There is no question that there is a proliferation of established and new software providers creating a self-service option for eDiscovery. Nearly all of them have a way to upload data, perform searches, make decisions and kick out a production. What happens after the data load is a wide array of approaches to getting to that production.
Let’s start with the general audience for which the technologists are building. As mentioned in previous posts, the initial hurdle for technologists was to solve the big data issue for our industry, so solutions were crafted to manage millions of records and didn’t scale down economically for the small to medium bread and butter cases involving ESI. Now, the focus has turned to the smaller cases, and eDiscovery SaaS has proliferated. The solutions cater to small to midsize firms that have a handful of small cases a year to full self-service managed services in larger firms.
The challenge I see with many of these platforms is that they lack functions (both intentionally and due to being still too young in their development) that should be available for all case types. These functions include:
Conceptual Data Analytics – Many hock their solutions claiming data analytics, but meaning no more than charts and graphs pivoting off of a simple metadata search. Leveraging concept search allows categorized data to get grouped together similar to the process in a Boolean search, only the data is organized with similar content.
Review Set Workflows – Getting used to creating review sets even for small cases prepares attorney teams for the larger cases that come up multiple times a year.
Simplified Administration – Although all platforms require a learning curve, setting up workflows, users, coding panels and review sets should be easy to administer.
Service and Support – Not only should the company have product support, but the case and project management around a matter is important to help present ideas when the user needs strategies executed in the platform. This also impacts the users who are taxed on time and require assistance running searches, productions and administrative functions as needed.
Limiting these functions keeps firms using outdated methods in their discovery process. Pandering to the excuse of “difficulty in applying the technology” is becoming unacceptable for corporate counsel demanding better processes, and soon their need will trump the inefficiencies these platforms contain. The industry as a whole should be accessing similar software and workflows to create a streamlined process that impacts small cases to the very large, because in most instances, attorney teams have to manage both. All firms, whether small, medium or large, have access to software platforms that have the features they need to successfully manage eDiscovery – they just need to know how to find what will work for them – both from a features and cost perspective.
Rick started in the legal industry in 2002 working for a litigation support company where he began consulting with law firms on paper and electronic discovery. As eDiscovery began to grow, his path took him to deploying software in data processing and forensics. In 2006, he became a co-founder of Wave Software for high volume unstructured data culling for a more streamlined review. The company quickly grew in the emerging eDiscovery market and as a result, he co-founded The Masters Conference to bring thought leaders together for education on the evolving best legal practices. In 2012, he began working in the complex data/document review with iCONECT and began to consult with corporations, the federal government and law firms in complex review. Rick joined TCDI in 2014.
Rick has a Communications degree in Journalism from Liberty University.
Latest posts by Rick Clark (see all)
- Ready to Relax in Style at LTNY17 - January 23, 2017
- Podcast with Ari Kaplan – Reinventing Review for Small and Mid-Sized Firms - October 20, 2016
- What to look for in an eDiscovery SaaS provider - July 18, 2016