On E-Discovery and Outdated Technology

By: Scott Stuart, Founder & Co-CEO

In an article last month in Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Wade Peterson of the Fredrikson & Byron law firm headquartered in Minneapolis, expressed his frustration over litigation and today’s world of e-discovery.

Peterson, manager of e-discovery and litigation support for his firm, sounded like many other lawyers we’ve encountered in recent years: Frustrated.

“Today, merely mentioning the word ‘e-discovery’ elicits thoughts of settlement,” he wrote. “E-discovery and the entire product process is often mired in technical mumbo jumbo, geek speak, frustration, cost overruns and fear.”

His main concern was file formats for data – starting with the TIFF format borrowed from the printing industry for e-discovery purposes, then moving, as e-discovery matured, to PDFs – also designed for the print industry. And he proposed am emerging new standard, called ENF.

I think a lot of people feel the same pain, and, yes, outdated technology not only holds the law business back generally, but keeps litigation far more expensive than it needs to be – something clients are increasingly pushing back on.

Yet there’s an aspect of e-discovery that’s even far more costly as a function and has been mired not in merely outdated tech – but in out-and-out no tech. If Mr. Peterson believes that ENF would make a difference in e-discovery, he should see how we at Esquify are turning the document review aspect of it upside down.

We’re moving it away from what’s a traditionally been highly inefficient function: Five to 20 people are seated in a conference room and tethered to a computers to scour millions of documents in search of the legal smoking gun. Bathroom and cigarette breaks and normal chit-chat cut into productivity. One supervisor to monitor/help. No client transparency in terms of hours and actual productivity.

Instead, we’ve created an automated, virtual process that combines tech tools with human oversight to enable reviewers to work from home more efficiently, with the clock stopping when they go off-task and have their work monitored more accurately in real time from any location.

It taps into the evolution of machine-based learning and artificial intelligence and intersects with the idea of human productivity – a gap that is only just starting to be addressed in the legal business. The result? Reduced overhead costs and elimination of ancillary fees by as much as 30 percent as review efficiency increases by 25 percent or more.

This intersection of technology with human productivity promises to transform the legal business. We’re happy to be on the leading edge for the review process.

Read more here.