“One of the most persistent challenges of conducting litigation in the era of digital information” is “the costs of complying with discovery requests, particularly the costs of review,” according to Where the Money Goes: Understanding Litigant Expenditures for Producing Electronic Discovery, a recent study by the RAND Corporation Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ). In this study, the ICJ gathered data for the cost of various phases of e-discovery, including collecting electronically stored information (ESI); the automatic processing of that ESI; and reviewing it. After analyzing that data, the ICJ found that, by far, the review of documents for responsiveness, relevance and privilege was the most expensive component of document production, accounting for a whopping 73 percent of the costs.
Therefore, choosing the right tools for document review can make a critical difference in the success – and the bottom line – of the review. Particularly when working with a large review, a looming deadline or a data set that requires extensive searching and culling, the review platform chosen, as well as the e-discovery provider selected to deploy it, can dramatically affect not only the accuracy and defensibility of the results but also the expense of the process.
When choosing e-discovery platforms for major e-discovery projects, Relativity by kCura consistently ranks as one of the best on the market. The power behind this platform lies in its flexibility and opportunities for customization. To extend the benefits of kCura’s software, Relativity Amplified by Applied Discovery adds unique and powerful efficiencies. Building on Relativity’s core functionality, Applied Discovery provides advanced customizations to feature sets and views, enhanced reporting and tracking, custom review workflows, and virtually limitless infrastructure scalability while still providing the highest levels of security and world-class project management. Below are just some of the reasons why Applied Discovery’s Relativity offering helps clients achieve their discovery goals.
Customizable e-discovery platform. Relativity is a flexible, highly customizable platform. Applied Discovery has automated certain feature sets to assist with different types of data, review and production requirements. If clients need a customized solution for a project, Applied Discovery’s architects and engineers can implement requests on the fly.
Applied Discovery has also incorporated a number of customized client portals. These include a project management portal, which maintains a record of action items and their owners and of historical references for decisions made on the project, such as production specifications, new load task items, and ongoing and one-off requests. The early case assessment portal allows clients to cull irrelevant data by domain and see visualizations of data over a timeline; additionally, it allows for search term refinement and reporting on hit counts as well as by custodian and by search term. Finally, the production portal provides summary reports by Bates range and custodian, allows for customized slip sheets for withheld documents or those produced in native or other formats, and provides an interface for privilege log generation and other reporting on produced documents.
Advanced technology-assisted review process flows and workflows. As mentioned in the ICJ’s report, several studies have shown that technology-assisted review, also known as predictive coding, produces results that are at least as consistent as, if not more consistent than, human review. Moreover, its ability to reduce the time and thus cost associated with review is substantial. Applied Discovery’s extensive experience in complex document reviews allows it to set up review batches to maximize the benefits of this tool. Additionally, Applied Discovery offers heightened visibility into the results of Relativity Assisted Review. After running categorization on documents, clients can actually see the original seed document and its tag in the relational document review pane that caused the system to categorize each group of documents in a certain way, rather than sifting manually through the detailed overturn report spreadsheet.
Applied Discovery has also streamlined predictive coding using already-coded documents by creating a script that will identify the document that was originally coded rather than including documents that were coded by mass editing or field propagation to include as part of the seed set. For example, if a previous document set has been tagged by family group, the technology-assisted review engine not only makes decisions based on the sole responsive member of the family but also considers the content of the rest of the nonresponsive family members due to the individual tag. These over-inclusive documents can affect the reliability of a tagging set and slow the pace of the review. To remedy this problem, Applied Discovery has created a custom workflow that identifies which documents were tagged responsive within a family group and feeds those documents to the system while excluding nonresponsive family members.
Automated data tracking. In its Relativity offering, Applied Discovery has integrated a complete data tracking system that provides complete visibility into data collections. With Applied Discovery’s custodian and media tracking, the collection dates of the material and the culling methodologies and filtering terms used prior to ingestion are at clients’ fingertips. Applied Discovery has also linked all of this information to each document in the review database.
Rapid production turnaround. Automatic imaging based on responsive and potentially responsive documents means quicker turnaround times when the trigger is pulled for a production. This improves clients’ timelines without the need to image the entire database – saving the cost of hosting nonresponsive data.
World-class security infrastructure. As one of the rare discovery providers that began as a software company – not a paper copy vendor - Applied Discovery provides a robust, highly secure infrastructure that has been tested on some of the largest discovery matters in history. Applied Discovery’s stringent security controls exceed those required by the most heavily regulated financial industry clients. These measures include physical security, such as backup power, custom design and environmental controls; network security, such as access controls, encryption and identification/vulnerability management; data security and disaster recovery measures; enterprise-level hardware; redundant databases; a dedicated server farm with 140-plus agent workers; a dedicated import/export server for loading data into Relativity; and distributed servers for extra power. Applied Discovery’s in-house engineers and IT staff provide support and address custom requirements 24/7.
Industry-leading scalability. A typical challenge for many discovery providers handling large projects is ensuring that Relativity can scale to handle extensive volumes of data in a short time frame. Applied Discovery’s IT team is experienced in creating the ideal setup to maximize Relativity’s scalability. In short, Applied Discovery’s systems leverage the latest technology, which enables the company to process data faster and guarantee unparalleled uptime.
Unmatched flexibility. Applied Discovery has the capability to customize Relativity databases to meet the needs of any project. For example, in a recent project involving a large second request under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, roughly half of the data was in a foreign language. Applied Discovery successfully integrated a process that can insert machine translation for the purpose of review and production. Furthermore, a layer of human translation was added where necessary, linking all of the data together in the same database.
Seasoned experts. Though the Relativity platform is available from various service providers, their levels of talent, service and experience vary widely. Choose a company with a proven ability to solve problems and a reputation for outstanding service. Applied Discovery’s experts have from five to more than fifteen years of litigation and investigation experience, much of it working with AmLaw 100 law firms and in Fortune 500 legal departments. Their expertise helps clients assess projects and develop tailored solutions. The team includes in-house development resources, data collection and forensic experts, a full-service export and production team, and skilled engineers and IT support.
Applied Discovery also offers a deeply experienced bench of project managers – all with backgrounds in law and technology – who work side by side with clients to ensure the success of a project. Project managers assist with everything from defining the scope of a project to setting database protocols to planning and implementing managed review services. In addition, clients rely on Applied Discovery discovery consultants to build the best workflow to achieve their goals based on the consultants’ years of experience with similar projects.
Rigorous quality control. Applied Discovery has a quality assurance team dedicated to ensuring the integrity, accuracy and quality of its work product by validating updates in a certification environment before rolling them out into the production environment. The company’s robust quality control process confirms that deliverables meet client specifications. Applied Discovery has also built an image quality control module that randomly samples file types to confirm that they are being converted to the proper format, and before production, the team verifies that all images in a collection are clear and readable.
In sum, not all e-discovery platforms are the same – and neither are the providers who offer them. Applied Discovery’s unparalleled experience in the e-discovery software industry, as well as its depth of expertise and ability to customize the Relativity platform, ensure that clients’ needs for accuracy, defensibility, and efficiency on projects of any size and budget are met.
Kelli Clark is the Vice President of Solutions and Services at Applied Discovery. In this role, Ms. Clark oversees the design of solutions and services to clients in a value-added, consultative manner and supervises delivery by the company’s industry-leading project managers, business analysts and solution managers. Ms. Clark is an industry veteran who has overseen hundreds of large-scale e-discovery projects and managed client-services, consulting and technical teams. She has spoken on e-discovery topics at CLE courses and seminars throughout the United States and Europe, and she has been called upon to provide expert testimony regarding e-discovery procedures and best practices. Ms. Clark is also a guest lecturer in the E-Discovery Management Program at the University of Washington.