What is litigation support?
Litigation support services assist lawyers in preparing for and prosecuting cases. There is a wide range of types of litigation support services—including legal research, determination of facts and forensic accounting. Litigation support software plays an important role as electronic discovery has become more prevalent, given the increasing number and variety of documents in digital formats.
Litigation support helps attorneys filter relevant information and focus on the key facts needed to move forward in cases or document production. A litigation support team can identify preliminary data, precedent and legal research relevant to the case, which attorneys can use to determine strategy.
Litigation support technology helps attorneys manage cases. Litigation support software enables review administrators to create databases for quickly sorting large amounts of data required to prepare for trials. Litigation support professionals understand the litigation discovery process. Some support staff can serve in both paralegal and information technology roles.
Litigation support and ediscovery
Ediscovery has become an essential part of the litigation support industry because of the massive amount of electronically stored information (ESI) in the digital era. Today’s exponential increase in data also increases the risk that key evidence will be overlooked in the review process. Litigation support for ediscovery can also include raw data and metadata for review of hidden evidence. The cost to analyze more and more data is growing. Litigation support software in ediscovery lets lawyers gather all the electronic information relevant to a case with reasonable cost.
Most data stored in a digital or electronic format is now subject to discovery, which includes email, video, images, spreadsheets, PDF files and databases. Litigation support technology is important because ediscovery now happens in nearly every legal case. This adds process and costs that litigation support tools can mitigate, especially when dealing with massive amounts of digital data.
Many attorneys who are not recent law school graduates find litigation support for ediscovery new and challenging when they are not adept in computer technology. Vendors and platforms that specialize in litigation support technology fill the gap.
Litigation support technology
Litigation support technology organizes the information in a legal case. It manages electronic data in its native form and organizes copies of electronic data. It focuses on tasks such as digital forensics and web-based document review.
These services are provided by litigation support professionals, paralegals, third-party vendors and litigation support software platforms.
Litigation support technology includes a number of software applications including database applications, processing tools, special document viewers, and predictive coding technology. A litigation support expert knows when to apply legal technology during the ediscovery process. They also apply standards for the discovery of digital data from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and process guidance such as the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM).
A key benefit of litigation support technology is the ability to use technology in the courtroom to make an impression on the jury.
Types of litigation support
Litigation support tools are varied and include legal research, document management, determination of the extent of damages and documentation of facts and precedents.
Litigation support document management
The storage, search and retrieval of legal documents and evidence. Document management systems are essential for cases that require the compiling databases of scanned documents in short deadlines and when handling multiple cases with large amounts of data. Software-based litigation support document management can reduce costs by creating databases that can quickly expand and contract based on the volume of data in a given case.
As the world’s information becomes increasingly digital, litigation support has become more focused on electronic discovery in digital formats. Ediscovery is the process of obtaining all electronically stored information related to a case, which may include email, video, social media, spreadsheets and databases. Litigation support technology uses software to extract and analyze digital data for document review.
Forensic specialists provide litigation support by gathering and analyzing information in legal cases in a forensically sound way. Forensics experts recover data and ensure data integrity as it is collected and organized. Forensic specialists also specialize in the analysis of electronic data to detect, support or reconstruct the facts supporting a particular theory in a case (e.g., a financial fraud claim).
Case narrative building
Allows review teams to collaboratively curate the most important documents in a case. A chronology positions documents in relation to a timeline of events in the case. This makes it easier to create deposition, argument or case strategy outlines. It also assists in exhibit list management.
Technology assisted review
When cases have hundreds of thousands of digital documents that must be extracted from the cloud and servers around the world, technology assisted review (TAR) technology like predictive coding makes it possible to organize and analyze the documents. Predictive coding systems learn from existing review decisions to predict how a legal team will evaluate the remaining, unreviewed documents.
Litigation support industry trends
Litigation support services have evolved to include the services clients need to mitigate risk before, during and in the aftermath of litigation.
Litigation support systems increasingly include a combination of legal and technical expertise. This ensures collected data is both defensible and auditable. Beyond collecting and analyzing ediscovery documents, the litigation support industry includes experts who are qualified to testify about the data in court.
When standard technology assisted review (TAR) solutions aren’t robust enough to handle vast quantities of digital data, litigation support technology offers specialized software on litigation support platforms that can handle the data and meet deadlines while saving costs.
History of litigation support
Litigation support evolved from administrative and clerical work in law firms as legal case management became more complicated in the second half of the 20th Century with class action lawsuits and multi-million dollar cases.
The rise of intellectual property (IP) cases required deeper investigations that included forensic accountants and computer forensic experts. Patent, trademark and copyright infringement cases added to the complexities as cases became global. This called for more sophisticated and technical litigation support capabilities and case management.
The advent of digital formats and the cloud means today’s litigation support industry must rely on automated litigation support software programs that focus on ediscovery.
What types of litigation support does Everlaw offer?
Everlaw’s proprietary litigation support platform and its continuously-updated software improves workflows at every stage of case review and preparation. Everlaw’s litigation support technology uses analytics, specialized machine learning and data visualization to find the hidden details of reviewed documents. Everlaw’s litigation support software helps lawyers organize, search and analyze massive amounts of data to discover relevant underlying information.
Everlaw’s litigation support platform also lets lawyers collaborate securely with colleagues to seamlessly manage the end-to-end process of investigations or litigation. This improves the ability of lawyers to research and manage large legal cases, collaborate with other firms and corporate departments, and manage the costs.
Many leading law firms, corporations and all 50 US states’ attorneys general use Everlaw for litigation support. Learn more.