Is Ediscovery Getting Easier?

Technology in Practice: The Blog

Posted by Jennifer Johnson

Mar 7, 2016 4:30:00 AM

As Canadian law firms make the leap to next generation technology, there is a desire to balance the requirements of their average cases with the need for advanced technology that will allow them to position themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This puts more pressure on technology decisions than ever before.

We sat down with Kim Taylor, COO and President of Ipro, to find out what his predictions are for the ediscovery industry, and to gain first-hand insight into how their ever-evolving suite of tools may satisfy and influence our marketplace.

Q: Kim, your 24 years of experience in the industry is largely on the vendor side. How has this informed the development of Ipro’s product suite over the past 3 ½ years?

A: People in the service side of ediscovery have a crazy life filled with long hours, frustration, and many lonely nights processing or quality checking work product. Over the years, I have missed many of my kids’ soccer matches or dance recitals either because I was at work or on the phone serving our clients. Ediscovery professionals truly deserve a medal, or better yet a software solution that can solve the business problems that drains their time. Wearing service shoes for so many years has been invaluable in helping Ipro build better software. It is not only what drives me but many of the people at Ipro who have shared the same experience.

Our newest release called ADD Automated Digital Discovery, is an automated and highly scalable workflow platform. It was designed based on the lessons learned by being in those trenches. It is our goal to give people their lives back, while improving the quality of their work product and helping to reduce the costs of ediscovery. With the release of ADD, the company is delivering on its {i-proclamation} – that simple, affordable and automated ediscovery should be the expected norm. The patent-pending technology was designed to streamline the ediscovery process by removing the many starts and stops, which required constant human interaction. With ADD once you have the case templates configured upfront, all you have to do is add more data.

If you haven’t seen it, contact Commonwealth Legal to set up a demo!

Q: There are a number of products out there claiming to do what the other more established tools do. What should clients be paying attention to in their evaluation process?

A: Our industry is seeing the rise of a number of new ediscovery cloud software companies that say they are easier. I applaud the introduction of these new companies. It shows our industry is growing. The cloud is an efficient way to deliver software. That’s why we offer it as an option. However, the cloud in of itself doesn’t solve pervasive customer challenges.

Whether from the cloud or installed behind a firewall, other solutions are still relying on yesterday’s approach of breaking data into chunks, manual QC, manual processing, etc. With ADD’s data streaming and automation, we are removing those time consuming starts and stops, which affects everything from processing time to chances of errors. It also takes advantage of templates that are created up front as well as having built systems to mimic or replace the constant need for supervision or technical expertise babysitting the data. Frankly we are putting the much needed tribal knowledge into the software and allowing litigation professionals to focus on more important work.

To solve customers’ hardest problems in a meaningful way, ediscovery software providers have to offer more than just a pretty UI and hope their customers don’t notice superficial feature sets or less than stellar results from processing. It has to be the full package. Ediscovery is hard. To solve the hardest problems in ediscovery, you need a team that has “been there and done that.” Or to put it another way, you must ensure it’s simple, affordable and automated for your clients.

Q. What challenges are subsiding as the technology evolves?

A: Historically, our industry has met the massive growth of data with complicated and disconnected workflows. Ipro has been working hard to solve the toughest ediscovery challenges by decreasing processing time, preventing errors from happening, reducing the human capital requirements and lowering customers’ overall costs. Our solution requires less time and people to focus on tedious, mundane tasks, which delivers higher quality work product and lower costs. We have the workflow and data expertise with the necessary software tools to make it happen.

Q: So many clients are hesitant to take the plunge and commit to one product. Other than features, what should our clients be considering?

A: You need to have confidence in the company too. Ipro has been one of the industry’s most trusted litigation software developers since 1989. Our worldwide network of leading law firms, litigation service bureaus, corporations, and government agencies rely on our applications to address every stage of the litigation lifecycle efficiently and cost-effectively.

While Ipro has changed over the years, one thing has remained constant: our commitment to our family of customers, employees, and partners who help make us successful. At Ipro we have some of the best talent in the legal industry. Ipro’s employees – from senior management to development – have significant case and service provider experience, with a thorough understanding of edscovery best practices and the importance of efficient workflows.

Q: How is Ipro’s technology helping to speed up the delivery of relevant documents into the hands of subject matter experts?

A: Can you imagine getting data and before you’re even done copying it to your network documents are visible in your review system?

While other systems require large data sets to be processed before lawyers can begin looking at the documents to determine relevancy, ADD has unleashed the power of automation and streaming data by eliminating batches so data no longer has to wait for users to check it. Batches are broken apart, but the chain of custody for all data is tracked throughout. Data is copied, verified and processed at the folder or container level simultaneously while filters such as date ranges, file types and de-duplication methods are applied automatically. With ADD, litigation data now has the ability to move along each stage without having to wait for human interaction and can be streamed into a document review system before a review team is even assembled. ADD is built for scale and can accommodate significant growth without effecting its performance or automation gains.

Q: Do you see the market stabalizing as we approach 2020?

A: 2020? Whew! I was asked something similar while being interviewed by ALM at LegalTech this year, and I think it is because of the perceived uncertainty everyone is looking for some insight. My opinion on this is really based upon the 24 years I have been in this industry.

The industry has always been evolving and under constant flux. However, it does feel like it is changing more now than ever before. This is why it is very important to pick a company that has stood the test of time, that continues to innovate and push the boundaries of automation, workflow, quality, speed, simplicity and overall cost reduction. It is also just as important to pick companies that have forged strong relationships with a partnership where they have successfully navigated turbulent waters together over a very long period of time. Ipro and Commonwealth Legal have done just that for over 15 years. Together we make a great team that gives our customers the confidence that they are in good hands for now and into the future.

Q: So, how is Ipro making ediscovery easier and more affordable?

A: In my opinion, easier and affordable go hand and hand. Ediscovery is hard and requires a great deal of resources to do it right. We have analyzed the entire process to uncover inefficiencies and areas that require a great deal of hardware, time or specialized people. I also think it starts with our mindset about the process. It is our belief this is one big data factory and we have to treat it as such. Every factory in the world has a well-defined workflow process coupled with automation, checks and balances and metrics to ensure things go as planned. By having this holistic approach we can have huge impacts on the overall outcome including quality and costs. Let me give you some examples:

We have templates that can be configured at the beginning of the case and can be utilized throughout the process ensuring consistency and allowing the data to flow through to review.

Once someone maps the custodians and hit the ‘Go’ button the data will be copied, verified, processed, filtered, and loaded into Eclipse or other review tools with no starts and stops along the way.

In review we automatically index the new data and apply keywords again without human intervention or starts and stops. But it doesn’t stop there. When you do a production we automatically look for possible privilege documents and do an extensive quality control check analyzing the production making sure families are not broken, or missing files to name a few.

We also include analytics in Eclipse, which is a huge cost savings. You no longer have to make a case by case decision to do technology assisted review or the many other benefits of analytics like near email threading, near duplicates, clustering, categorization, etc.

Additionally we’ve made our licensing module super flexible, where any client can rent or burst their licenses by the hour, by the week or by the month. We truly want to make it easy for customers to be able adjust for the peak periods of work, without breaking the bank the rest of the year. Another great benefit is MyIpro. We built a client portal for all of our customers to have one place to go for everything Ipro. We have best practices document, videos, specification, downloads and even an area where you can see what new features and even what bugs we’re currently working on. It is our goal to empower our customers to have everything they need at their fingertips.

This is a lengthy answer but you can tell we have a lot of great things going on here at Ipro. I almost feel like I am doing one of the info-commercials saying it will slice, dice and even make your coffee for you in the morning!

My recommendation is for you to come to our Innovations conference in Scottsdale, AZ from April 25-27, 2016. It’s free to attend and you will get to see what the next year’s roadmap looks like while rubbing elbows with other folks who use our software.

Great insight from a true leader of our industry. Special thanks to Kim Taylor for taking time out of his day to share his vision and give us a glimpse into what’s ahead with Ipro.