Category Archives: Industry News

Where Does eDiscovery Fit in the Facial Recognition Conversation?

ediscovery facial recognition

Where Does eDiscovery Fit in the Facial Recognition Conversation?

For most of us, the concept of facial recognition – like so much technology of the last decade – began as a sci-fi detail we accepted on the big screen but didn’t give much thought to in our day-to-day lives. Then one day, our phones started tagging photos automatically, asking, almost sheepishly, “Is this you?” And just like that, the idea that an algorithm could learn to recognize our faces was real. But we’ve moved on from that innocuous beginning and now are treading more and more into the realm of another type of film (I’m thinking here of Brazil or Minority Report) where technology aids law enforcement in making our world a safer place, but also introduces new privacy and ethics conundrums when that technology fails or is corrupted. And, as always, eDiscovery has a place where legal and tech (in this instance law-enforcement and facial recognition) collide.

Law Enforcement, Facial Recognition, and Privacy Concerns

In a Washington Post article in July 2019, it was revealed that agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were using facial recognition software to scan state driver’s license databases, analyzing millions of Americans’ photos without their knowledge or consent.

In the past, police have used fingerprints, DNA and other “biometric data” collected from criminal suspects (think of those large binders of mugshots you always see victims flipping through in cop shows), but the photos in DMV records are of a state’s residents, most of whom have never been charged with a crime.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the FBI has logged more than 390,000 facial-recognition searches of federal and local databases, including state DMV databases, since 2011. Even though neither Congress nor state legislatures have authorized the development of such a system, and now lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum are concerned.

“Law enforcement’s access of state databases,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) said is “often done in the shadows with no consent.” And Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the House Oversight Committee’s ranking Republican, seemed particularly incensed during a hearing into the technology earlier this year.

“They’ve just given access to that to the FBI,” he said. “No individual signed off on that when they renewed their driver’s license, got their driver’s licenses. They didn’t sign any waiver saying, ‘Oh, it’s okay to turn my information, my photo, over to the FBI.’ No elected officials voted for that to happen.”

Off-The-Shelf Facial Recognition Tools for Law Enforcement

In Oregon, back in 2017, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office became the first law enforcement agency in the country known to use Amazon’s artificial-intelligence tool Rekognition, and almost overnight, the deputies of this small county in the suburbs outside of Portland had ramped up their investigative ability. With this off-the-shelf technology, they were able to scan for matches of a suspect’s face across more than 300,000 mug shots taken at the county jail since 2001. With that information, they can take a picture – perhaps captured by a security camera, social-media account, or cellphone – and link it to an identity.

But linking a photo to previous mug shots is analogous to the same action that happened prior to the addition of technology. It’s something detectives used to do manually but now are assisted with the use of AI. Still, there are significant problems with the technology itself.

Facial Recognition Bans Due to Concerns Ranging from Privacy to Racial Equity

Some places have already taken measures to ban face recognition software. In 2019, San Francisco became the first city to ban the technology for law enforcement and government agencies. Similar measures are under consideration in Oakland and Massachusetts. Lawmakers in California are also considering a statewide ban on facial recognition programs.

To add to that list, the largest manufacturer of police body cameras, Axon, is rejecting the possibility of selling facial recognition technology at the recommendation of an independent ethics board which it created last year after acquiring two artificial intelligence companies.

In a 42-page report, the ethics panel found that face recognition technology is not advanced enough for law enforcement to depend on, with concerns ranging from “privacy costs to racial equity.” In fact, the technology was found to be less accurate in identifying the faces of women than men, and younger people compared to older ones. The same was true in people of color, who were harder to correctly identify than white people.

But the lack of regulation or precedent means that, while the technology is being banned in some places, it’s being pursued in others. For instance, Detroit reportedly signed a $1 million deal for software that let it continuously monitor “hundreds of private and public cameras set up around the city,” including gas stations, restaurants, churches and schools, according to the New York Times.

Facial Recognition and eDiscovery

So where does facial recognition fit in eDiscovery? As with any emerging technology, it’s worthwhile for those of us in legaltech to stay abreast of these changes. For one, any new technology is potential ESI that must be discoverable should a criminal or civil case arise in which that electronic data is evidence. Often, people in legal circles might argue, “That hasn’t happened yet, so we’ll worry about it later.” Then again, people a few decades ago might find it unbelievable that data from a phone app (“phone app?” they might add with a puzzled look) meant for requesting rides from a stranger would be used in a nationally covered murder case.

But there is also the notion that facial recognition tools might be used to help attorneys and litigation support specialists do their work. In fact, the company Veritone recently announced an AI eDiscovery tool that makes unstructured data searchable by keywords, faces, and objects.

As technology continues to forge ahead, it’s important that the legal world engages in the conversations surrounding these technologies, before they find themselves deeper in the state of catch up many say they’re already playing.

 

Written by Jim Gill
Content Writer, Ipro

Ipro Training and Certification Featured in LegalTech News

Looking to jump start your legal technology career but don’t know how? Jared Coseglia, CEO of TRU Staffing, wrote a great article, “Which Comes First: Licensing Dominance or Certification Ecosystem?” about the progression of Ipro’s demanding training and certification process in Part Twenty-Two of his certification series for Legaltech News. Below are a few highlights – Click here to read the full article!

Ipro eDiscovery Training and Certification:

“When asked how investment has impacted the [Ipro] vision and tool, Krista Schmidt responds: ‘Moving Ipro legacy into the future, making the tool a lot simpler and breeding a good set of administrators.’ Krista Schmidt is the manager of professional services at Ipro Tech and has been with the organization for almost seven years. ‘Breeding a good set of administrators’ means training and certifying individuals on the tool.

“Ipro, like many software companies within and external to the e-discovery market, is primarily focused on certifying the customers that license its technology, but is this enough to breed good administrators at sufficient speed and volume to fulfill a potentially hyper-accelerated user base? The need to breed good administrators has been essential for any successful ESI software company to compete in the industry. As more buyers need more administrators, they will eventually go to market to acquire talent with those brand-specific skill sets. Historically, law firm litigation support departments and ESI service providers—which is where most e-discovery job openings are today—rarely rely on training from within, frequently poach talent from peer firms and almost always want superior experience with technology platforms specific to their environment. Without a pool of human resources trained on the tool, software licensees are forced to steal talent from other clients of that same licensure.

“If talent in e-discovery needs to know a particular software in order to elevate or expand their job prospects and that training is readily available, the culture of the community indicates that professionals will seek out that training and get it. In the coming years, Ipro’s ability to scale its training and certifications programs in synchronicity with its evolving technology could contribute to customer confidence in switching streams and replacing their current software with Ipro.”

Interested in On-Site Ipro Training?

On-site training is a flexible, focused, and cost-effective way to facilitate your organization’s learning and development goals. We can help you plan a training course around individual or department schedules at your office, our location, or a location of your choice. Contact us today!

eDiscovery Doesn’t Have to be Hard: Ipro’s Hosting and Processing Team Has Your Back

hosting and processing

eDiscovery Hosting and Processing Services

There’s a lot of talk in the legal tech world about how more and more corporate legal teams are bringing eDiscovery in-house. And there’s no doubt, doing so has many benefits. But unless your legal team has a mature workflow managed by eDiscovery specialists, open lines of communication and a clear understanding with the IT department, and a robust software solution that not only handles the more straightforward left side of the EDRM (legal hold, preservation, and collection) but also the complex and cost-intensive right side (processing, review, and production), then things can get difficult in a hurry. That’s where Ipro’s eDiscovery hosting and processing services come in. We have many models for services centered around the Ipro Cloud, and we can be as hands-on or hands-off as needed.

How Does Ipro help with eDiscovery?

Our project managers, consultants, and services team are here to assist you with building an eDiscovery workflow that is comprehensive and cost-effective.

  • Best-in-Class Processing:

Ipro is here to assist you with all your ESI processing needs. Using our completely automated and scalable solution, our team of experts can quickly process thousands of filetypes and stream it automatically into review. No job is too large!

  • Early Case Assessment (ECA):

Using our Timeline, Visual Search, Clustering, and Keyword Management features, we can help you cull down or prioritize your data for a more focused review. Our consultants can also review workflows and keyword search syntax and assist with prioritizing your Concept Clusters.

  • Technology Assisted Review (TAR):

Utilizing Ipro Analytics and our TAR workflow, we can help you identify responsive and non-responsive documents to either prioritize your review or reduce the number of records for linear review.

  • Production:

Our project managers can help stay ahead of production deadlines! We can build production templates ahead of time, image relevant documents proactively as they become available, and do a thorough QC of the production to ensure the job is done right and on time.

Will we have to change our processes?

Ipro can follow your workflows and processes, suggest best practices to accomplish what you need, or we can be your primary technicians for day-to-day activity while giving you visibility into the entire process. Our Project Managers and Services Team will collaborate with you in whatever way works best for your needs.

Will our data be safe?

Ipro’s services are hosted in an SSAE 16 Type 2 Data Center (SOC I / SOC II / SOC III / HIPPA / Safe Harbor Compliant) with biometric security scans and 24/7/365 onsite operational & security staff.

 

When the stakes are high and deadlines are looming, Ipro has your back. For a full listing of all our service offerings, visit us here.

How to Turn eDiscovery into Baby Carrots: 5 Models for Recovering your Law Firm’s eDiscovery Costs

ediscovery costs

It’s not uncommon for companies to look for ways to turn losses into profits, and the baby carrot, of all things, is a perfect example of this. California carrot farmer Mike Yurosek came up with the idea for the baby carrot in 1986 after growing tired of discarding a significant percentage of his crop due to imperfections. Using an industrial green bean cutter and a potato peeler, he created the original “baby-cut” carrot, and as a direct result carrot consumption in the US more than doubled over the next 15 years. But eDiscovery costs aren’t produce. Most law firms see it as a cost they simply have to absorb. Others will outsource eDiscovery work and pass the bill on to the client. However, with the right cost recovery tactics, the litigation support team can become one of the most profitable divisions in the firm or agency, essentially turning a cost center into a profit center.

5 Models for Recovering eDiscovery Costs for Law Firms

The following analysis was created by polling a sample set of law firms from medium and large markets across the United Sates. For the majority, turning their investment into a profit center isn’t necessarily the goal; however, they do want to recover the investment made in the software and infrastructure required for eDiscovery work.

To clarify, eDiscovery in this case refers to:

  • ECA (ingestion for mass analysis and culling of data prior to review)
  • Review (on-line searching, tagging, coding, analytics, TAR, etc.)
  • Processing and Production (conversion to TIFF or PDF, if needed, with endorsements)

eDiscovery software is just one component for which firms wish to recover cost. Additionally, there
is hardware, backups, IT, Database Administrators, support staff, and 3rd party software if hosted by the firm. If a firm decides to go the Managed Services or IaaS route, then there are monthly costs associated with storage and machine rentals which firms wish to recover.

The concepts below are listed in no particular order. In some instances, combinations of the concepts can be used.

Concept 1

The Traditional (Hourly Billing Only)

  • $10/hr – $25/hr = Machine Time
  • $100/hr = Tech Time
  • $150/hr = Project Management Time
  • $10/GB – $25/GB for ongoing storage (a few firms charged for storage, while others did not)

Concept 2

The Ingester (Bill for Ingestion of Data Only)

  • $150/GB = Data ingestion
  • One flat fee for any data brought into their system, no additional fees for: culling, processing, productions, storage, etc.

*One firm with on-prem enterprise software recouped their initial year 1 spend within 3 months of implementation of this model

Concept 3

The Vault (Storage Billing Only)

  • $20/GB/moth = Data storage

That’s it, one flat fee for any data stored by the firm; no additional fees for ingestion, culling, processing, productions, user fees, etc.

*One firm who has enterprise software in an IaaS turned this model into a profit center for them; they are now considering lowering their storage costs further.

Another firm polled wanted to move to this model (although at a lower cost) simply to combat their growing storage concerns and were less concerned about the initial up-front work considered the cost of doing business for internally-kept projects.

Concept 4

Bill Like a Service Provider

Pre-Processing and Culling

  • $50/GB – $150/GB = Data ingestion and indexing (some firms gave this away and only charged for data promoted into review after initial culling)
  • $25/GB = Culling of data (only one firm sampled charged for this; all others included the culling at no cost)
  • $50/GB – $150/GB = Data promoted to review after ingestion and culling (the firms that charged in this area typically didn’t charge for the initial ingestion of data; if they did, it was in the $10/GB – $25/GB range)

Review

  • $75/user – $125/user = Monthly license costs for review software (about half the firms sampled did not charge for these licenses)
  • $5/GB – $35/GB for ongoing storage (a few firms charged for this, some did not charge any storage)
  • $50/GB – $150/GB = Analytics technologies applied (near dupe, email threading, concept indexing, cluster and category creation a few firms only charged machine time for the Analytics indexing) 
  • $75/GB – $200/GB = TAR technologies applied (a few firms only charged machine time for the TAR indexing)

Processing and Production

  • $100/GB – $350/GB = Processing s (conversion of native file to TIFF or PDF)
  • $0.05/document – $0.15/document = Production
  • OR – $0.02/page – $0.05/page = Production

Concept 5

Bill Like a Service Provider, Take 2

One firm sampled told us they go out every year and poll the local, regional, and national vendors for pricing and services in each market. Then, they compare the pricing and services gathered with the firm’s services offered and average the pricing across-the-board.

Once the firm has calculated the averages, they reduce the average price by 50% before presenting the eDiscovery costs to their corporate clients. They also make the point that IP protected by keeping data on their systems, and if help is needed from other people or parties, they can securely access the environment through the web to assist with services or managed review.

Conclusion:

As the eDiscovery space becomes more and more competitive with corporations bringing operations in-house, growing datasets, and the complexity of new data sources, alternative billing models could give mid-size to large law firms a chance to offset or even reverse costs associated with eDiscovery.

It’s easy to get caught up in a “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. Then again, I’m sure no one imagined the cut-and-peeled nub of a misshapen carrot could change the agriculture industry.  

 

Written by Jim Gill
Content Writer, Ipro

Be a Game-Changer or You’ll End Up on the Sidelines: Why Law Firms Should Be Investing More in eDiscovery Technology

investing in eDiscovery

Most of us saw the headline in Forbes at the beginning of this year about the record increase with organizations investing in eDiscovery and other legal technology for 2018. “713% Growth,” it proclaimed. Which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following the trends over the last several years. I can imagine the industry evangelists all nodding their heads assuredly: “Told you so.” And according to the recently released Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition 2019 survey, it’s not just the legal tech folks, but law firm leaders as well, who “agree almost unanimously (96 percent) that a focus on improved practice efficiency is a permanent trend in the profession.”

But just because law firms agree, doesn’t mean they’re changing anytime soon. Why? The top four reasons given in the survey are:

  • Law firm partners resisted most change efforts (69 percent up from 44 percent in 2015)
  • Law firms experienced insufficient economic pain to motivate change (66 percent)
  • Most partners were unaware of what they might do differently (60 percent)
  • Clients weren’t asking for it (59 percent)

It’s not really an unfamiliar story. In fact, much of the growth over the past several years has been with corporate legal teams bringing eDiscovery in-house. But if you rewind the clock to 2015, many of them were giving similar reasons for putting off investment in legal tech, until enough corporate legal departments realized the benefits – namely by becoming educated on new tools and processes and how adapting them could affect significant cost savings. Those same driving forces can also apply to law firms.

Clients aren’t likely to drive the change. If you’re in the middle of litigation and need to send large data sets to outside counsel for processing and review, you probably aren’t going to push the law firm to invest in new technology. You simply want the job done correctly so that a resolution can be reached.

Which is why it’s up to technology vendors and forward-thinking law firms to move the needle and push the industry beyond its entrenched views. Law firm leaders might ask, Why change when things are going well? Two reasons: Because efficiencies gained through technology investment can make what is going well go even better, and an economy that is up will eventually go down.

In fact, 62 percent of respondents in the Altman Weil survey indicated in-house legal teams doing more of their own eDiscovery was currently taking business from them. So, if technology can help in-house teams increase their effectiveness, increase the defensibility of their processes, and cut costs, then it stands to reason that law firms can do the same by streamlining their processes and increasing their investment in technology.

The most difficult and expensive stage in eDiscovery is related to the right-side of the EDRM (processing and review). Most corporate legal teams are using technology to help with the left-side (information governance, preservation, and collection). Yes, there are some who do everything in-house, but this requires an extremely mature in-house eDiscovery process, with all of the stakeholders (Legal, IT, and Business Units) working together seamlessly, as well as a robust technology solution.

Which means, when litigation arises involving large data sets, complexities with file types, and complicated search needs, those in-house teams are still going to want to utilize law firms or service providers that specialize in elite eDiscovery. Which in turn means, the 31% of law firms who aren’t resistant to investing in technology are going to be able to take on bigger cases and more of them, while recouping their costs.

As Nicole Black said in a recent Above the Law article, “Large law firms are happily winning at checkers, while the rest of the world has long since moved on to chess.” As the ubiquity of electronic evidence in both civil and criminal cases is becoming more and more inevitable, law firms would do well to become game-changers instead of being left on the sidelines.

Written by Jim Gill
Content Writer, Ipro

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New Study Shows AI Made Scientific Discoveries Humans Missed:

AI eDiscovery

New Study Shows AI Made Scientific Discoveries Humans Missed: What are the Implications for eDiscovery?

People are always talking about how Artificial Intelligence is the future of legal technology. But up to this point, very few are using it within eDiscovery, and those who are stick with the standard TAR / Predictive Coding approach. Outside of legal, breakthroughs are happening which could open doors for attorneys and investigators to use AI to help sift through large datasets while making connections otherwise not possible with human-only review.

In a recent study published in Nature, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used an algorithm called Word2Vec to read scientific papers. The algorithm was given no training in scientific knowledge, instead relying only on word associations. While reviewing over 3 million previously written scientific papers and looking for associations humans may have previously missed, the AI led researchers to knowledge that existed but wasn’t apparent without the help of machine learning.

Vahe Tshitoyan, the lead author on the study, stated, “This algorithm is unsupervised, and it builds its own connections.” Because it’s not trained on a specific dataset, you could easily apply it to other disciplines. He continues, “The information is out there. We just haven’t made these connections yet, because you can’t read every article.”

But any shadow of a doubt can throw a court case into question, which is why bringing AI into the legal sphere is tricky at best. This very well-considered and in-depth article in Law360 discusses why AI Tools need to be litigation ready or “discovery in a lawsuit contesting decisions those tools have made could quickly become a nightmare: Your company may suffer enormous distractions and decreased productivity as it struggles to address litigation requirements that are inconsistent with its AI systems, data and culture; may be subjected to onerous court orders that interfere with its ability to conduct its core businesses; may even suffer adverse judgments on claims that lack merit.”

This highlights the push-pull that exists around AI in the eDiscovery industry: innovators will create technology and find potential uses for it in legal, but the need for data integrity and defensible processes will slow those advances’ practical application.

But forward movement is forward, even if it is slow moving. And in the digital age, even when progress may seem to stall, new approaches can change things seemingly overnight. And even if the Word2Vec algorithm isn’t currently practical for Review, it may be useful during investigations or Early-Case-Assessment, where human reviewers simply need the extra insight AI can give them, allowing them to get to the facts of a case quicker, and then continue through the more standard processes required for defensibility.

Which is why it’s important that we continue to look outside the bubble of legaltech for possibilities. The answers are out there. We just need to make the connections.

 

Written by Jim Gill
Content Writer, Ipro

Stay up to date with the latest legaltech and eDiscovery trends in the Ipro Newsroom

Two Murder Investigations in the Last Week Highlight the Role of eDiscovery in Criminal Investigations

ediscovery in criminal investigations

More and more, eDiscovery plays a larger role in criminal investigations. These two recent murder cases have again highlighted the use of electronic forensics to solve cases that only a few decades ago, would have been difficult to crack in the relatively short time frame between the crime and the arrest.

The Sydney Loofe Case

In the second week of his trial this June, murder suspect Aubrey Trail tried to cut his own throat in the courtroom. A year ago, the then 51-year-old Trail and his alleged girlfriend 24-year-old Bailey Boswell, were charged with the murder of a 24-year-old Nebraska woman, Sydney Loofe.

Loofe was last seen 11/15/2018 before going on a Tinder date with Boswell. Police found the remains of Loofe’s body in a field a few weeks later, and in the months that followed, used a wide variety of electronic data, along with traditional forensics, to link Trail and Boswell to the murder. From an eDiscovery point of view, the list of evidence pieces together a vivid story:

  • Tinder Profiles: 140 messages between Loofe and Boswell in the days before November 15th were pulled from their online dating profiles. The last was on Nov. 15 at 6:54 p.m., when Boswell said she’d arrived at Loofe’s apartment. Police also found that Boswell went by “Audrey” on her online-dating profile.
  • Snapchat Photo: Loofe sent a selfie to a friend via Snapchat on November 15th with the caption, “Ready for my date.”
  • Facebook Videos: Trail and Boswell both posted Facebook videos claiming innocence while police were looking for them. In one, Boswell said she was “Audrey on Tinder and a few other names because I have warrants.”
  • iPhone Reset: After her arrest, Boswell gave investigators permission to search her iPhone 7, which they found had been reset to factory default settings on November 17.
  • Cellphone Pings/GPS Locations: Loofe’s phone last pinged a cell tower near Wilber, where Boswell and Trail lived in a basement apartment. When detectives searched that residence, the landlord, who lived upstairs, “reported a strong odor of bleach coming from the basement.” Data from Boswell’s phone showed its location was “in close proximity to the area where the remains were discovered Dec. 16th.”
  • Security Video Footage: Security footage from a local Home Depot showed Trail and Boswell on Nov. 15 around 10:35 a.m., shopping for tools and supplies that could be used to cover up the crime.
  • Phone Calls from Jail: In two different phone calls, one to the Lincoln Journal Star and the other to the Omaha World-Herald, Trail gave different accounts, claiming he unintentionally killed Loofe in a sex game gone wrong.

All of this led to a confession from Trail, stating that he had killed Loofe, and then he and Boswell covered up the crime scene and disposed of the body.

The MacKenzie Lueck Case

MacKenzie Lueck was a 23-year-old University of Utah student who disappeared in the early hours of June 17th, 2019. Her parents reported her missing on June 20th, and on June 28th, Ayoola Ajayi, 31, was arrested as a suspect for her murder. Once again, a combination of digital and traditional forensics created a narrative of what happened to her, and led investigators to her remains and the arrest in just over a week.

  • Airport Data: Lueck arrived at the Salt Lake City airport at 2:09am on June 17th from California after attending her grandmother’s funeral. Security photos from the airport show Lueck in the airport after deboarding her plane, giving investigators an image of what she looked like, what she was wearing, and personal belongings she had with her at the time.
  • Text to her Mother: While at the airport, Lueck texted her mother to let her know she had arrived safely.
  • Lyft Data: Lueck requested a ride through the ride-share app Lyft. Data from Lyft showed that the driver took her to Hatch Park, which is 8.5 miles from her home in Trolley Square. It also showed that nothing out of the ordinary happened on the drive, and that the Lyft driver immediately picked up other passengers after dropping her off. An interview with the driver indicated she was meeting someone in the park, but the driver didn’t know who that might be or the make/model of another car they were driving.
  • Park Surveillance: There are no surveillance cameras inside Hatch Park, but police began investigating security footage in the areas surrounding the park.
  • Social Media: Police looked at Lueck’s social media and dating profiles, and also asked the public if they had any information on alternate accounts, due to the growing trend of people keeping online profiles that aren’t known to family or close friends in order to maintain a layer of anonymity.
  • Phone Data: Cell phone data showed that the last person Lueck communicated with before going missing was Ayoola Ajayi. It also showed that Lueck’s and Ajayi’s phones were in Hatch Park the night of the 17th within one minute of each other. Hatch Park was the last place Lueck’s phone transmitted data. Ajayi’s phone also had several pictures of Lueck, including one from an online profile, after he had said in a police interview that he had no idea what Lueck looked like, had never visited her online profiles, and had last texted her at 6pm on June 16th.
  • Suspect’s Online Image: Investigators used data from Ajayi’s online footprint—from sites as varied as LinkedIn and Goodreads—along with interviews of people who knew the suspect, as well as public records, to put together a profile.
  • Search of Suspect’s Home: A forensic excavation found charred items matching Lueck’s clothing and personal belongings, and Lueck’s DNA matched remains found on site. Police also located a mattress and box-spring Ajayi had given away using a social media app just prior to his arrest.

Conclusion:

These tragic events show how law enforcement are more and more relying on electronic data to solve cases. And as these cases move to the courts, it highlights how important eDiscovery is in today’s legal world. Mobile phone data, GPS, social media, surveillance video, and other new media types are continually being used to investigate criminal cases and bring them to trial. Which is why companies that create eDiscovery and trial presentation software must continue to stay on the cutting edge of technology trends in order to maintain data integrity used in criminal and civil court. Since the use of these types of data are being used to solve crimes, attorneys and courts must be prepared to handle the electronic data while trying these cases.

Written By Jim Gill
Content Writer, Ipro Tech

 

Want the latest industry news? Visit the Ipro eDiscovery Newsroom

You’re Never Too Old to Grow Up! Ipro Announces a New Look for their Website

Websites reflect their owners’ identities in the same way buildings do—they are even referred to in architectural terms, built on sites, given addresses—and that’s why you’ll see an updated look when you visit Iprotech.com.

Ipro has been a legal technology company for 30 years and during that time has evolved through many changes. This past year marks one more of those changes, a blending of powerful technology with a client-centric approach. We hope the new website’s powerful, yet simple design and readability reflect that shift.

As part of that design, we adapted the theme of city skylines for a number of reasons. A city’s skyline can be read and recognized like a line of text, and from above, it resembles a circuit board. They represent the intersections of business and government, the great centers of data creation, technological innovation, and legal oversight. These are the places where Ipro operates and thrives.

As a final small yet significant change, our logo now sports a capital I. Early printers of Latinate languages used the uppercase to signify the beginning of a sentence, because periods are small and often overlooked. A capital letter notes a change in thought, the introduction of a new idea distinguished from the lines that had preceded it. Beginning our company’s name with a capital letter seemed one more way to reflect our identity and where we stand going into this new era.

Check out our new look, as well as how we can help you simplify your process from discovery to trial!

 

Written by Jim Gill
Content Writer, Ipro Tech

Ipro Discovery to Trial Legal Software
Ipro gets an updated look

Is Desktop eDiscovery the Future for Smaller Organizations?

desktop ediscovery

Is Desktop eDiscovery the Future for Smaller Organizations?

Smaller firms and organizations are often left out of the conversation when it comes to eDiscovery. Yes, they still are expected to handle electronic evidence as it arises in civil litigation or in criminal cases, but because of limited resources, they often must manage ESI either using older legacy software or by handing their data over to a 3rd party vendor.

Many in the industry are saying that new cloud offerings are the solution for small firms, and certainly they give power and flexibility, but are often geared toward enterprise clients (just imagine your grandfather buying a high-end gaming computer to play solitaire and you’ll get the idea). Plus, many firms aren’t ready to move operations to a cloud-based platform, instead wanting to keep things in-house for control and security. That’s where powerful eDiscovery software, which can be deployed on a desktop quickly, affordably, and with continued development and support is a game-changer for smaller shops—keeping them ahead of changing technology trends.

Ipro (desktop) is a discovery, review, and production solution that easily handles millions of records. It is accessible by any number of users within your infrastructure and it can be deployed in less than an hour with all the functionality you need to review cases of any size.

Bob Meyers, 20-year eDiscovery industry veteran and consultant, shares his recent experience working with a small firm out of Las Vegas who focuses on criminal defense: “They had just received a data dump of over 700,000 documents from the DOJ, and needed to find a cost-effective tool quickly to help them load, process, and review all of those documents. Ipro (desktop) became their number one solution.”

A lot of legacy desktop eDiscovery solutions aren’t supported or continually developed. They’re out-of-the-box options, and often out-of-date in dealing with the latest issues. If you want the latest technology, you’re expected to move to the cloud. But in today’s dynamic technology world, simply having functional software isn’t a long-term solution. That’s why the Ipro development team is continually working to meet industry challenges, while the Ipro support team is there to help you with anything that may be an issue today and future-proof your needs.

Along with the latest support and development, Ipro (desktop) lets you easily migrate from the most popular legacy flat-file review databases and has been purpose-built with the most cutting-edge features found in any in-house review platform. Effortlessly manage reviews, unitize documents, ingest native files, and produce documents with this true all-in-one litigation platform.

An additional benefit with Ipro, is that their desktop deployment isn’t the only option: they also have a powerful and robust cloud offering. If your cases get too large for your physical infrastructure or need to be accessed online by co-counsel, they can temporarily be moved to the Ipro Cloud, giving you that extra-horsepower on demand, allowing you to take on cases of any size or complexity without significant ramp-up time or monetary investment.

As electronic data continues to grow and become more and more standard as part of the legal progress, smaller firms need the flexibility to operate powerful software while fitting within their personnel and resource budgets. Ipro (desktop) begins to close that gap. Or as Julie Laboe, expert consultant and trainer in e-discovery and litigation database programs and trial presentation software states, “I’m seeing the scenario [of small firms facing large data sets] more than ever before, and Ipro (desktop) simply levels the playing field for small firms against the bigger players in any type of case.”

Contact us to begin your discovery

 

Written by Jim Gill
Content Writer for Ipro Tech

About Ipro Tech, LLC
Ipro is a global leader in eDiscovery technology used by legal professionals to streamline discovery of electronic data through presentation at trial. Ipro draws upon decades of innovation to deliver high-performance software, services, and support, bundled as a solution and deployed the way you want it—Desktop, On-prem, or Cloud—significantly reducing the cost and complexity of eDiscovery.

Deleted ESI Doesn’t Automatically Mean Sanctions: Two Recent Cases Highlight the Spoliation Thresholds in FRCP Rule 37(e)

FRCP Rule 37(e)

Two Recent Cases Highlight the Spoliation Thresholds in FRCP Rule 37(e)  

With the 2015 FRCP amendments quickly nearing a half-decade in existence, case-law continues to define how these rules are upheld in court, especially when it comes to the handing out of sanctions. Two recent cases show how strictly judges are adhering to the thresholds laid out in FRCP Rule 37(e). As a reminder, here they are those thresholds in plain language: 

If Electronically Stored Information (ESI) was lost because a party didn’t take reasonable steps to preserve it when they should have (i.e. because they knew litigation was imminent); and if the lost ESI can’t be restored or replaced by simply doing discovery again; and if there was an intent to deprive the party of information by the loss of the ESI; and if the lost ESI actually affects the outcome of the case, then the court may consider sanctions. 

In other words, sanctions are not given just for spoliation of ESI.  

Mafille v. Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. May 21, 2019 (N.D. Okla. 2019) 

“Lecturing Plaintiffs about their obligation to preserve electronically stored evidence is exceedingly poor form. 

In this case, the Plaintiff, Marlana Mafille, was terminated in part because of alleged performance issues. As part of a standard retention policy, Ms. Mafille’s company computer was given to a charitable organization with other retired computers and the data was presumably destroyed, even though the plaintiff had submitted an EEOC charge of discrimination three months earlier. 

After the defendant tried to blame the plaintiff for not requesting the computer be saved, US Magistrate Judge Frank H. McCarthy stated in his ruling, “…lecturing Plaintiffs about their obligation to preserve electronically stored evidence…is exceedingly poor form and beyond zealous advocacy.” He continues, “The court finds that Mrs. Mafille’s work computer should have been preserved and further that Defendant is solely and entirely at fault for failing to take reasonable steps to preserve the computer. However, that finding does not necessarily equate to an award of the sanctions Plaintiffs have requested.” 

Why were sanctions denied? The plaintiff’s computer contents were uploaded daily onto the defendant’s LAN server as part of a company policy. So even if her computer were destroyed, the contents could potentially be retrieved if discovery were done on the LAN server. Also, the defendant requested which documents were vital for the plaintiff’s case so they could attempt to retrieve them from the LAN server, but the Plaintiffs never identified any such items. Or as Judge McCarthy ruled, In the absence of such a showing the court must find that Plaintiffs have not suffered any prejudice as a result of the destruction of Mrs. Mafille’s work computer.” 

Univ. Accounting Serv., LLC v. Schulton. June 7, 2019 (D. Or. 2019) 

I deleted the file as fast as I could, because it’s exactly the type of damning information they want to catch me with.” 

Ethan Schulton was a lead software developer for ScholarChip and decided to leave the company and start his own endeavor to compete directly with his former employer. He also took his entire email file, ScholarChip’s client list, and some client webinars. Litigation began on March 7, 2018 and four days later, Schulton started deleting files. He did so again on April 9. And then again in August. During his deposition, Schulton admitted, “I recognize fully that was in violation of the subpoena,” and later said of one particular piece of data, “I deleted the file as fast as I could, because I was petrified at its existence, because it’s exactly the type of damning information that UAS wants to catch me with.” 

In US District Judge Michael H. Simon’s Ruling, he states that the Rule 37(e) sanction thresholds “have been satisfied.” It was clear that ESI which should have been preserved was deleted after litigation had begunJudge Simon continued, Schulton has admitted facts sufficient to support the conclusion that he acted with the intent to deprive UAS of the information’s use in the litigation, at least to the extent of depriving UAS of the ability to prove precisely what Schulton took with him when he left ScholarChip’s employment at the end of 2017. Finally, UAS has attempted to restore or replace through additional discovery the deleted information but has been unsuccessful. Thus, UAS has satisfied the four threshold elements under Rule 37(e). 

Yet, even after meeting the threshold conditions, the judge didn’t order case termination sanctions, but instead chose a permissive inference spoliation instruction against the defendant. 

Conclusion: 

Just because spoliation sanctions require proof that the stringent FRCP Rule 37 thresholds were met, doesn’t mean you should be lax when it comes to your eDiscovery processes or technology. In fact, quite the opposite. The key element of the rule is showing that “reasonable steps” were taken, and the best way to ensure that is by having a defensible and repeatable eDiscovery process in place. 

 

Written by:
Jim Gill
Content Writer for Ipro Tech

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