Cloud-based artificial intelligence and analytics technologies will be central to how corporate legal professionals handle increasing volumes and varieties of data.
With corporate data growing faster than organizations can keep up, in-house law department leaders are increasingly turning to powerful modern technologies to manage and protect enterprise ESI. In a recent Everlaw-hosted webinar, “Corporate Legal Trends in Purchasing, Deploying, and Adapting Ediscovery,” attorney and legal industry analyst Ari Kaplan joined three in-house legal experts to discuss the biggest ediscovery trends affecting their work and key solutions to their most pressing challenges, including choosing between cloud and legacy tools and the time-saving benefits of AI and analytics.* The discussion featured insights from:
Kimberly Quan, Senior Manager for Information Governance, Ediscovery & Digital Forensics at Juniper Networks
Linda Luperchio, Director of Information Governance, Ediscovery & Digital Forensics at The Hanover Insurance Group
Sonya Judkins, Senior Manager, Discovery and Compliance at T-Mobile
Even as technology increases the amount of data organizations must handle to an almost incomprehensible degree, innovative legal teams are finding ways to make it manageable through technology.
Embracing Artificial Intelligence in Ediscovery to Harness Information, Save Time
The convergence of different types of information and proliferation of data sources is putting AI and analytics front and center in the corporate legal toolkit.
Automating ediscovery workflows is one of the best ways to control costs.
But, AI has many different uses and part of the challenge is matching the right tool for a matter. Machine learning AI, for instance, is behind the predictive coding technology that has transformed ediscovery by enabling teams to vastly reduce the amount of reviewable data. And the use of smart labeling helps accelerate review times by suggesting the most relevant documents for review.
“It’s really important to be able to harness all of the information,” said Kimberly Quan, Senior Manager for Information Governance, Ediscovery & Digital Forensics at Juniper Networks. “It’s going to be impossible to do that manually with tools that don’t have AI.”
Quan said she’s seen benefits from using AI in the area of information security, using logs and tools that can assist in internal investigations and other matters. She’s also successfully used AI with unstructured data to create a narrative. “AI’s really ideal for that type of storytelling.”
“Ediscovery becomes incredibly expensive and unmanageable unless you can rein it in using AI,” noted Linda Luperchio, Director of Information Governance, Ediscovery & Digital Forensics at The Hanover Insurance Group. In a recent case, her team cut back the data set by over 90 percent to target just the documents they needed. “The best practice is don’t rule it out. It’s surprising how many places it fits.”
Pro Tip: Don’t rule AI out, as it has many uses, from data culling to storytelling.
Choosing Between Cloud or Legacy Ediscovery Tools
Safeguarding data ranks among the most important ediscovery software capabilities for corporate legal professionals.
With data volumes skyrocketing and lean legal teams doing more with less on tighter budgets, corporate legal departments are leaning into cloud technologies to help them scale their operations, reduce overall litigation spend, and accomplish more with less. (Learn more about how in-house legal teams view the advantages of cloud technology in the “2022 Ediscovery Innovation Report: Corporate Legal”)
While confidence in cloud-based ediscovery tools has been growing among in-house legal teams, corporate in-house leaders don’t make the decision between cloud and on-prem tools lightly.
Sonya Judkins, Senior Manager, Discovery and Compliance at T-Mobile, said that among the various factors to consider are data security and classifications. These are critical to figuring out where the data will be stored, who is storing it, how secure it is, and whether the team has access to it. Judkins, whose job it is to create data best practices and select the right repositories, said her approach is always with discovery commitments in mind.
“I’m always thinking of it with an end view of discovery,” Judkins said. “If I have to produce this, and if I have to go through searching it and mining for it, what is the easiest way, and what are my obligations?” If her company goes with a cloud provider, she also makes sure to have certain provisions and claw backs in the contract.
Luperchio said it’s also helpful to ask your vendors if the data is discoverable, and how. Does it make sense to pay to make it discoverable up front? The backend cost of collection and review of data that isn’t easily discoverable can be off the charts, she warned.
Pro Tip: Know your company data, and ask what happens if you have to mine for it during discovery.
Addressing Security Concerns
Quan at Juniper Networks said that it’s important to determine whether your company has the IT resources to make its own tools stronger and more secure than a third-party provider might. And once a company decides to go with a service provider, it’s critical to have strong vendor evaluation and onboarding processes.
“Every service provider or technology provider that we use goes through a stringent process where we investigate everything, and it’s more stringent depending on the types of data. If there’s going to be restricted, confidential, or PII data there’s a whole different level that we’re delving into,” Quan said.
“If you’re embracing the cloud, a lot of the providers are making it quite secure, and you put them through the paces. Otherwise you’re tasked with having your IT organization keep up with all the latest and greatest, and if that’s part of your business then perhaps it makes sense.”
Pro Tip: Put service and technology providers through their paces, to ensure that your data is secure.
Streamlining Workflows, Managing Costs
Keeping pace with exploding data volumes and new communication and collaboration tools is challenging under any circumstances, and more so with a remote or hybrid workforce.
The panelists agreed there is no magic wand to simplifying data management and ediscovery in a remote-first world.
But they also agreed that the ever-growing complexity of the digital world does not have to be unmanageable.
The most successful corporate legal teams know their data and approach cloud, AI, and other technologies strategically to streamline their work loads, save time and reduce costs.
For these and insights on other topics, including the evolving role of in-house discovery professionals and best practices for retaining and deleting data, watch “Corporate Legal Trends in Purchasing, Deploying, and Adapting Ediscovery” on-demand now.
*The opinions expressed in this article are those of the speakers, not their companies.