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2021 Ediscovery Trends: Influence of Speed and Automation on Cost

by Everlaw

A view of Everlaw software on a laptop computer, displaying an overview of assignments

The past year accelerated change within the legal industry that generally would take a lot longer. To help bring clarity to this mass upheaval, we’ve trying to understand how our customers are using the Everlaw platform and what that potentially means for the legal industry.

In case you missed it: in part one of our 2021 ediscovery trends blog series, we explored the increased importance of effective collaboration and security for Everlaw users. We’ll cover how speed and automation are impacting costs for legal teams across industries for this post.

Automated processes in ediscovery improve predictability and efficiency by reducing the likelihood of human error, which can cause delays and dependence on outside vendors to prioritize case-specific requests. With automation, legal professionals can get things done reliably and on time without the need to communicate uncertainty on timelines for client requests. The industry is taking note, with 84% of law firms planning to increase their technology budget.

Everlaw automates and streamlines the ediscovery process, from data upload and processing to search, review, and production. We’ve created a proprietary ediscovery technology that enables intuitive self-service and have designed every aspect with our end users in mind. The Everlaw platform automates tasks that previously required human intervention, resulting in increased accuracy, increased predictability, and reduced cost.

80% Faster Processing Speeds

In 2020, Everlaw’s processing system speeds increased by 80% from prior speeds. Everlaw’s high-speed processing engine handles up to 900,000 documents per hour while simultaneously performing error handling, deduplication, deNISTing, OCR, foreign language detection, hashing, and imaging. The 2020 metrics show that our proprietary processing engine deduplicated 68% of native uploads upon ingestion, which tells us that users have saved significant amounts of time not reviewing duplicative information.

The Everlaw platform also automatically updates email threading and search indexing as part of this process, which in other platforms would normally be additional, discrete tasks that an administrator would need to initiate manually. Ultimately, Everlaw’s automation and speed eliminate the lag time between the initial document upload and review.

180% Faster Review Speeds with Auto-Code

Auto-code rules on Everlaw allow a project administrator to set rules to automatically propagate coding decisions made by reviewers to other documents in a specified context, such as duplicates, family members, or email threads. This drives consistency, expedites the review process, and increases confidence in the quality of coding decisions. In 2020, there was a 38% increase in auto-code rules created, meaning that more Everlaw clients took advantage of the time and quality benefits of auto-code rules for their cases.

With document review accounting for 70% of ediscovery spend, review speed is crucial to keeping costs down and saving time. Everlaw’s baseline review speed of 86 documents/hour is 72% faster than the industry standard of 50 documents/hour. Auto-code review speeds on Everlaw are 140 documents/hour, which is 180% faster than the industry standard. Increasing review speed from 50 to 140 documents/hour allows users to cut review time in half and reduce the overall project budget by 33%.

Cellebrite Collections

We live in a mobile world. 46% of legal professionals reported that 50–100% of cases involved discovery of data from mobile devices or collaboration apps. Although modern discovery projects often involve collecting and reviewing mobile data, most ediscovery platforms lack the functionality to view mobile data directly on the platform, instead requiring the use of third-party applications. In response to this challenge, Everlaw introduced Cellebrite support for easily ingesting and viewing exports so that users can review mobile data directly on the platform without spending the time or money on purchasing and integrating third-party plug-ins. Using Cellebrite collections, Everlaw customers can view short-form messages, such as texts and chats, in a conversational format that closely resembles their native format.

Automatic Transcription

Audio and Video (A/V) transcription on Everlaw is fully automatic. Upon uploading A/V files, Everlaw creates fully searchable transcripts that can be viewed alongside the built-in media player. Additionally, time-stamped, searchable notes can be added during review. This enables reviewers to utilize search against the text of A/V files and incorporate that text into predictive coding models, significantly reducing the cost of transcription services and providing an instant window into previously opaque information. In 2020, Everlaw automatically transcribed 38,276 hours from 1,486,953 files, 81% of which were audio files and 16% of which were video files. Assuming an average transcription cost of $1.25 per minute, this is equivalent to over $2.87 million in savings.

The visual search query builder allows users to stack and nest metadata and other document property fields to easily construct complex searches. Everlaw’s search, which leverages Lucene indexing, returns results in a median time of 16 milliseconds, even including searches across millions of documents or with the most complex search strings.

Everlaw automatically updates indexes on the back end, removing the need to constantly build and update indexes due to rolling data loads. Rerunning search indexes are a thing of the past since hit count updates get automatically reflected in search term reports.

Saving Time and Money with Spreadsheet, Pattern, and Metadata Redactions

Everlaw eliminates the manual drudgery of converting large spreadsheets into images and then redacting individual cells by allowing our users to make redactions directly within native spreadsheet files. Redacting the same term across many documents is as easy as selecting the documents in question, identifying the words, phrases, or patterns in question (e.g., personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), and payment card industry (PCI)), and applying that selection.

In 2020, users applied over 440,000 native spreadsheet redactions across all projects and, on average, applied 4,229 redactions per project. Everlaw released a new workflow for redacting metadata, including Everlaw-generated metadata redaction suggestions. Users applied almost 12,000 suggested metadata redactions in 2020.

Are you interested in learning about 2021 ediscovery trends? Download our report, “Stepping into 2021: Ediscovery Trends and Insights,” to find out more.