Advancing technology is enabling real process change in document review, says TCDI’s Caragh Landry.
CCBJ: Technology is changing document review. What advancements are you seeing?
Caragh Landry: Technology-assisted review, or TAR, was one of the first true attempts at using technology to change the process, but unfortunately that didn’t really take off the way I thought it would. Now, however, I have high hopes for continuous active learning, or CAL, which is the next version of TAR. CAL uses known responsive documents to train its algorithms and then lets the algorithms provision similar documents based on that training.
That seems like a much better approach than sifting through all the documents and hoping to find what you want. In most document reviews, you’re looking for the responsive documents, and it just doesn’t make sense anymore to waste time and resources on nonresponsive material. So CAL is something that could succeed in changing the process.
Another exciting trend is data consolidation in terms of single-instance review and search-hit-only review, both of which reduce the number of documents to review. In single-instance review, search terms are run on the entire data population, but only one instance of each document is promoted for review, family independent, so there are no content duplicates at all. If the same Excel document shows up attached to 25 emails, you will only see it once, and you can determine if its content is responsive or not. This saves you the effort of reviewing the other 24 copies of the exact same document. With search-hit-only review, only the document that hits on a term is promoted for review – not any of its family members. So if the hit document isn’t responsive, you don’t wind up reviewing the attachments. These two consolidation techniques together can reduce the review population by half.
How do your clients view these changing approaches to document review?
Our corporate clients tend to be innovators, both in their industries and in their approach to legal operations. They have been receptive to new approaches to document review, and we find that they’re expecting their outside counsel to be receptive, too. So we’ve spent much time working with outside counsel to create workflows that make sense for them and also solve time, resource and cost issues for our corporate clients.
During the CLOC conference this year, you released a new CVLynx product. How does that benefit e-discovery?
CVLynx is the latest version of our e-discovery and case management tool. Our goal for this new version was to simplify the review and production processes. It includes a new efficient review tool, a new production wizard and new user-interface enhancements. It is also a powerful litigation management tool with robust relational features, which is different from most e-discovery tools. Trial and case teams can use it to organize and manage complex cases. Having a combined e-discovery and case management system means that the case teams and trial teams can be working from the same database and share information without having to import or export production materials. That cuts down on time and cost and also removes redundant data storage.
How do you envision the role of legal operations professionals in the future?
I think the role will only continue to expand. When I go to conferences, I am constantly amazed at just how much legal operations professionals are responsible for, from operational strategy and invoice review to management of outside counsel, third-party e-discovery and technology providers, legal recruiting and overall process engineering. As long as legal continues to be seen as a cost center within corporations, legal teams will need to do more while staying lean – and legal operations will only become more and more important to the success of the business.