Ipro Chats with George Socha About eDiscovery Trends for 2020
It’s that time again where everyone is posting their predictions on the most important trends in eDiscovery for the new year. Luckily, I had the good fortune to recently speak with one of the industry’s leading voices, George Socha, about where he thinks the focus will be in 2020.
He targeted three areas which are emerging, expanding, and going to “hugely change the eDiscovery landscape we face.”
Here are some of the highlights:
“If you think of how we live our lives today – how we communicate with people and the device we constantly have with us, tracking communications, giving us access to data, tracking where we go, what we do, what we buy, what websites we visit – it’s with our mobile devices.
“And If the goal of eDiscovery, of discovery in litigation and investigations, is to figure out what happened, you have to get to the content on those devices, and the content not on but available through those devices.
“All too often, the cost and inconvenience of collecting mobile data is an insurmountable barrier. Then the next barrier we must get past is in processing that data in a way that actually makes it available and usable on a reliable basis. And then after that, the display of that content within the tools we use for analyzing and reviewing it, so it can be worked with intelligibly.”
“There is the AI we use today in eDiscovery: different names for supervised machine learning, where you say, ‘This is what I like’ and then you say to the system, ‘Now go find more of that for me’; and then there is unsupervised machine learning, which makes things such as email threading possible.
“Which takes us to the AI we’re not using or not using so much yet. The forms of predictive analytics, for example, that could in theory guide us so that if you are answering a complaint, you work with a system that has a wealth of information about previous complaints and answers to complaints, and it suggests to you what answer you might want to put together, and then lets you go from there. That’s just one potential example. The range of possibilities is enormous and includes not only what we can do for litigation, but what we can do in virtually every other area of the practice of law. But we’re still on the beginning of the up-ramp for that, and we’ve got a long way to go.”
“The cloud, for eDiscovery purposes, is important in two different ways. First, the cloud is where so much of the data we need to get at is stored today. A very high percentage of corporations of all sizes have data in the cloud. I’ve seen numbers that range anywhere from 40% or so to 92% and higher, but whether it’s 40% or 90%, that’s a pretty high percentage, and for discovery purposes will have to be treated as 100%. How do you find that data? How do you gain access to it? Can you use it where it’s stored for eDiscovery purposes or do you need to port that data or some portion of it over for use at another location?
“Then the other side is, are the eDiscovery systems you use operating in the cloud. Do they store data in the cloud, operate locally, or are they a hybrid of the two? Increasingly, I think we’re going to see systems that are exclusively operating in the cloud and storing data primarily in the cloud with data available locally for convenience purposes.”
For the full conversation with industry veterans George Socha, Derek Miller, Ryan Joyce, and Sarai Schubert, all talking about their earliest days working in legal tech over the past three decades and giving their insights into what they see happening in 2020 and beyond, visit us here:
Software alone isn’t enough. Data continues to grow in size and complexity & the need for that data in investigations & litigation is now a daily occurrence. For an agile response, innovative approaches to eDiscovery are necessary & rather than trying to go it alone, forward-thinking legal teams will look toward a hybrid approach.
When people in eDiscovery hear the term AI, they think science-fiction, with robot lawyers doing the work. But in reality, AI is an amazing tool, which allows attorneys to more effectively do what they’ve always done: practice law.
For those in the legal industry, redactions are a part of everyday life. But this doesn’t mean they’re mundane! Failure to redact or make sure that redacted content isn’t produced can be case ending (and job ending for the person responsible for the error).
Becoming an eDiscovery specialist can really set you apart from other paralegals & lead to expanded career opportunities, but the challenges of eDiscovery aren’t often a traditional part of a paralegal’s training. Here are 5 ways to start sharpening your eDiscovery skills!
This is where small firms find themselves stuck: either they adopt cloud-based solutions that were built with larger users in mind or they are left with outdated, unsupported desktop solutions. It’s no wonder many of them simply stick with the old way of doing things. But instead of a “go cloud or do nothing” approach, the small firm solution might be a powerful, locally deployed, low-overhead eDiscovery suite.
Most law firms see eDiscovery 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.
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. 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.
The processing stage of eDiscovery is like the forgotten middle child of the EDRM. Most people are focused on focused on collection or review, while the the processing stage – which falls between those steps – is just expected to happen. Like magic. But processing isn’t magic. And it shouldn’t be overlooked.
A sense of humor isn’t required to work in eDiscovery. But it sure does help! To wrap up 2019 and continue celebrating our industry, Ipro has compiled our top Legal Technology memes of the year.
#1: Defining AI in eDiscovery…
There are a lot of claims of “Artificial Intelligence” in the market, but when people hear the term AI, they often think of science-fiction, with robots doing the work that humans had done before. But as Aaron Swenson, Director of Product at Ipro, says: “In Legal, you don’t want the AI doing the work for you. You want it to help you ask the right questions, show you insightful trends in the data.”
#2 Stuck in the Past…
There’s no doubt that eDiscovery education is still a great need in the industry. A lot of law firms and corporations are left using outdated technology and workflows, trudging along with a “It’s not broken, so why fix it” attitude. Maybe it’s time they head Back to the Future.
#3: If only there were technology to help with that…
Doing redactions manually is a recipe for disaster! Tools like Ipro’s Production Shield (which is included in our enterprise and desktop eDiscovery solutions) allow administrators to add another layer of protection for documents that should not be produced.
#4: Things don’t always go as planned…
Because of privileged information on mobile devices, the courts are mindful about data requests. But in a recent case, the plaintiff’s complaint actually worked against their desire to keep their device from being imaged.
#5: Complex doesn’t have to look crazy…
There is a better way to organize and present the evidence in your case! Technology that utilizes the combination of fact management & trial presentation tools can make your day in court so much easier.
#6: Doing things the same since 2009…
Ten years ago, you didn’t really have a choice. But these days, with TAR, email threading, and concept searches, large datasets don’t have to be a slog.
“Your allowing me to go into court without complete knowledge of the facts is inexcusable.”
#8: Are you serious!?
A recent Thomson Reuters survey found that only 19% of small law firms had eDiscovery technology, and an Altman Weil survey found that 69% are resistant to change. If those stats don’t motivate you, maybe this little girl’s side-eye will!
Ah, good old legacy software like grandma used to use…with limited processing capabilities, issues with file type compatibility, a lack of continued development and support. A decade is here! Time for an upgrade.
The small law firm is often left out of the eDiscovery conversation. Faced with choosing an enterprise tool, sticking with legacy eDiscovery software that is no longer being developed, or the old standby, manual processes, it might seem that small firms are left little in the way of eDiscovery options.
But that isn’t the case. Recently, The Lawyerist interviewed Derek Miller, VP of Desktop Solutions at Ipro, on several of their podcasts, talking about just that: eDiscovery tools small law firms should keep in their toolboxes.
Why Do Small Firms Need to Care About eDiscovery?
Derek Miller: I have a firm that I work with here in Phoenix, a small firm, two attorneys and two paralegals. And they’ve decided to use technology from start to finish. From the first meeting with a client, they start a chronology on what they’re going to produce, and what they’re getting from opposing counsel. And they start with electronically created information and images, which means someone has to process it and work with it. So they use our desktop software to ingest that information, review, and produce it. They also manage their transcripts and synchronized video, and they build the entirety of their case through the use of this technology.
At every stage, they’re reviewing, producing, scanning, coding data, and putting it into a product that will allow them to then take all of that information and transition it through the litigation life cycle and then go into trial and present that information. Ironically, everyone has to prepare as if they’re going to trial; whether or not they end up there is dependent upon the case. And because they’re using technology at every stage, they’re already familiar with the facts all the way through, solidifying their strategy.
Lawyerist: They don’t have to wait until pre-trial, or even discovery, they’re ready to go from the beginning of the intake process. That sounds like a pretty powerful way to approach trial prep and litigation in general.
Derek Miller: I think so. And because they’ve adopted the software and are using it through the whole process, they don’t have to relearn it each time when they get to a certain stage. It’s just a natural part of the practice.
Lawyerist: How would a firm get started using technology like that?
Derek Miller: That’s a great question. First, go out and evaluate a couple of different products, decide what it is that you’re trying to do, and then how a particular software fits that goal.
Secondarily, I would invest heavily in the training. Once you become familiar with the software, then make that a part of your workflow.
Lawyerist: What’s a tool that you think should be in every litigator’s toolbox?
Derek Miller: I think one of the tools that can be really helpful, and that’s a little bit underrated, is a Fact management tool.
Lawyerist: What is a fact management tool?
Derek Miller: It’s a tool that bridges the gap between the discovery/production phase of litigation and the trial phase. And with every case, you should be preparing as if you are going to trial, even if you don’t ultimately end up in the courtroom.
Lawyerist: I’m imagining that a fact management tool uses key facts, material facts, extraneous facts, as the central organizing principle, and my assumption is that it helps me organize what those facts are and identify why they might matter, helping me draw connections between them.
Derek Miller: Yeah, I think one way to think about a fact management tool is it’s like one of those photographic mosaics, where you’re trying to take a bunch of those little individual pictures and turn it into one big picture. And with litigation, you start with one big picture in mind, and then with all the little pictures you’re given, you try and paint it so it’s accurate and clearly seen. Sometimes that’s harder to do, because you’re stuck with all these little pieces of evidence, and you have to align those with all of the facts and issues of the case. A fact management tool can help you do that. You have to have the ability to manage witnesses, documents, testimony, and a chronology, and the ability to visualize “what happened when” is a key part of painting that picture.
Lawyerist: You just mentioned a chronology, what are some other key features you want to look for in a fact management tool.
Derek Miller: Something that ties together facts and the evidence that goes with it, whether that is a document, an email, a video, a transcript testimony from a deposition, any of those are all key pieces you want to manage. Additionally, you don’t want a tool that’s a bridge to nowhere. And what I mean by that, is that it would be great if all the effort and work product was going to transition easily into whatever you’re going to use for trial.
Lawyerist: Because the idea here, is that whenever I see a fact, it’s providing me with the additional context. So I know what that fact means, what the significance is, if it turns out to exist or not exist, if the fact is disproved or proved, and what that means for my case, and what are the documents I’m going to need to prove it up or disprove it.
Derek Miller: You’re right, and then which witness is going to testify and who’s going to introduce that evidence to help you out.
Lawyerist: Is this something that will work with my presentation software, or is this just something I would use myself on my laptop at my desk?
Derek Miller: It could be either/or. As I mentioned earlier, it could be something that’s going to transition that work product right into the trial software, so that if you do end up in the courtroom, you’re not redoing that work. It’s all going along for the ride.
Lawyerist: And that’s the philosophy behind Ipro, right? It’s something you begin using at the beginning of the case that helps you along the way, and then it also turns into a fact management tool as you need it to be, and it also helps you present your case at trial, and handles the whole lifecycle of the case.
Derek Miller: Exactly. We’re all about simplifying that entire process, from the start of discovery all the way through trial.
Lawyerist: You were telling me about some PDF redaction disasters you were seeing recently that show what happens when you use software correctly, but for a purpose which it was not intended. Tell us what you’ve seen.
Derek Miller: Recently in the news, there was the story of the redacted information that was erroneously or accidentally exposed because of the tools that were used to do the redaction. It’s probably not the first or last time that will happen, but in this instance, it was an issue of understanding how the technology works versus the software itself, and that can be the bigger problem when it comes to selecting tools for the toolbox.
Lawyerist: So in this case, remind me, what was the situation and what was the tool that went wrong?
Derek Miller: Basically, the situation was they went through and they redacted some grand jury information, and the software did work as it was intended, and it did redact, but that doesn’t mean it was permanent or fixed, so an outside party was able to highlight, copy, and paste, and then show that redacted information in another document.
Lawyerist: This was the kind of situation where, someone drew black boxes over the document, which works if you’re going to print it, but doesn’t actually redact the digital information from the file.
Derek Miller: Correct. When you have an image or text, you can put a black box over it all you want, but the underlying data is still there. So while they did choose a redaction tool, they didn’t double check to make sure the information wasn’t still available.
Lawyerist: So how can lawyers make sure that when they are redacting PDF documents or other digital documents, they’re doing it correctly.
Derek Miller: That’s kind of the challenge: picking the right tool for the right job. Based on this recent experience, anyone doing redactions and producing redacted documents is going to understand how those tools work and be a little more careful so they avoid this type of mistake. But mainly you want to make sure you have the right tool in your toolbox. So use software that’s specifically designed to redact and produce those redactions accurately. And as far as the functionality of the software, you want to make sure it does a couple of things like automatically re-OCR the document to remove the text under the redaction, run validations to make sure the redactions are burned in and the text is correct, and then be able to create layered redactions so that multiple production sets can be sent to multiple parties.
In addition to those functions, in the Ipro for enterprise and Ipro for desktop products, there is a feature called Production Shield which identifies those types of documents that need that added layer of review before they’re produced.
Lawyerist: Which can keep you from making mistakes. Kind of like the email feature that reminds you when you’ve forgotten to attach something.
Derek Miller: Exactly. In a similar way that your email will ask, “Are you sure you want to send?” or “Did you mean to attach documents?” Production Shield works in a similar way where it says, hey, you may want to check these documents to make sure the redaction is correct and there’s no underlying text that could inadvertently get disclosed.
Lawyerist: That sounds pretty handy! Thanks so much for being with us today, Derek.
Derek Miller: Thank you.
Find out how 5 legal teams overcame their challenges, utilizing Ipro’s Hybrid approach to eDiscovery.
Find out how 5 legal teams overcame their challenges, utilizing Ipro’s Hybrid approach to eDiscovery.
There are a lot of stakeholders and processes involved in eDiscovery, which makes it an extremely complex adventure. For many years, people said that with the right software, you could handle everything. But software alone isn’t enough. That’s why you need a technology partner to help navigate the unpredictable waters of eDiscovery.
When software isn’t enough: Data continues to grow in size and complexity, and the need for that data in investigations and litigation is now a daily occurrence. For an agile response, innovative approaches to eDiscovery are necessary, and rather than trying to go at it alone, forward-thinking legal teams will look toward a hybrid approach.
Ipro’s hybrid approach to eDiscovery means we’re more than just a software producer: we bring a true partnership to the table via our Case Managers, whose ultimate goal is to become an extension of your team – to know the details of your data, the deadlines that are looming, and provide options for the most efficient and stress-free experience as possible.
As a way of highlighting this partnership, we’re featuring our Case Managers here in the Ipro Newsroom.
Lori Bregenzer brings over 20 years of litigation technology experience to the Ipro Services Team. Her background as the Litigation Technology Manager for a large law firm and subsequently as the owner of a boutique litigation software training and consulting company has built a solid foundation of both technical and customer-focused skills which she leverages in her role as Case Manager for Ipro.
Here are the highlights of our conversation:
What makes Ipro Case Managers unique in the eDiscovery industry?
“Decades of industry experience using, training, supporting, and consulting on litigation technology. In my positions prior to joining the Ipro team, I struggled to find a service provider who took the time to learn the intricacies of my projects. Quite often, my project was treated as ‘just business’. It’s very rare in this industry to find a provider who strives to becomes a true partner.
“We know the Ipro solutions better than anyone else. We also know our competitor’s software, because we’ve actually used it in the past. Our goal is to become an extension of your case team, bringing value by building in efficiencies, custom workflows, and unparalleled technical skills.”
How does an Ipro Case Manager help clients?
“We take time to learn the details of your project so that we can suggest ways to simplify the complex discovery tasks you face every day. Our goal is to ease the many pain points of processing, document review, and production.”
What are some of the biggest challenges / trends you’re seeing in the eDiscovery industry?
“Collecting, organizing, and managing the ever-expanding volume of data involved in litigation today.”
How does Ipro generally and Ipro’s Case Managers specifically solve these eDiscovery issues?
“Ipro is completely scalable in our solutions. No project is too big or too small. Ipro’s Case Managers have years of experience dealing with all levels of projects and the many difficult processing and production requests that invariably come up.
“This personalized approach to eDiscovery services is what draws me to the Case Manager position. As your Case Manager, I make it my business to build a relationship with your legal team. We’ll discuss your data processing requirements up front and develop a game plan to get your review off to a quick and successful start. I’ll point out ways to conduct document review more efficiently, and thus more cost effectively. Additionally, I’ll know when the deadlines are coming and proactively work with you to not only meet them but beat them.”
To Learn more about Ipro’s Managed eDiscovery Services, visit us here!
Women in eDiscovery Phoenix Chapter Hosts Judges Roundtable
Photo: Front Row: Kate Mortensen (Chief Legal Officer, Xact Data Discovery), Jamie Sheppard, (Client Success Manager, Ipro Tech), Tiffany Trejo (eDiscovery Specialist, Ricoh eDiscovery), Judge Pamela Gates (Maricopa County Superior Court, Presiding Judge), Judge Danielle Viola (Maricopa County Superior Court, Victoria Stevens (Sr. Paralegal, Wilenchik & Bartness, P.C.); Second Row: Judge Samuel Thumma (Arizona Court of Appeals), Lisa Waldin (Project Manager, Ryley Carlock), Judge Dominic Lanza (US District Court for the District of Arizona)
On October 17th, the Phoenix Chapter ofWomen in eDiscoveryhosted a Judges roundtable event at the downtown offices of Snell & Wilmer. Four judges came to speak to over fifty attendees about eDiscovery trends and best practices they are seeing from the bench. Lunch was sponsored by Ipro.
WiE was launched in 2007 as a non-profit organization focused on providing women with legal technology education, networking and leadership opportunities. It’s now 28 chapters strong and growing, with each hosting monthly or quarterly meetings comprised of professionals within the legal industry including law firm and corporate legal attorneys, litigation support professionals, paralegals, legal IT staff, consultants, and vendors.
Below are highlights of what each speaker shared during the roundtable.
Hon. Dominic W. Lanza, US District Judge for the District of Arizona
eDiscovery Tip: “I don’t always hold Rule 16 meetings but begin with a Rule 26f conference right away. It may be your only shot to raise issues or concerns, so it’s vital that you find a way to be concise in disputes and crisply discuss scope with a focus on specifics and costs during the meet and confer.”
Before his appointment to the bench in 2018, Judge Lanza spent 10 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, where his responsibilities included serving as the chief of the financial crimes and public integrity section and, later, as the office’s chief assistant. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he worked for five years at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, specializing in appellate litigation, and clerked for Judge Pamela A. Rymer of the Ninth Circuit.
Hon. Pamela S. Gates, Maricopa County Superior Court Presiding Judge
eDiscovery Tip: “I suggest a focus on cooperation by all parties through the 4 P’s of eDiscovery: Preservation, Production, Protection, and Proportionality. For example, if something can’t be produced, give reasons. The worst thing that could happen is to claim you’ve produced everything and have opposing counsel bring up something you’ve missed.”
Judge Gates was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer in September 2009 to serve on the Maricopa County Superior Court. She currently serves as the Presiding Civil Judge. Prior to this rotation, she served as the Associate Criminal Presiding Judge and the Associate Presiding Judge for Family Court (Downtown). Judge Gates served on numerous state-wide committees and received the 2018 Maricopa County Bar Association Judicial Officer of the Year Award and the Penny Gaines Collegiality Award. Prior to becoming a judge, she worked as a partner at Bryan Cave LLP.
Hon. Danielle J. Viola, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge
eDiscovery Tip: “Unless judges understand all of the details, they can’t rule. This is why it’s important to provide specific information, especially during proportionality complaints, and make experts like I.T. personnel readily available to answer questions.”
Judge Viola was appointed to the Maricopa County Superior Court in 2011. She currently enjoys a civil assignment and is chair of the Jury Advisory Committee for Maricopa County Superior Court, as well as serving on the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence and the Court Interpreter Program Advisory Committee. From 2014 through 2019, Judge Viola presided over a criminal calendar where she also served as the Administrative Judge for the Post-Conviction Relief Unit and as the Associate Presiding Judge for the Criminal Department. Prior to joining the bench, Danielle she was a partner at Snell & Wilmer.
Hon. Samuel A. Thumma, Arizona Court of Appeals Judge
eDiscovery Tip: “Judges are strangers to the individual cases, so you need to be prepared to educate and explain. Anytime you have an ESI issue come up, it’s a learning opportunity for everyone. This is why it’s important to have eDiscovery experts who are able to speak to both the technology and legal concerns in clear language.”
Judge Thumma has served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, since 2012, serving as Chief Judge for two years ending June 30, 2019, and Vice Chief Judge for two years ending June 30, 2017. Before being appointed to the Court of Appeals, Judge Thumma served as a Judge on the Arizona Superior Court, Maricopa County, for nearly five years, presiding over criminal and juvenile matters (including nearly 250 trials) and serving as an elected member of the Judicial Executive Committee. Nationally, Judge Thumma is a Uniform Law Commissioner, where he chairs the Study Committee on Jury Selection and Service; is a member of the Committee to Monitor Developments in Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution and chaired the Drafting Committee for the Uniform Employee and Student Online Protection and Privacy Act (2016). He is a member of the American Bar Foundation. By appointment of the National Center for State Courts, he serves on the Joint Technology Committee, a cooperative effort of the NCSC, the Conference of State Court Administrators and the National Association for Court Management. Judge Thumma is a frequent lecturer and author, having presented at more than 340 seminars and published 12 law review, and 50 other law-related, articles. Before joining the bench, Judge Thumma was a partner at Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, P.A., in Phoenix, and an associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.
Download Ipro’s FRCP Cheat Sheet to brush up on your eDiscovery Rules!
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) are just that: rules established by the Supreme Court and approved by Congress, specifying procedures for civil legal suits within US federal courts. There are several of these that apply specifically to eDiscovery and understanding their role in the process is vital for any practitioner, whether you’re on a corporate legal team, part of a law-firm, or a specialist at a service provider.
Don’t want to read pages and pages of legalese just to learn the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that apply to eDiscovery? We’ve got you covered!
Need to brush up on your Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as they apply to eDiscovery?
We’ve all been there: we know we need to change our way of doing things but are stuck in the status quo. We tell ourselves, if it isn’t broken, why fix it, because the thought of going through the difficulty of evolving often overshadows any benefits that might come with updating.
Those of us working in eDiscovery are no different. Even as digital information is constantly growing, file types changing, and processing and review costs continue rising, we hang onto outdated software that becomes more and more unstable with age—from limited processing capabilities, issues with filetype compatibility, or a lack of continued development and support.
Here are 5 reasons why continued use of unsupported legacy software is a ticking time bomb in your eDiscovery process.
This is an obvious one. Using legacy eDiscovery software that is no longer supported by the company that created it is like driving a car with high-mileage and no warranty: it may still run fine and get you from point A to point B, but when it breaks down, you’re on your own.
Operating System Support
As far as digital lifespans go, 5 years is a long time. If your legal team is using legacy eDiscovery software which was created for older versions of an OS, it could lead to issues if it’s no longer being supported to meet with scheduled OS updates. (For example, Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015, which has had 7 additional versions updates since then, with various “end of service” dates scheduled in 2020).
It’s no secret that data is growing exponentially each year, particularly in the corporate sector. From an eDiscovery standpoint, the challenge lies with the near infinite number of file types (and variations within each type) in which data can live. Every program and application you use creates different file types: email, chat, social media, planning and content-creation tools, etc. Different versions of the same program or application create variations of those file types, and different formatting within each of those can create still more variations. From this perspective, it’s easy to see why a legal team needs software that is continually being updated in order to keep up with this growth.
Lack of advanced tools and analytics for today’s workflows
More and more, legal teams are looking to add the latest tools which increase the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of document search and review. If your team is using software that is no longer being developed or supported, you may be missing out on the latest innovations in Early Case Assessment (ECA), Technology Assisted Review (TAR), and other advanced technology which allows your team to deal with larger datasets and take on more complex cases.
Difficulty meeting unique production requirements
FRCP Rule 34(b) states that a requesting party may specify the form or forms of ESI production, which are determined by the parties at the Rule 26(f) “meet and confer” conference. The inability to meet unique production requirements due to outdated or unsupported software will result in having to turn to outside service providers to do the job for you, resulting in extra costs and added stakeholders, in order to meet the production deadline.
Functional Software isn’t a Long-Term Solution
It’s time to stop struggling with legacy eDiscovery tools. Ipro easily migrates data from the most popular legacy flat-file review databases and has been purpose-built with the most cutting-edge features in eDiscovery. No matter what your eDiscovery needs are, Ipro has the flexibility, scalability, and value to meet them.
Redaction Errors in Federal Opioid Case Reveal Importance of Legal Technology
For as long as humans have been writing things down, redactions have been a part of the process. In the beginning, they were used to integrate disparate stories and folktales, but these days, when we hear about redactions, it’s usually in regard to investigations and legal actions.
For the public—especially those who are hungry for conspiracy theories and secrets—redactions are a tantalizing hint at what’s not being said; however, for those in the legal industry, redactions are a part of everyday life. But this doesn’t mean they’re mundane! On the contrary, failure to redact documents or to make sure that redacted content is produced in its redacted format can be case ending (and job ending for the person responsible for the error).
The most common reason this happens, is because law firms are taking the “redact by hand” route instead of using tools that properly manage productions to ensure documents meet the expected production requirements (i.e. making sure the information meant to be kept private is hidden). By not using redaction technology, law firms are flirting with disaster.
Which is exactly where a law firm found itself, after exposing secret grand jury information in a court filing as a result of using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, instead of specialized redaction technology, which the partner said, “is specifically designed to avoid such issues. The failure to use this software was inadvertent oversight.”
At first glance, the filing appeared redacted, but a member of the press was able to defeat the redaction by simply copying the black-out boxes and pasting the text into a new document.
Ryan Joyce, VP of Strategy at Ipro, commented, “Time and time again we have seen the same headline—a law firm or government agency getting in trouble for not handling their redactions correctly. Why is this still an issue after all these years? Any software can draw a colored box over text, but only the right software will produce it correctly.”
But even when redactions are properly handled, a newly published study by the University of Zurich may make them a moot point. By using a combination of AI and over 120,000 legal records, researchers “were able to identify the participants in confidential legal cases, even though such participants had been anonymized.” And if that doesn’t give pause, they did so with an 84% accuracy rate after mining data for only one hour.
Still, even if anonymized information in legal documents can be defeated—by robots or gross oversight—the requirement to redact documents correctly isn’t going away anytime soon. Which means law firms should ensure they have the technology in place to properly handle redactions, along with the processes in place to ensure that technology is used. If they don’t, it could mean sanctions for the firm and unemployment for the individual who made the error.
Tools like Ipro’s Production Shield (which is included in the enterprise and desktop eDiscovery solutions by Ipro) allow administrators to add another layer of protection for documents that should not be produced. When using Production Shield, such documents are identified during the validation phase of the export process, giving administrators the opportunity to correct conflicts and ensure only appropriate documents are produced.
In addition to Production Shield, Ipro ensures accurate redactions by:
Automatically re-OCRing the document to remove any text under the redaction
Running validations to ensure redactions are burned in and the text is correct
Creating layered redactions, so multiple production sets can be sent to multiple parties
Having 30 years’ experience in the legaltech industry – we know our redactions!