All posts tagged Technology Assisted Review

Keep on Running

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To many of you, the last Bank Holiday might have been a bit of a washout; a non-event. There was plenty of rain to water the garden but not enough sunshine to enjoy any time there. In Mother Nature’s fuse box, the switch marked ‘Summer’ was most definitely turned to ‘Off’.

I expect (as seems to be the norm these days) that most people would have been checking their smart phones or tablets every five minutes, shopping around for the best weather forecast in order to decide whether to wear sandals or galoshes.

So it wouldn’t surprise me if only a few of you realise how that very same weekend was a busy junction of ‘historic events’ (I use the term loosely because some of them, as you will soon learn, are peculiar to my own experience and really just facilitate the writing of this blog).

This is what I had on my mind:

  • Sir Roger Bannister helped to celebrate the 60th anniversary since he ran the first sub-four-minute mile, by appearing at the Westminster Mile.
  • At the same event, David Weir broke his own world record by completing the 1 mile wheelchair race in 3 minutes and 7 seconds.
  • I also took part in the Westminster Mile and the London 10,000 Metres (the next day), obtaining personal best times in both races (00:06:17 and 00:52:57 respectively). (See?! I warned you!)

Whether or not you are pleased with your results, it is always important to reflect on the reasons for your performance. Personally, I can’t fathom how I managed to shave 45 seconds off my previous best mile and over 6 minutes on the 10k. I wonder if (training aside) it had anything to do with some ediscovery issues that got me….well….a little worked up on both days.

The first was the matter of a short-sighted comment that I heard during my travels through Europe in the week leading up to the Westminster Mile.

I was told by a lawyer that they would never use predictive coding technology to review documents because the DOJ doesn’t accept it. Shortly before 4am on the morning of the race, I woke in my hotel room with these words ringing in my ears. Whether the DOJ accepts it or not, I just couldn’t believe that someone would write off technology that could save time, labour and cost, without considering how they could use it to gain advantage (after all, there are many situations where it is sorely needed and it’s use does not need approval from the DOJ or any other opponent). Anyway, a quick tweet seemed to be the remedy for this bout of insomnia and feeling much better, I managed to get some more sleep ahead of the race.

At breakfast I could see from the window (instead of the BBC Weather app) that it was raining heavily and I was thankful that this would dampen the pollen sufficiently to ensure that I could run reasonably fast and still have good lung power for the longer race the next day. I was mostly keen to ensure that I didn’t exhaust myself to rule out getting a decent time in the long race.

Despite my concern, I found that the going was definitely good. I started well; I got ahead of the rest of my fellow runners and went for it. I even slowed a little to make sure that I maintained a good pace and convinced myself that I would not beat last years’ time of 7 minutes and 2 seconds. So much so that I was very surprised to hear the commentator’s voice announcing through the loud-speaker at the 200 metres marker that anyone finishing now would be just outside of 5½ minutes. After the surprise, I realised there lurked another analogy to ediscovery technology and how it surpasses expectations when proper control is exercised.

But why so fast? Was I still fired up by one person’s ignorance? Was it my breakfast (an unhealthy and calorific Full English)? Or did it have something to do with the inclusion of the Spencer Davis Group’s classic hit “Keep On Running”, the lyrics to which I had already changed in my head:

Keep on running, keep on hiding / One fine day I‘m gonna be the one / To make you understand / Oh, yeah, [I’m gonna be your] Predictive Coding man

Did my time, took my chances

The danger of Twitter is that it is very difficult to compose something intelligent and all too easy to compose something controversial in just 140 characters. I discovered this after the first race when I found that someone had vehemently disagreed with my earlier tweet.

But, where there’s danger, there’s excitement. Having clarified what I meant, I found that the excitement comes in being able to engage with like-minded people around the world, who share the same passion for improving legal practice through the use of technology. In the words of Survivor (which kept me going between the 7th and 8th kilometres on the day of the long race) “risin’ up to the challenge of [my] rival” had made me feel much better.

At the end of both races I decided that integrity, honesty and skill is what wins races (more than mild aggravation, bacon and music), which brings me to another topic that has been on my mind.

The Governor of the Bank of England recently commented that “integrity, honesty and skill” in senior managers are not optional. He was targeting the financial services industry, but I think that this is a further sign of a high-standards culture of compliance in Europe that will eventually prevail in all industries and sectors.

The key thing to take away from Mr. Carney’s warning is that if your business is going to come under scrutiny, you have an opportunity to get ahead of the probe. And if there a probe is on the horizon, you have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve to investigate yourselves. As a company you should know what your liability is early and deal with it. Which brings me back to technology, and my final plug for it –if you are worried about what the DOJ (or the FCA for that matter) have to say, then use the best technology out there to root out the problem before they knock on your door.

About Rob Jones

Robert Jones is the manager of Kroll Ontrack’s team of Legal Consultants in Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

I’m in love with my PC (Predictive Coding)

I love predictive coding

Last week I saw Spike Jonze’s new film, “Her“, set in the not-too-distant future about a man who, believe it or not, falls in love with his operating system (OS).

The premise is that there is a new OS platform available for mobile phones and computers – a more advanced version of Windows 8, if you will – which uses advanced artificial intelligence to communicate with, and learn from, its users.  The protagonist’s OS names herself Samantha and gets to know her user, eventually building a complex relationship with him.

Even today, having a conversation with your computer or mobile device isn’t particularly far-fetched. Google Now and Apple’s Siri are personal assistants that already take voice commands and answer questions. I often ask Siri on my iPhone to “tell my girlfriend that I’ll be there in 20 minutes” (upon which Siri promptly sends her a text message) or enquire as to “what meetings have I got on today?” or ask to “play music by Muse.”

At the moment, the technology isn’t advanced enough to allow a sophisticated, philosophical conversation with your phone, and although I’ve set Siri to speak to me in a female, Australian accent, I’m far from falling in love with her.  Computing power and learning algorithms have some way to go yet before speaking with a phone or computer feels “natural.” This BBC article discusses what advances software companies are making to move current technology more towards the likes of Samantha.

Artificial intelligence is certainly a focus for technologists and great leaps are being made in the field. The legal technology arena is no different. At Kroll Ontrack, for example, we are seeing more and more European clients trusting predictive coding technology to learn from lawyers as to which documents are relevant to which issues in their legal case. Our technology then suggests which unread documents are most likely to constitute evidence in the legal matter, and which ones should be ignored.

Our review platform may not verbally announce to the lawyer specifically which documents are the evidentiary smoking guns they need to rely on, but it certainly does allow small teams of lawyers to get through huge volumes of documentation, which in the past was either time consuming and expensive, or downright impossible.

When the OS in “Her” named herself Samantha, she did so by reading a book about baby names in a split-second. Before you dismiss this as science fiction, think about the fact that Legal Technology today reads thousands of documents every second to help lawyers focus on the most important documents. Science fact.

About Daniel Kavan

Daniel Kavan leads Kroll Ontrack’s Electronic Evidence Consultancy team in Europe. He and his team of experts advise lawyers and their clients on how to manage and analyse evidence from emails and other electronically-stored documents in legal matters including litigation, arbitration, internal audits and regulatory investigations.

I PREDICT A RIOT

As we approach the end of 2013 it is only natural to look to the future and wonder what 2014 will bring.  Kroll Ontrack gathered together a panel of industry experts, supplied copious bubbly drinks (to help with the creative juices) and cajoled them into giving up their predictions for next year.  My personal favourite:

Kroll Ontrack will achieve ediscovery world domination!

On a less aggressive note, the predictions identify a number of themes that were also hot topics in 2013.  “Data Protection will be top of the agenda” from one law firm partner.  Hidden behind all the cross-border matters, data protection has always been a lingering issue for any lawyer. However, since the surreptitious release of NSA files, the day to day café discussion has been emotional and heated. This has led politicians, companies and law firms in EMEA, and other parts of the world, to review practices and procedures in relation to information provided to other countries, and especially to the US. An extensive overhaul of the EU’s data protection regulation is due in 2014 with fines of up to €100m and mandatory data protection officers.  This far-reaching data protection regulation is due to replace Europe’s 1995 Data Protection Directive, following a vote by the European Union.   This new regulation is likely to result in complex technological, process and governance challenges for organisations across Europe.

“A major law firm will suffer a cyber attack”.  This is not so much a new prediction for 2014, as a continuation of a theme from 2013.  A major city law firm successfully fought a ‘drive by’ or ‘watering hole’ attack in October 2013, but it has highlighted the vulnerabilities in the legal profession.  If you attack a corporation, you get one company’s information.  If you attack a law firm, you potentially get hundreds.  As corporations strive to keep their IT infrastructure airtight, one must ask whether their legal advisors are doing the same when handling sensitive and privileged data.

“Discovery of Twitter (private messages) and Facebook accounts”.  I think we can lump these in under the general heading of  “social media”.  Without the express co-operation of the account holder, what options are there for discovery?  Using talented forensic consultants there is a possibility of finding fragments of data previously accessed on a hard drive but unless you have the user name and password the only option to obtain a full data set is a court order to the service provider.

“The first request from a lawyer will be ‘can I use predictive coding on this matter’?”  Whilst predictive coding is on the rise, our first question would be how much data, how long do you have to review?  If the matter fits we will happily unleash our expertise on said lawyer, providing consultancy and guidance. Predictive coding is finally entering the mainstream, and as we see it being used more and more often as lawyers become familiar with the technology, I can see lawyers asking for its use, rather than it being suggested to them.

Finally, is there potential for a shift in the way ediscovery is approached? Perhaps ediscovery will start being considered as part of the integral process of litigation, competition cases and internal investigations and “In 2014 the worlds of law, technology and business will finally converge as they should!”

In conclusion, the most important predictions of the year ahead:

  •  “Warrington Wolves to win the rugby league super league”
  • “Royal Wedding – Harry and a posh blond”
  • And most importantly “We discover Sherlock can fly”

Predictive Coding – How it’s Bringing Innovation to Legal Practice

Kroll Ontrack was proud to host a breakfast seminar last week on Predictive Coding and how it’s bringing innovation to legal practice.

Over 90 legal professionals from law firms and corporations across the UK gathered at the early hour of 08:00 for a light (and far too healthy!) breakfast and to hear our very special guest speakers: Ralph Losey, a partner in the Orlando office of Jackson Lewis LLP and serving as the firm’s National e-Discovery Counsel, who had flown in especially from Florida for the event and Neil Mirchandani, a partner at Hogan Lovells in London specialising in financial services disputes.

Daniel Kavan of Kroll Ontrack helped moderate the session for what turned out to be a very interactive debate with members of the audience.

We found that there are a lot of terms used for describing predictive coding technology, such as “technology assisted review,” “computer-assisted review,” “computer-aided review,” and “content based advanced analytics.” Ralph helpfully pointed us to a very useful definition of predictive coding by The Grossman-Cormack Glossary of Technology Assisted Review, written by Maura R. Grossman and Gordon V. Cormack:

An industry-specific term generally used to describe a Technology-Assisted Review process involving the use of a Machine Learning Algorithm to distinguish Relevant from Non-Relevant Documents, based on Subject Matter Expert(s)’ Coding of a Training Set of Documents. See Supervised Learning and Active Learning.

Ralph Losey, who is seen as leading global expert on predictive coding, opened the session by providing a very helpful summary of what predictive coding is and how he has seen it applied. Neil Mirchandani was then on hand to provide a UK perspective and outline his experiences of the use of the technology.

I have highlighted some of the key points that were raised:

  • We heard some interesting and surprising stats as to the consistency of a human review, for instance, studies undertaken have shown that one reviewer has a consistency of 77% when reviewing documents, this figure drops to 45% when there are two reviewers and plummets down to 30% when there are three or more reviewers. So perhaps a human review should not be seen as the gold standard for completing review exercises.
  • Predictive coding is not a substitute for a human review and should be seen as a supplement. Predictive coding is very reliant on the input of subject matter experts (SME) via the review of a sample set of documents to “train“ the system and for this to be an on-going and iterative process as the system evolves.
  • There were some lively debates as to whether the initial training should be completed by one SME or a few.
  • Predictive coding can be utilised as an invaluable quality assurance mechanism for a human review and even if predictive coding is used for tagging, any documents that are deemed to be relevant can still be reviewed by a human team.
  • A number of audience members had queries about whether it has been challenging to reach agreement with the other side if this this type of technology were to be used. The consensus from the panel seemed to say that that it would be difficult to try and “force” another party in litigation to deploy this technology, but it would be very unlikely (and difficult) that an opposing party could object to the technology being used.
  • The technology should not be viewed as exclusive to large and litigious cases – there were some great examples of the technology being deployed, and successful, in internal investigation and regulatory exercises and for cases consisting of say 40,000 documents.

There were many other very useful insights to come out of the workshop, but unfortunately there isn’t space to fully cover it on this blog. If this topic is of interest, you will certainly find Ralph Losey’s blog to be helpful, as it goes into full detail about his various studies.

Feel free to get in touch if you would like to have a chat about the application of this technology in more depth.

About Costa Kypre

Having worked in the litigation support industry for over nine years, Costa has a vast amount of experience managing and consulting on a range of electronic disclosure projects, including high profile and complex multi jurisdictional matters, often involving a large number of parties. Costa is legally trained and has a (BA) Hons. Double Major in Law and Economics and completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law.

Back to Basics – Proper Planning

A trawl of the various blogs and articles on eDisclosure finds plenty of articles on predictive coding, Technology Assisted Review (TAR), big data, analytics, the Jackson Reforms and cost budgeting.  Indeed, even our own blog to date has focused a great deal on these issues, as the tags on the left show.  All of these topics are essential reading for anyone involved in eDisclosure, but they all assume one thing – everyone knows the basics.  No doubt all of our readers are fully aware of the new rules regarding the submission of budgets.  Anyone who is following the Plebgate saga cannot fail to be aware of Andrew Mitchell’s predicament due to his budget not being submitted at least seven days ahead of the CMC.  As a consequence, the court said Mr Mitchell “would be limited to a budget consisting of the applicable court fees for his claim”.  The judge also went on to say:

“Budgeting is something which all solicitors by now ought to know is intended to be integral to the process from the start, and it ought not to be especially onerous to prepare a final budget for a CMC even at relatively short notice if proper planning has been done.”

From our perspective, the key words here are “proper planning”.  One of the most costly aspects of litigation is the actual review of the documents due to the hours that this can potentially take.  But if you are inexperienced at eDisclosure, or don’t know your megabytes from your gigabytes, or both, where do you start?  Hopefully here.

The first thing to think about when your client rings is where to find the information relevant to the case.  The answer to that question will lie with your clients, or if you work for a corporation, with key personnel in IT and management.  The Electronic Documents Questionnaire contained within the Schedule of Practice Direction 31B is a useful template (http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part31/pd_part31b#IDAK4UJC), but here are the key questions that will help us to help you:

  • How many individuals are potentially involved?
    • Individuals are referred to as custodians.
  • Where is the relevant data for these custodians stored?
    • Their data may be on multiple sources, e.g.:
      • Desktop computer
      • Laptop computer
      • External device
      • Smart phone
      • Server
      • Backup tapes
  • Is it necessary to collect all the data from all the sources to avoid the possibility of having to return, thus incurring additional costs?
  • How much data might there be?
    • This is very important as it will eventually help determine the number of potential documents for review.
    • The unit used for data in these circumstances is a Gigabyte (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabyte).
  • What type of data is there?
    • What type of email does your client use, e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes?
    • Any databases or proprietary software?
    • Any messaging data, e.g. Bloomberg Messaging?
    • Any audio data?
  • What languages are contained within the data?
    • Do you have reviewers with the necessary language skills?
    • Is machine translation, whereby your review platform carries out a basic translation, appropriate for your initial review?
  • Who should collect the data and how should it be collected?
    • Where is the data geographically?
    • Do you require an independent third party to collect the data in a defensibly sound manner?
  • What are the data privacy implications, if any?

Whilst these questions are not exhaustive, if you have thought about them, you will be in a position to start your conversation with your eDisclosure providers.  Ideally, relationships ought already to have been built up with technology experts as in most cases there will be little time to conduct a “beauty parade”.

We can help you collect the information you need.  Together we can then begin to plan how you are going to retrieve the data, how long that may take, and what the costs may be.  You will also need to start thinking about the actual data: what happens when it is processed before review, how can you reduce the volume of data to review, and what technology do you want to use to help you as it is likely that some sort of data filtering technology and review platform is going to be required.

These topics will be covered in the next Back to Basics post.

Next week, Rob Jones will be writing a blog post on what you need to know about Technology Assisted Review (TAR). You can see a preview below.

Reporting on Change

ReInvent Law London

My colleague Rob Jones delivered a six minute talk at Re-invent Law London, a novel crowd-sourced conference which took place in London on Friday 14 June.    His presentation “Wax Up, Not Wipe Out!”  was about seismic changes taking place in the legal profession.  According to Rob, “Change brought by technology is a wave and lawyers are like surfers out in the open waters. ‘Wiping Out’ (to fail) is an ever present risk that can lead to embarrassment or worse. It is better to ‘wax up’ the board and tackle the waves with enthusiasm and a little intelligence, to make sure that you stay on top of them”.    Rob’s talk was videoed and we will post a link to it soon.  For now suffice it to say that he looked into the crystal ball at a world driven by technology where justice will perhaps be obtained from the cloud through an app available on your tablet. He also looked at the tsunami of information surrounding us and how to extract meaning from it in legal disputes using new technologies like Technology Assisted Review.  Recognising that justice comes at a cost and the legal system is creaking and groaning under its own weight, Rob spoke about smart computers rescuing the situation by allowing leanness, efficiency and case winning power to enter the legal process. Referring to our experience using TAR on over 250 projects, Rob said that the computer is already looking over the shoulders of humans to build intelligence and suggested that it may not be long before similar algorithms are used to create a legal super brain that can predict outcomes, forecast fees and aid strategic decision making which could turn human lawyers into formidable competitors and opponents.

If you would like to read more about the event you can use the following hashtag on Twitter #ReInventLaw.

#ReInvent Law London

We found it to be a very refreshing conference with stimulating content and very high calibre of speakers on law and technology disciplines.

The Not So New Rules of Court

In the two months since the changes to the rules of court governing disclosure and cost management in litigation there have been no reported cases and very few anecdotal reports about how the new rules are affecting cases.  At this stage it seems that there are still more questions than answers about how cost management, proportionality and tailor-made disclosure will play out in practice.  We have been tracking the changes closely and have hosted two seminars on the impact of the new rules for the legal community in London and Manchester.  These enlightening panel discussions have involved members of the judiciary, experts from legal practice, and providers of disclosure-related services.  We have prepared a detailed note The Jackson Reforms on Disclosure and Costs Management:  FAQ, on some of the key questions lawyers are asking about the new rules along with insights we have gained about them.

As Mark Surguy, a partner at Eversheds and a respected voice on edisclosure recently pointed out, the weighing up of options, solutions and costs is a best practice approach to any dispute.  With that approach in mind, the new reforms should not present any client, lawyer or technology service provider with any difficulty.  Judge Waksman echoed this sentiment when he said in Manchester that there is no need for litigators to be afraid of the changes.  By far the best tactic according to Mark will be to get to the heart of a case quickly, using technology so that the client can understand the prospects of success and make the right decisions about settlement or further investment in the litigation.

On a Company Note

On the topic of change, we have seen some ourselves recently at Kroll Ontrack. Tim Phillips, has been appointed as the new Managing Director for our Legal Technologies business. Tim has been with us at Kroll Ontrack since 2007, serving as Sales Director for the European Region.  As MD, he will have responsibility for operations and business development throughout EMEA, reporting to Dean Hager, president and CEO of Kroll Ontrack.  Tim says, “I’m delighted to take on this new role. In the EMEA region, we are focused on steady growth and development geographically and in terms of new products and services to specifically address data privacy requirements.  Our vision is to leverage the extensive European footprint we have through our existing facilities to provide a full suite of electronic evidence handling software and services to our clients across the region. Our focus in EMEA integrates well with Kroll Ontrack’s broader strategy to help companies manage edisclosure strategically by making it a repeatable process that is managed at a portfolio level, not just at the one-off project level.”

About Tracey Stretton

Tracey Stretton is a legal Consultant at Kroll Ontrack in the UK. Her role is to advise lawyers and their clients on the use of technology in legal practice. Her experience in legal technologies has evolved from exposure to its use as a lawyer and consultant on a large number of cases in a variety of international jurisdictions.

Limber up for the Big Data Marathon

The Data Craze for Sports Fanatics and Lawyers

One of my colleagues has just run the Reading Half Marathon and I am expecting any minute to see his race stats published on Facebook.   Well done Rob Jones, a GPS time of 2:21:19.  Budding athletes and intrepid cyclists are downloading various  apps to their phones (like Endomondo Sports Tracker or apps.strava.com), relying on the information they gather to track distance travelled, time taken and  energy expended and using this to not only subtly show-off on social networking sites but also to plot and plan their race strategies. Of course, a positive spin-off is that the rest of us, having shared their pain and gain, feel inspired to do something similar and before you know it the data craze has turned into a sports craze and a new way of doing things. This phenomenon highlights how data can be transformed into intelligence, can inform decision making and strategy and possibly even have an unintended impact.  It got me thinking again about the influence that big data and predictive analytics is having on business and on the legal profession and how edisclosure fits into the picture.

Big data in business

Initially it was only big companies like telecommunications companies, banks and government agencies that could afford to store and analyse big data.  Thanks to advancements in hardware and databases you no longer need supercomputers to carry out complex analytics across large data sets.  Many businesses are finding that for a reasonable investment they can collect data and make it relevant to their business; by measuring consumer behaviour and using pattern detection they can respond to customer needs and market conditions and make data-driven decisions.   Supermarkets, healthcare providers, gaming companies, insurance companies and even florists are jumping on the bandwagon and tapping into the intelligence running through the big data stream and finding ways to monetise the data they hold.

But (and it’s a big but) what about law firms? 

Can lawyers, who have tended to shy away from technological innovation really harness big data to predict case outcomes and legal costs?   We know that big data can be exploited to predict the outbreak of diseases, but can it be used to predict the outcome of a litigation case?  In an interesting article by Mike Wheatley on Silicone Angle it appears that databases of legal history are being built up and algorithms are being developed to help predict case outcomes.  Apparently, companies are also developing mobile apps that predict the average legal cost of different types of cases in the US.

As we enter a new era of cost management in the UK and the need to stick to case budgets becomes more important, we will need all the help we can get to estimate costs and guess what impact variables like the number of witnesses or extent of disclosure might have, not only on costs, but also on the outcome of a case.  Of course the data that needs to be collected, analysed and correlated to make sensible predictions includes not just the key features and facts of the case itself but also the results recorded in subsequent court decisions.   When it comes to costs, law firms and e-disclosure providers are all holding a lot of valuable billing data that could be analysed to assist with cost estimating.   This might all be feasible but has not yet been done.

On the edisclosure front, data analytics has been used for some time.  We have had email analytic tools that can be used to visualize who has been communicating with whom, when and about what.  Similarly, Technology Assisted Review (TAR) (also known as Computer Assisted Review or Predictive Coding)  analyses decisions made by humans on a sub-set of documents, and then look for similar patterns in a much larger document universe to predict which documents are relevant to a case and top priority.    At this stage most of us know about TAR and some are testing the water. Here are some tips on analytics from the sports scene:

Sports analytics and the CIO: Five lessons from the sports data craze

Collect the right data to start with, both qualitatively and quantitatively.  In edisclosure this means targeting the right sources of data and is an area where experts can help.  Is it better to present a raw unfiltered set of data (to teach the system in a balanced way) or a set of results based on a carefully crafted search, or is that somewhat prejudicial. Until there are better statistics and more guidelines from real cases, the ultimate decision is likely to be a strategic one.

Start with statistically significant data.  This refers to the selection of your seed set of documents that will be reviewed by humans and used to train the prediction software.   You cannot expect the software to achieve peak performance on 1,000 documents.

Remember that the ability to contextualise data is important.  There are incalculable factors that come into play with prediction and this is where human quality control is vital.

Perhaps, as we use these predictive tools more in legal cases and share our practical experiences and results, their use will become widespread and a status symbol just like Nike + is.

About Tracey Stretton

Tracey Stretton is a legal Consultant at Kroll Ontrack in the UK. Her role is to advise lawyers and their clients on the use of technology in legal practice. Her experience in legal technologies has evolved from exposure to its use as a lawyer and consultant on a large number of cases in a variety of international jurisdictions.

LegalTech New York – A European Perspective

The LegalTech New York tradeshow is the biggest trade show and conference in the world in the Legal Technologies and E-Discovery field. Although it is truly international in terms of attendance, as you would expect from a conference in New York City, the majority of speakers, exhibitors and delegates are from the United States. This is no reason for European practitioners to ignore it – it is useful to keep an eye on developments in the US, as over the last decade or two, trends from the US have followed in the UK and, and to some extent, continental Europe, in subsequent years.

So what were the trends in the at LegalTech 2013 which we can expect to hop “across the pond?”

Technology Assisted Review (TAR) was certainly at the forefront. It is beginning to be widely accepted by lawyers in the US as a defensible method of augmenting the document review process and the US courts are starting to hand down decisions to support this.  TAR, also referred to by some as “Computer Assisted Review” (CAR) or “Predictive Coding,” uses machine learning prioritise important documents and suggest categorisations for review, resulting in faster, more efficient and more accurate review.  I believe UK courts will not be far behind their US counterparts in approving parties’ use of this technology.  We may well see this in 2013, with  the official implementation of the new Practice Direction 51G for managing cases and their costs, with a significant emphasis on proportionality.

Apart from the vast array of exhibitors showcasing their latest technology, there was also a series of interesting educational seminars.  A highlight for me was fun session moderated Kroll Ontrack’s Chris Wall, featuring Ralph Losey (Partner and National e-Discovery Counsel at Jackson Lewis LLP) and Jason R. Baron (National Archives’ Director of Litigation) on the panel. They simulated a document review exercise by displaying a number of documents to the audience and asked audience SMS whether they thought they were relevant or not, based on a basic set of defined relevance criteria. The opinions as to relevance varied significantly amongst audience members. This was a fun way to illustrate how human document review can yield lower than expected precision and recall in a document review, and led to discussions on how TAR might help supplement a review to improve overall accuracy.

About Daniel Kavan

Daniel Kavan leads Kroll Ontrack’s Electronic Evidence Consultancy team in Europe. He and his team of experts advise lawyers and their clients on how to manage and analyse evidence from emails and other electronically-stored documents in legal matters including litigation, arbitration, internal audits and regulatory investigations.