The billable hours conundrum has been a major pain point for legal teams across industries for some time now. A survey as far back as 2015 has reported that the average billable hours required of law firm associates was 1,892 per year overall. In many discovery contexts, the volume of documents is so great that it comes down to how well you can spend those hours — and that’s where automation can make a huge difference.
Automated processes in ediscovery improve predictability and efficiency by reducing the likelihood of human error, causing delays and dependence on outside vendors to prioritize case-specific requests. With automation, legal professionals can get things done reliably, on time, and without introducing timeline uncertainties for client requests.
The Relationship Between Ediscovery and Automation
Ediscovery services offered by vendors can act as a barrier to automation by decreasing the incentive to innovate — if they innovate, they won’t be able to bill more hours. This notion of billing more hours to the client as a measure of success further hinders the progression of automation developments in the realm of ediscovery.
Due in part to these barriers to automation introduced by services-first organizations, many law firms and corporations are taking ediscovery in-house, cutting out third-party professional services altogether. This recent trend toward capturing more billable work in-house means that efficiency and automation are becoming increasingly important.
As a software company, Everlaw has created a proprietary ediscovery technology that is entirely self-service and designed with the end users in mind. The Everlaw platform automates tasks that previously required human intervention, resulting in increased accuracy and predictability and reduced cost.
Early Ediscovery Tasks
The processes associated with the beginning of a project, such as data uploading, processing, and project setup, are often laborious. Everlaw enables users to easily create new projects and load their own documents to the platform with a self-service uploader, a fast ingestion processing engine, and project templates. These features automate previously manual and time-consuming tasks that bogged down users trying to get their ediscovery projects up and running.
At the start of a new case, setting up project settings and group permissions is often a painfully manual process. Not only do project administrators typically have to add users individually to the database, but they also have to configure specific user groups and associated permissions. A small hiccup may have extraordinary consequences in that a certain user may gain access to documents they should not be able to access.
Creating and configuring a new project on Everlaw is a simple, straightforward process. Project templates streamline project creation by allowing admins to automate the previously manual and time-consuming elements of the process. Templates help drive consistency across matters and ultimately save administrators a tremendous amount of time. Administrators can clone the general settings, specific objects, and administrative functionality, as well as include project users from previous cases as they start a new project on the platform.
Before lawyers can even start reviewing documents, they must upload data into the platform; however, that can be a bigger hassle than expected. Many ediscovery vendors require data to be shipped directly to them for it to be uploaded. This movement of physical media poses a security risk, as data in transit can be lost or even end up in the wrong hands, and creates a cumbersome process (i.e., dealing with chain of custody forms). In other cases, vendors may request data be transferred via file transfer applications like FileZilla that require specific configurations.
Everlaw’s self-service uploader has a directly accessible interface that allows reviewers to upload data into the Everlaw platform by simply dragging and dropping. This reduces delays by enabling users to add documents at their convenience, minimizes the complexity of dealing with FTP applications, and eliminates the costs and risks associated with mailing physical media.
Equally time-consuming is waiting for processing to finish error handling, deduping, deNISTing, OCR, and imaging all documents. Many ediscovery solutions do not have robust enough processing capabilities, so organizations must use a third-party vendor to handle the processing, adding even more time and effort to the process.
Everlaw has a high-speed processing engine, handling up to 900,000 docs per hour while simultaneously performing error handling, deduplication, deNISTing, OCR, audio transcription and language detection, and imaging. The platform automatically updates email threading and search indexing as part of this process, which would normally be divided into discrete tasks that an administrator would need to kick off in other platforms (e.g., Relativity). Ultimately, this speed eliminates the lag time between the initial document upload and review.
Are you interested in finding out more about how to leverage automation technology? Download your free copy of “Automating Ediscovery from Start to Finish with Everlaw” to learn more.