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AI in eDiscovery: Expectations vs. Reality

AI in eDiscovery

AI in eDiscovery: Expectations vs. Reality

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.”

AI in eDiscovery, by Ipro

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2019 Ipro Tech Show Sessions Now Live

If you couldn’t attend the Ipro Tech Show in April (or want to relive it one more time), we have you covered! Videos of the presentations are now live and streamable, allowing you to experience the next best thing to being there (and share it with your colleagues).

The general session kicked off with Ipro CEO Dean Brown updating the audience regarding Ipro andhow we’re future-proofing our technology partnerships. Then, an Artificial Intelligence panel followed with Kinny Chan (Precision Discovery, LLC), Stephen Goldstein (Squire Patton Boggs, LLP), and William Kellermann (Hanson Bridgett, LLP) discussing AI and its impacts on the legal industry. Keynote Speaker Kevin Surace, futurist and disruptive innovator, wrapped up the general session by speaking about the myths and realities surrounding AI, upcoming trends, and how to use them to get ahead of the curve.

Track sessions were led by industry thought leaders and covered hot topics affecting eDiscovery, including: Tackling Information Governance and Incident Response, and Data Breaches as it applies to eDiscovery. The Sedona Conferencealso offered CLE credits, product training, and certification.

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success. We’re already making plans for next year!

Copies of the videos and presentations can be found here.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Pausing Jobs and How This Could Affect Deduplication in eCapture

Here’s a common situation that could cause problems when pausing jobs and a tip to prevent it.

When it comes to pausing jobs you should know the possible impact this could create with deduplication. In general, pausing a job will not impact anything with the job, but this can change depending on other jobs that are running or will be run. Here is an example of something that can happen:

We start a job called Job A. Then we pause Job A and start another job (Job B) in the same custodian.

We are de-duplicating at the custodian level.

Let’s say Job A has processed 10 files before it was paused, one of those files was found in Job B > Job B will list the item as a duplicate of the item in Job A.

Let’s let Job B finish and unpause Job A and let it finish

The last item in Job A was a duplicate of an item in Job B > Job A will deduplicate it out, keeping the item from Job B

In this case, both jobs have an item that was deduplicated from the other. Whichever job discovers the item first will be the reference, and all other jobs will mark their items as duplicates, even if one job finishes before the other or if a job is paused.

Starting jobs

 

Let’s go over another scenario:

Let’s start Job A and let it get through the same 10 documents again, then pause it

Now we will start Job B and let it finish. One of Job B’s items is a duplicate of one of the items in Job A that is done with processing and gets deduplicated

Now we delete Job A. What happens to the item in Job B? It still is marked as a duplicate, and will still be deduplicated.

Now we are in a problem where an item is getting marked as a duplicate despite the original job being deleted. Normally if we delete Job A before starting Job B, this wouldn’t cause a problem, but because the jobs were active at the same time, the jobs are now “linked” by their duplicate items, and deleting one job means potentially re-running the other.

Knowing this ahead of time in the event you need to pause a job will ensure nothing important to your review gets missed.

For more tips be sure to check out the Ipro Community page or visit Iprotech.com.

No “Bull” in the Courtroom with TrialDirector 360

A high profile wealthy man is found shot to death in his home. The scene appears suspiciously staged to investigating police and in short time, the victim’s wife, a woman not known for her warmth and kindness, is immediately charged with his murder. Her alibi is slippery, and the evidence is stacking up. Her only hope is securing the best defense team possible.

Enter Dr. Jason Bull, the founder of Trial Analysis Corporation on the fictional courtroom drama, Bull. He and his team of experts employ psychology, human intuition, and high tech to influence trial outcomes in favor of their clients. His process starts with jury selection and the ability to assess if the potential jurors will lean his way. He does this in the typical way, through attorney questioning, but also using a mirror jury with palm sensors to gauge response and shift the narrative during trial. Impressive use of technology, albeit, tech that either doesn’t exist or would be extremely expensive to utilize, but that’s not the point of this post.

The typical Bull episode begins with Dr. Bull and his team being hired by a client and deciding based on the facts if they should accept. The premise of the previously referenced episode was about proving the wife’s innocence when public opinion had already convicted her. Dr. Bull goes through his usual jury manipulations, but what stood out during the episode was with all the technology he uses in the initial process to develop a strategy, once they got to the courtroom, technology disappeared.

When it came time for the defense attorney to stun the courtroom with the proof of his client’s innocence, he lifted a simple clipped stack of papers and told the jurors what it contained. Papers? Really? Is this 2018 or an episode of Perry Mason? Where’s the fancy graphics? Where’s the video? For a show so heavily focused on technology, it was a strange dichotomy. Let’s look at how impactful that trial argument could have been with the use of stellar trial presentation software like TrialDirector 360.

Lawyer showing evidence to the jury

First up: the accused provides a false alibi to the police the night of the murder because she fears her true whereabouts would be more incriminating. When she’s deposed, she lies again, until Dr. Bull and his team confront her and learn she was really seeing a divorce attorney that night. During trial, she’s asked about it, as is the police officer who took her statement, but how much more powerful for the prosecution could that have been with a deposition transcript replay for the juror’s ears. With TrialDirector 360’s video and transcript management, the exact piece of the interview could be played back for the jury’s consideration. Granted, it may have worked out initially in the prosecution’s favor until the defense had an opportunity to explain.

The smoking gun (spoiler alert!) of this episode was the discovery of a website and paper trail that showed the husband sought out a hitman via the dark web and planned and paid for his own execution. The motive? He had gambled away his family’s fortune and knew that suicide would prevent the payout of the 25 million dollar life insurance policy. This information was verbally relayed to the wife during her testimony rather than bringing it up on a screen to show the jury the proof and evidence of the existence of this website. Using TrialDirector 360’s tear out feature, the defense could highlight the exact information proving their client’s innocence. Dun dun dun! It’s hard to argue with something that’s right in front of your face.

In another powerful moment, the prosecution played a recording the deceased left for his wife, seemingly pleading for his life, the prosecution contending that he knew she wanted him dead. The defense, however, after learning the events that really took place, explained to the court how it was actually a suicide note, but never took the opportunity to play the recording again, reframing it with the newfound facts to sway the jury closer to the truth. Imagine the impact to the jury to visually see the website, the paper trail and the voice recording securing beyond a shadow of a doubt the wife’s innocence.

The outcomes always work out in Dr. Bull’s favor as many fictional shows do, but in a real courtroom, it’s critical to maximize the impact of your argument, and ultimately obtain the desired verdict, by implementing trial technology that actually does exist.

Want to take your trial presentation to the next level?

Click here to request a demo.

Convenient or Creepy: The Smart Speakers are Listening

In a previous blog post, we talked about privacy as it relates to fitness wearable devices. To continue on the privacy vein, let’s examine smart speakers like Google Home, Alexa, and Siri. If you use any of these devices, you know the convenience associated with voice commands. Need the time? Alexa has it. Want to know some obscure movie fact? Ask Siri. Need to buy paper towels? Tell Google Home. Easy peasy, right? In today’s busy world of work, events, and to do lists, these devices lend a helpful hand, but at the price of consumer privacy.

Recently, both Google and Amazon filed patents to allow even broader abilities to listen in on consumer lives. Rather than waiting for a wake command as the speakers do now, the device would always be on and listening for keywords, but what is it doing with that information? According to both companies, the information would be used to target advertising based on the collected data. Say, you’re sitting around the dinner table discussing your next family vacation and then Alexa starts to recite travel deals to your target destination? How about Google Home listening to you discuss your medical issue with a friend and then offering related prescription ads? What about recognizing your mood, or an oncoming cold based on a sneeze, or an argument with your spouse? Google Home could even suggest parenting tactics based on its monitoring of your family interactions. You should spend more time with Susie, Google says. Do you want all of that in the cloud for advertisers to mill through? Is this level of technology cool or creepy?

While these assistants can be a source of convenience, we’d be remiss not to consider the potential consequences. Could information collected from smart speakers be used in a court of law? Are they discoverable? Could anything obtained be used for a conviction? Technology often moves faster than the law, but the law is catching up. Consider the Arkansas murder case where investigators wanted to use information gathered by Amazon’s smart speaker, Echo belonging to the suspect. Amazon jumped in citing First Amendment protections, an important step in setting a precedent for how this technology could be handled in the future. The suspect ended up granting permission for the data to be collected, but in future cases, consent and rights will need heavy consideration. For an innocent person accused of a crime or the unfortunate victim, the smoking gun, in this case, could be a home assistant device. But take a moment to consider the flip side. Could a conversation taken out of context lead to suspicion in the event something goes afoul, making it difficult to defend oneself? Do you really want your casual conversations used against you in a court of law?

As with much of current technology, consumers need to weigh the pros and cons of adopting smart devices. You must ask yourself the question is giving the device full access to your life, habits, interests, and vices worth the convenience? Where is the line and once we cross it, can we ever go back?

The key to employee retention? Goals!

If you’ve managed people for any amount of time, you know that engaged employees are the key to a successful company. There are plenty of tips and theories for creating and improving engagement, but I want to focus on one in particular- goal setting.

Let’s start with the basics. Do you set professional goals for yourself? Do you ask your team to set goals? Are your team’s goals aligned with the company’s objectives? Hopefully, you work in a transparent and communicative company that openly shares business goals and objectives, but if you don’t, take the initiative to share what you can with your team. Next, start the process by working with each person on your team to create S.M.A.R.T. goals, ultimately improving their chances of success. Finally, help the employee understand how the completion of their individual goals ties into the overall success of the company.

Creating meaningful workplace goals is one way to encourage and nurture engagement in highly valued employees. Ensure you have a scheduled follow up plan to meet with each individual to provide encouragement, answer questions and remove obstacles if necessary. This step will help the employee feel valued and accountable to the process.

For the employee, there are numerous benefits to goal setting in the workplace. Engaged employees need challenges and development beyond their normal job duties, and goals are one way to achieve this. Goal setting can help career path opportunities, providing a future the employee can see and work toward. A leader being invested in their team’s success leads to trust in management and personal accountability, with the bonus effect of feeling personally connected to the company and department’s success.

For the manager, goal setting for yourself and your team assists with performance management. When it comes time to write team reviews and self-assessments, you’ll have plenty of material to use as examples. Engaged and happy employees are more productive and have high morale, and who wouldn’t want a team with those traits? You’re also encouraging your team to grow, develop and create a career path with the company. All these benefits lead to the biggest one of all- employee retention. The worst feeling is getting a resignation of a valued employee handed to you because they felt they had no future. You realize too late that you didn’t spend enough time with that individual to help them see how valued they were. While we can’t prevent attrition entirely, we can use the tools we have to create a workplace where employees grow, thrive and want to work.

Video File Formats – What is best?

One of the many powerful tools available for use in litigation is video. Video can be used to tell a story, depict a day in the life of someone, see the actual event happening, see a witness’s demeanor during examination, substitute for a witness who cannot attend the trial in person, impeachment and the list goes on. From the early days of 8mm film, followed by VHS tapes to today’s digital video, this tool is an essential part of almost every trial.

When an attorney used 8mm film, VHS tapes or LaserDisc, the setup and use was straightforward. Someone would hook up the player to a projector or TV and when they needed it, they pressed the play button. Pretty easy. Once digital video came into the mix, things started to get complicated. While you still hook up to a projector or TV and press the play button, digital video has some potential complications that can add a degree of difficulty you really don’t need at trial.

Digital Formats:
One of the most common digital formats and the focus of this blog is MPEG. MPEG is an acronym for Moving Pictures Experts Group. This group of authorities set the standards for audio/video compression and transmission of the digital files that everyone “abides” by. These standards set the compressed data format to a standard video compression specification. Creation of these digital files requires software known as a “video codec” that includes an encoder that can compress the video into a smaller file size and a decoder that will decompress the files for playback. More on video codecs later.
The original MPEG standard that was first developed and released in 1993 was called MPEG-1. This standard is still very much in use today and has continuously been recommended, especially in litigation, because MPEG-1 doesn’t require anything special to make it work. Using an MPEG-1 video compression algorithm, a 120-minute video would be compressed to about 1.2 GB. MPEG-2 is a standard that has been adopted by most of the movie producing companies because of the higher visual quality of video available during playback. The compression algorithm of MPEG-2 would take a 120-minute video and compress it to about 4GB – 8GB, but with a much higher quality than MPEG-1. With the eruption of the internet, MPEG-4 has steadily become the standard of choice thanks to its high level of compression while maintaining a high level of quality during playback. One of the many reasons that MPEG-4 has become popular is that its compression algorithm will compress a 120-minute video to about 300MB and maintain a very high quality. Choosing a video format essentially becomes a comparison between power, speed, storage capacity and fidelity or quality of the video and the requirements to play the video, i.e. video codecs.

Issues:
When it comes to working with digital video files, the number one culprit that causes issues is the video codec. If you have ever had audio play, but not the video or had some MPEG files play but not others, it is because the video codec is incompatible. Video playback software that came pre-installed or was installed after the fact may install their own codec and you can have multiple codecs installed on the same computer. When this happens there are potential conflicts and it is unknown what codec will be used with what video. The problem is consistently found when dealing with MPEG-2 video files and less of an issue with the other MPEG formats. There are several packages commercially available that can be used to determine what codecs are installed and what may or may not be conflicting.
A secondary issue when dealing with digital video that may be encountered is that not all digital video is created equally. Just because the format is MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 doesn’t mean that it is compliant or compatible with the player. One thing to verify is if the video was created using a constant bit rate or a variable bit rate. Another possible area to check is if within the file format, standards or “parts” have been included. For example, MPEG-4 Part 8, is video formatted using a method to carry the content on IP networks. Another would be MPEG-4 – H.264 or Part 10 that supports video resolutions up to 4096×2304 or 4K UHD. Making sure that your video codec supports constant or variable bit rates and parts or variants to a format will help alleviate some of the potential issues you may encounter.

Conclusion:
When it comes to working with video files and having issues, find out who/what created the video, if there are any non-standard or non-compliant issues and what video codecs are installed on the computer. Taking these steps to resolve any issues beforehand is critical to a smooth presentation and keeping your focus where it needs to be at trial.

Do Your Numbers Survive the Tank?

With almost all marketing associated with eDiscovery, Law Firms, Providers and Software companies alike tout that an advantage of using Acme Company is “Efficiency,” but how are people measuring efficiency? A year ago, at our Ipro Innovations conference, we had a breakout session where we posed the question “Do you know your cost per GB?” Of the 40 or so attendees at that session, not a single person raised their hand. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone was surprised by that non-reaction. Yet here we are claiming “I am the most efficient person in all the land”.

For those who know me, I am an avid fan of the show Shark Tank. I am always impressed by how well prepared the “Pitchers” are with being able to regurgitate their numbers- cost per unit, cost to ship, if we can get a bigger Purchase Order we can use a manufacturer that will drop the price per unit by $0.32. Why can’t our industry do the same? Do we care? Is the pricing model too convoluted? Is it impossible to calculate all the factors? Project Management, Software, Hardware, Storage, Technicians, to name a few. Everyone states that pricing is a “Race to the Bottom,” so there is more pressure on companies involved with hosting to be as aggressive as possible on pricing.

But if efficiency is truly important and a market differentiator, shouldn’t it be emphasized from the top down? When speaking with Chief Officers, Directors and others involved with the bottom line they are interested in how to become efficient. Experience tells us, that’s where the discussion stops. When a company is looking to evaluate a new solution, tool or workflow, the details are usually handed off to an analyst of some sort to go through a spreadsheet of some “374” line items of features they must test. Rarely in my experience have I seen a spreadsheet like this contain something associated with “efficiency.” More importantly, if the analyst decrees that the solution they are evaluating doesn’t have “27” items they want then that solution is deemed a non-solution. But wait, what if a solution allowed you to gain 32% more efficiency overall and those items deemed as non-starters only pertain to 6% of your projects. Does the 32% efficiency on the 94% outweigh the 6%? Do you have a way to calculate that information? Shouldn’t it be weighed? Does the analyst have any guidance as to how to measure that?

I was talking to a CTO just a few weeks back after Legal Week in New York, and we were both lamenting the perception that our industry is so unique we can’t treat our businesses like others outside our industry. Business is business is business, and if you don’t know your numbers, how can you make decisions on pricing, staffing, ROI, TCO? How do you teach your staff about the importance of efficiency? Data sizes are not going down, but pricing is. Wouldn’t the ultimate goal be to do more with the same? With outsiders starting to take an active interest in the direction of eDiscovery maybe it’s time to start paying attention to more than the top line revenue and EBITDA alone. And for some, how do you get an offer from one of the Sharks?

A day in the life of Ipro Support

Ipro Tech’s Support team is more than just a group of people doing a job. We collaborate, encourage each other, and have fun along the way. Our support team is there when a client needs us whether for a complicated challenge or just to answer a quick question. Our work starts and ends with a simple phone call, but much goes on behind the scenes to deliver that level of service. Here’s a peek into the day to day reality and what it takes to get the job done.

As a team, we operate from 5 AM to 7 PM MST/AZ, so our shifts are sprinkled throughout the day to maintain coverage of all phone queues. Our team is made up of Technical Support Engineers, Escalation Engineers, and a select number of elite members, now referred to as the SWAT (Special Workflows and Technology) team.

While our team isn’t massive, we are sized well to handle the volumes, consistently maintaining around 2 dozen support representatives in the phone queue. The work climate is relaxed, but focused, with bouts of intense troubleshooting weaving through the open air of the department. Many times, clusters of team members huddle around a computer to help a peer troubleshoot a client’s challenge because we all want to learn and contribute our knowledge. Even the newest members of the Ipro Support group become well acquainted with the entire team after only a couple weeks due to the amount of interaction and collaboration. We each share our experiences to ensure the best outcome for our clients.

Everyone plays a part in keeping the team operating smoothly and we all wear many hats. There are hats for maintaining the test rack environments, moderating the Ipro Community forum, training team members to take on more responsibilities, creating useful software utilities, updating organizational tools, or just being an install guru or software expert. It is important to our team to ensure the customer is comfortable and knowledgeable about the software and always know we are there to assist with any level of question.

We arrive for work, hop into the phone queue, build comradery as we rely on each other, play with Sparky when she trots around, and enjoy Pizza Thursday and Popsicle Friday together. We work past scheduled hours, meet on weekends for extra training, and generally have a good time working in a call center that really doesn’t feel like a call center at all.

It takes someone special and talented to be a part of this team. It isn’t always easy, but we learn so much along the way and love sharing our knowledge with our customers. We are committed to the success of our customers and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure an awesome Ipro experience.

How Secure is your (Technology) World?

We’ve all seen the headlines of breach after breach of big corporations, such as Target and Yahoo. Perhaps the most alarming was the Equifax breach in late 2017 affecting 145M customers, the full impact of which is still yet to be determined. Rightfully so, cyber attacks like this keep our personal and professional security top of mind.

As legal industry professionals, the security of sensitive data is critical. We all know the confidentiality of document review for eDiscovery. A breach of information could potentially cause irreparable damage. Imagine hundreds of privileged documents for a high-profile client suddenly becoming public fodder (think, Sony’s epic email breach). Or the juicy details of a divorce proceeding, ahem, Tiger Woods, or even the strategy email exchanges between you and your client. Needless to say, these scenarios would produce a devastating outcome.

So, what can we do to protect data in this age of cyber hackers? One major consideration is to move to the Cloud. Cloud-based technology offers a variety of defenses against electronic breaches of information primarily by utilizing robust auditing and encryption for sensitive data. In the eDiscovery world, using a cloud-based review tool not only gives you flexibility and contributes to a more efficient review, but it provides the necessary security to ensure the data in your care is safe.

Now that 2018 is under way and the looming compliance deadline of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) approaches, the responsibility to ensure adequate privacy and security has never been more critical than now, especially if your needs require data-sharing with large corporations at risk for security breaches.

On a personal level, consider storing important and sensitive documents in the Cloud. Avoid the hacker hangout of public WiFi. Use complex password conventions. Be leery of unsolicited emails asking for private information or links to click. Use two-factor authentication whenever available. Keep your computer systems updated. Finally, monitor, monitor, monitor- your bank accounts, credit accounts, and credit reports. Vigilance, both personally and professionally, is the best defense against a cyber attack.

For more information about Ipro’s cloud-based technology, click here.