At Relativity Fest 2015, I joined Andrew Sieja, kCura’s president and CEO, on stage for his keynote. We discussed dealing with increasingly large e-discovery projects using three case studies as examples.
While sharing stats about the data we’ve processed and put into review, it was clear that describing our challenges and solutions resonated with the audience.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the bigger picture. As I pointed out on stage, we at CDS have ingested more than 90 TBs and 220 million documents into Relativity Processing in the last year alone. That same year we became the first Relativity Premium Hosting Partner to license the full Relativity platform end to end. But as e-discovery counsel, I spend a significant amount of my time evangelizing about data management and the digital age of law. Our story is not just about size, speed, and scalability; it is about our evolution of using tools to find and implement solutions to modern legal challenges. Going end to end has enhanced how we serve our clients in six key ways.
Before I get into those trends, here’s the short clip of the conversation about those three case studies for some context:
The way I see it, there are six common threads woven into those case studies:
1. Project managers can become more empowered.
This comes down to the visualization of key metrics that’s really only possible in an end-to-end system. The closing of gaps in e-discovery software has actually helped close gaps between departments, allowing our project managers to better collaborate with others across the whole process. For example, our project managers have created new efficiencies between forensics and data ingestion. They now have better informed conversations about the status of a processing set with our engineers. These insights have eliminated delays in getting information to clients, which brings me to my next point.
2. Project managers can become more empowered in conversations with clients.
I can talk to you about how to swing a golf club, but that will never be as good as showing you. Having everything in one place allows our project managers to provide robust and timely updates at the various stages of e-discovery. They’ve been providing more visualizations of client data and where data is in the discovery process. This gives clients a new level of comfort and predictability when analyzing the costs and benefits associated with different approaches to a given matter. Clients are able to make better choices when you can guide them through complex data metrics in the context of the e-discovery process. Rather than our consultants just presenting data, we have impactful conversations about the data that can change the strategic posture of clients.
3. Clients have become smarter about collecting data.
Improved data visualization has enhanced process defensibility. With a more holistic picture of their data from collection through production, we’ve seen clients participate in meet-and-confer sessions and Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(B) motions with increased confidence. Just to highlight a simple example, if a given custodian was thought to be involved in email communications exchanging PDF attachments in March of 2013, but there are clearly no such records in the data set, the client is able to focus any forensic investigation efforts and more confidently demonstrate that such files are not available for production.
4. Clients can travel through time.
Clients are no longer tied to a strictly linear notion of e-discovery. An end-to-end solution eliminates any ostensible “point of no return” gaps between disparate pieces of software designed to handle individual nodes, or sets of nodes, of the EDRM. Again, take targeted collection. The tendency in collection has always been over-inclusiveness—the client worries what would happen if they were to miss something. With increased volumes come increased costs and turnaround times. With one platform, we can quickly go back to the well and broaden our scope if necessary. We can better track a custodian’s data through production. Even restoring entire cases is no longer a tedious, burdensome process.
5. Clients can understand data sooner.
Clients are able to get the documents they want to see faster, which has given them numerous logistical and strategic advantages. They can keep up with tight deadlines imposed by rocket-docket courts and meet HSR second request requirements more readily, because no matter the size of the project, they’re able to understand the content of their data sets faster than they ever could before.
6. Everyone can become more creative.
No two deployments of Relativity are the same. Though many service providers use Relativity, each has been able to differentiate itself significantly in the marketplace. Presented with tools to use across the entire EDRM, it’s easier to use them in uniquely creative ways—ultimately finding use cases never even anticipated, while customizing solutions to meet even the most novel client need. A true platform provides more opportunities for customization than you could ever get with separate solutions while providing a cohesive experience.
Looking ahead to another year of providing an integrated e-discovery platform, that last point is probably the most exciting to a digital evangelist. It means perpetually enhancing the user experience—as well as success rates—by turning insights into tangible add-ons and unique integrations.
Matthew F. Knouff is e-discovery counsel with Complete Discovery Source, Inc. Matthew advises law firms, corporations, and government agencies worldwide on e-discovery and information governance policies and processes, data privacy and security policies and practices, defensible deployment of technology during legal proceedings, and cost and risk reduction strategies.