lead to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year, whichever is the greater, being levied by data watchdogs.

  1. Ediscovery will find new homes beyond regulation and legislation

While ediscovery is widely used by professionals working on legal cases in litigation, regulation, competition law and merger control, employment law and arbitration, it will be used more and more this year in an anticipatory manner by organisations to identify, isolate and address any concerns about compliance that could expose them to the risk of some kind of intervention or sanction.  This trend will be exacerbated by the introduction of an increasingly complex and aggressive regulatory environment, exemplified by the French Anti-Corruption laws adopted in November 2016.

  1. New sources of evidence will move into the spotlight

Enterprises are creating more data than ever before. Data can be found anywhere that there are storage devices to hold it, whether that is a data centre, laptop, mobile, on wearable devices or the Cloud. Channels to move data from one place to another are also proliferating. As a result we are seeing a diversification of evidence sources being used to build up a picture of what has happened in a legal matter. Whilst email and structured data remain the most common sources of evidence, other data sources such as social media, satellite navigation systems are gaining in importance and providing key insights into many cases. Clients are increasingly choosing ediscovery providers who can integrate a wider variety of data sources into one platform for analysis.

  1. The robots are coming.

Savvy law firms and corporate counsel will benefit from bringing the latest technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) to the attention of their clients. A long line of court decisions in the US, and now also in the UK and Ireland has already driven greater interest in and adoption of predictive coding.

  1. The ediscovery industry will continue to evolve

The past few years have seen huge changes in the ediscovery industry itself as it seeks to provide the technologies that organisations need to keep up with more stringent regulation in data governance. Only larger, international partners now have the resources and capabilities required to provide local services and data processing centres where organisations need them, together with cutting edge tools and technologies to manage huge volumes of data and channels moving forwards.

  1. Big data will take centre stage in competition and data privacy matters

Regulators are becoming increasingly aware of the competition and data privacy implications of big data. From a competition point of view, big data held by companies can trigger both Articles 101 (relating to antitrust cases) and 102 TFEU (abuse of dominance cases). This is highlighted by the joint report of May 2016 from the French and German Competition Authorities entitled Competition Law and Data which explains that big data can trigger article 101 TFEU and thus be considered a cartel. Companies that handle substantial data volumes on a day-to-day basis will need to factor it into their compliance strategies and embrace technological solutions to aid in investigations and redactions.

  1. There will be a greater need for electronic documents

Despite evidence becoming mostly electronic, until recently regulatory authorities still required the submission hard copies of RFI forms, merger filings and other investigatory materials. However, the introduction of the European Commission’s eQuestionnaire for merger control and antitrust cases means parties must now submit all information electronically.

In December 2016, the EC has also recently published guidelines entitled “Recommendations for the Use of Electronic Document Submissions in Antitrust and Cartel Case Proceedings”. It is important to note that the EC strongly encourages the use of electronic formats even for paper documents which means they have to be scanned and made readable.

Tim Philips, Managing Director at Kroll Ontrack, said: “Ediscovery continues to provide essential tools and technologies for all manner of legal matters and allows companies to efficiently navigate through this era of big data, regulatory scrutiny and more stringent data protection requirements. 2017 is set to be another landmark year in terms of the adoption of ediscovery technology and the evolution of ediscovery technology itself.”

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

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Document Review Centre

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since we launched our fabulous Document Review Centre in London? So much has changed since we first opened; we’ve doubled in size, we’ve launched a dedicated website for our review lawyers and we’ve even started to uncover trends in document review.

To celebrate this milestone, we held a party for our team of document review lawyers. Over 60 lawyers from current and past projects joined the managed review team at 1920 Bar in Clerkenwell for drinks and a few ‘friendly’ games of pool.

Below are a couple of photographs from the night.
doc review 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

doc review 4

 

 

 

 

 

We’d like to thank our lawyers for their hard work over the past year; they are often the unsung heroes of a case, working countless weekends, missing Bank Christmas, and generally putting in the hours to make sure clients’ deadlines are met. We hope you enjoyed the party and look forward to another busy year!

 

5 data analytics myths debunked

Data Analytics

Perplexed by Data Analytics? Stuck on statistics? Then fear not, Philip O’Donnell, Forensic Data Analytics Consultant is here to guide you through the fascinating world of analytics, explaining complex concepts, tackling technical terms and showing the power of data in a series of business scenarios.
In his first blog, Philip will debunk some of the most prevalent myths surrounding data analytics. Over to you, Philip!

1) Once you have an analytics tool, anyone can be a data analyst

Father of Data Analytics, John Tukey, summed up the aim of analytics in typically succinct manner by stating,

“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.”

Put broadly, data analytics is a process to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences using mathematical and statistical techniques.

However, many people think data analytics is just a tool that turns data into graphs and that once you have this tool, anyone can analyse data. This is a little like saying that by owning a saw, you are a master carpenter!
To get the most out of data analytics, it is imperative that the right techniques as well the steps in the process must be understood and used in the right context to be truly effective in any investigation and if performed incorrectly can have misleading discoveries.

2) Data analytics is just for auditors

Where there are people, there is data and this data can be analysed and used to improve the way we operate. Music industry moguls use data analytics to measure listener responses to new music. This then helps them work out which genres, and new artists, are likely to bring them a hit.
Analytics is used by all spheres of society, from medical research and environmental studies to more obvious financial applications. Even Hollywood screenwriters have discovered that analytics can produce great success stories. In the Oscar-winning film Moneyball, a poorly performing baseball team hired a statistics expert to help them change their drafting procedures. By using statistics to help select players rather than traditional scouting methods, the team went onto have the longest winning streak in baseball history.

Analytics helps people in all industries make better, more informed decisions and deliver new innovative ways of thinking and doing business.

3) Data context doesn’t matter

The key component to performing any analytics is to understand the environment in which the client operates. Interpreting and advising on findings is a key aspect of the analytics process, so to really add value for clients, sector knowledge is vastly important. The most experienced data analysts need to understand the context of the data, especially in high profile legal investigations, banking cases, corporate compliance, financial analysis, and government projects. Clients looking to get the most out of their data will need to choose a provider who is able to harness industry knowledge and take a pragmatic approach to data science and analytics methodologies.

4) Analysing data can compromise the security and integrity of data estates

This myth does have some truth in that many inexperienced analysts do not understand the importance of a proper data extraction exercise. Direct extraction of raw data from core system is a key step in the analytics process and in the past, I have seen where incomplete and incorrect data extraction has caused data analytics investigation to be invalidated.
However, an experienced data analytics provider is rigorous in ensuring data extraction is performed correctly and is accountable in the chain of custody. Done properly, performing extraction ensures that the complete dataset and minimises the risk of an incomplete investigation. Extraction is performed in such a way that it does not compromise existing security of the data as well preserving the integrity of the system. Extraction can be performed on multiple data sources. These include relational databases, data warehouses as well legacy flat files and dynamic xml formats.

5) Analytics techniques don’t change

Data analytics is an incredibly dynamic discipline and new techniques are being developed all the time. A good analytics provider will always stay abreast of the latest trends and methods. So what is in store for 2016?

According to the International Analytics Institute the number one trend for analytics in 2016 will be that the distinction between cognitive analytics and automated analytics becomes blurred. Automated analytics is the changing of an airplane price or stock price based on the real-time analysis of factors such as customer demand or other market forces. Cognitive analytics is the inspired by how the human brain processes information, draws conclusions, and codifies instincts and experience into learning. Cognitive analytics uses machine learning techniques such as Neural Networks, Logistic Regression and historic data. By understanding the human decision making and learning process, data scientists can incorporate this knowledge into their models and achieve even more accurate and in-depth insights.

Click here to find out more information about our Data Analytics service.