Using High-Impact Litigation to Expose Flaws in the Criminal Justice System

Their Story

Civil Rights Corps (CRC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice within the American legal system. To “resensitize” society regarding the everyday brutalities of the American legal system, CRC supports challenges in four areas of litigation:

  • The money bail system
  • The criminalization of poverty
  • Prosecutorial misconduct
  • Protecting the integrity of indigent defense

As a small litigation shop, CRC had historically partnered with large law firms, relying on their ediscovery tools. However, that all changed in 2018 when the organization took on a complicated case involving the Tennessee misdemeanor probation system. With thousands of files to review and no partners with access to ediscovery software, the CRC team began searching for a solution that would allow their small staff to meet an enormous challenge.

The Challenge

With more than 300,000 documents to review, the CRC team found themselves in the “ediscovery dark ages.” This fact-laden case demanded an intensive search through thousands of files to uncover evidence that would prove how the private probation system violated the constitutional rights of their clients.

With multiple defendants, a complicated set of facts, and many elements needing confirmation, the fact-gathering process involved reviewing thousands of files. CRC needed a solution that enables seamless collaboration amongst a team working towards a common goal.

While searching for platforms that met their needs, CRC reviewed four different systems and eventually decided on Everlaw. Investigative Supervisor Alison Horn described how easy CRC’s decision was, “Compared to competitors, Everlaw offers so much more functionality and just blew others out of the water.”

The Everlaw Solution

The Everlaw platform enabled CRC to present damning evidence showing how the private probation system was violating the constitutional rights of people on probation. Everlaw’s robust investigative functions allowed CRC’s lean team to unearth mountains of evidence by quickly searching through thousands of files. The team used Storybuilder to track the most critical documents across three defendants, collaborate virtually, and successfully prepare for depositions.

Due to the complicated nature of the case, the CRC team kept a separate Project Story for each defendant, using the Drafts function in Storybuilder to collect documents that were specifically used in the dispositive briefing. “Storybuilder is great at keeping everyone involved! Everyone can see a Draft, embed things, and write collaboratively in one place. It makes the process a lot more intuitive when going over documents with our clients,” said Lily Bou, Policy Associate.

Utilizing a streamlined way to reveal the truth, the CRC team was able to attach 95 exhibits to their briefing motion to summary judgment. “I can’t imagine what that would have been like if we didn’t have the investigative functions of Everlaw,” said Horn. “We have a lot of Everlaw fans here.”

The Results

Since the private probation case, CRC’s use of Everlaw has expanded rapidly to over 200GB of data on the platform. The team has now used Everlaw in eight cases across seven states to weed through files, identify potential witnesses, and pull out their unique stories. The Everlaw solution has saved CRC months of manual review time and tens of thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of data they had to sift through by 50%.

With civil rights litigation brought by plaintiff-side counsel, the defendants hire law firms with endless resources and try to bury you with documents that a small staff can’t possibly handle. However, Everlaw has given us the ability to hold our own, so we know the facts just as well as they do.”

— Alison Horn, Investigative Supervisor for CRC

To find out how Everlaw can provide a simple yet sophisticated solution to your document review needs, email contact@everlaw.com.