Saving Time, Cutting Costs And Achieving Litigation Objectives

Wednesday, December 1, 2004 - 01:00

The Editor interviews George S. Noga, President and CEO of Syngence, LLC, a company headquartered in Texas, that provides linguistic searching and document abstracting technology for law firms and corporations involved in litigation. He can be reached a gnoga@syngence.com.

Editor: How are documents typically searched today?

Noga: While a few companies still perform manual searches, many conduct computer-assisted searches. Most common is full-text searching, which is a great approach for simple searches based on names, dates and the like. Other more complex search engines do a very good job as well. These search engines primarily focus on narrowing a collection of documents into a smaller, more responsive set that can be downloaded into a document management system. While nothing is wrong with their process, there is a huge difference in how our technology works.

Rather than shrinking the haystack, we are focused on finding the needle in the haystack. Our Synthetixª technology helps to find the incriminating or supporting verbiage within emails or other documents upon which a case will turn.

Editor: How do Synthetix searches contrast with full-text searches?

Noga: With full-text searches the user has to identify exactly what words occur in the documents (e.g., "apple AND pear") which can result in missing responsive documents. The alternative is to do an overly expansive search (e.g., "apple OR pear") resulting in large numbers of marginally relevant documents. In contrast, the Synthetix technology allows for free-form searches. An attorney can type in text describing a concept or a description of evidence important to the case and then use that text as the basis for a search for similar linguistic patterns. The lawyer could also select a textual passage from a document in the database and use the selected text as the comparison text for a linguistic search - Synthetix technology enables the user to simply point-and-click to initiate the desired search. Synthetix then brings back pages that are exactly like or similar to the designated text and ranks them in terms of how closely they match the comparison text, which saves valuable review time.

The results of a Synthetix search can help with a variety of litigation tasks and processes, including:

  • Searching for duplicate or near-duplicate documents;

  • Reviewing redacted documents to avoid inadvertent disclosure of documents protected by the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine;

  • Conducting a spoliation audit; and

  • Consolidating e-mail strings to understand communication patterns.

With Synthetix, no technical expertise is required for highly effective searching. For the first time even senior partners can perform important searches on their case data by themselves, whether they're researching issues alone at the office at two o'clock in the morning, or at trial or during depositions.

Editor: Please tell our readers why the Synthetix technology is attractive to law firms and corporate legal departments.

Noga: As we were constructing our technology, we noticed that law firms and companies today have some very good document management systems in place. We worked with two of the top providers to integrate our system into the newest releases in their systems. As a result, Synthetix is seamlessly integrated into both Concordance 8.0 and iCONECT 4.1 and will soon be integrated with the upcoming iCONECTnxt.

Integration of our products allows a broad swath of the market to use our technology. Basically a point-and-click technology, it is very, very easy to use and very little training is needed to achieve highly precise results. Its simplicity of use adds to its attractiveness.

The technology is also attractive because it helps litigators to save time and reduce costs. One example involves a Fortune 100 company that had about 5 million pages in an existing web-hosted database and about 10-15 million additional pages that needed to be processed. The company chose to use our technology to process the documents and consolidate all the data into their existing Concordance database management system. The combination of Synthetix and Concordance searching enabled outside counsel to complete their search in record time. Very pleased, the litigators said, "We didn't waste time trying to determine if we were being consistent because of your technology's capabilities for reviewing email threads through multiple copies and multiple versions of documents."

Another part of the value proposition has to do with gaining strategic advantage. When seeing how Synthetix is used, both in-house and outside counsel get very excited because they see a way they can gain the information needed to construct their defense or attack. There is not anything in their database that they cannot get to very quickly and comprehensively. When time is of the essence, it gives them a significant advantage against the competition.

Editor: Where can our readers learn more about the Syngence technology?

Noga: Rapidly adopted by law firms and in-house legal departments, our technology is being used by 25 of the country's top 100 law firms and by a growing number of Fortune 100 companies. I anticipate a continued rapid adoption of our technology through 2005. Organizations with large collections of electronic and paper documents are finding our technology very attractive and cost effective. To learn more, your readers can visit our website at www.syngence.com.