Predictive Coding in the Legal Discovery Process
In the last several months, predictive coding technology has evolved from a fanciful presentation topic for legal conferences and industry events to an important discovery tool that is rapidly gaining acceptance in courtrooms.
This shift can be attributed in large part to the publicity (good and bad) surrounding the two current cases (Da Silva Moore and Kleen Products) in which federal district courts are considering discovery proposals that rely in large part on predictive coding strategies. Both cases clearly demonstrate the necessity of partnering with trusted experts who can develop a predictive coding solution that satisfies the requirements of a specific matter. Unfortunately, many such experts are limited in the range of solutions they offer. That is because they are basically “captive” vendors for a single predictive coding solution based either on past experience or existing software relationships.
Predictive Coding Solutions and E-Discovery Vendors
While the legal foundation for using predictive coding may still be muddy, it is clear that counsel needs trusted experts to help them navigate this new territory. In many cases, software vendors are experts in their preferred technologies and can provide valuable services in constructing and implementing predictive coding solutions.
However, the reality is that when a party is limited to a single technology, a consultant’s recommendations are undoubtedly influenced by the functionality of their chosen software. Conversely, a partner who is “technology agnostic”(i.e., free of preconceived notions about the “right” software) can survey competing technologies, evaluate their respective benefits and applicability within the context of a specific matter, and then propose a predictive coding solution that is customized based on the matter’s specific requirements and-risk tolerance levels.
Evaluating Predictive Coding Tools
The credentials necessary to objectively recommend multiple predictive coding tools do not come easily. They require that prospective partners get their hands dirty in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of competing tools. They have to test the tools to the point of mastering them before deciding to integrate them into a document review process. Just as importantly, your partner must understand the right level of automation for each matter based on its budget and your (perceived) risk levels and consider:
- What is the best tool to quickly find critical information?
- Will this tool also allow me to cut the cost while maintaining or improving quality?
- What level of automation is appropriate given the risk tolerance of the client?
- Once I have decided on a proposed strategy using a specified tool and level of automation, what steps do I need to take to defensibly document the process for presentation to the court and opposing counsel?
- How can I prove that the quality of the automated document review is the same or better than it would have been in a traditional, human review?
DiscoverReady Electronic Discovery
Since 2007, DiscoverReady has quietly helped our clients navigate the long, winding road to automated review. We have mastered a range of third party predictive coding solutions that we can deploy as appropriate based on the needs of our clients, including a variety of tools such as Relativity and Equivio>Relevance. While we do not sell predictive coding software, we have built our proprietary i-Decision® process to combine the three most critical elements of electronic discovery — people, process and technology.
Word is getting around. In the past month, DiscoverReady has been identified as a leading predictive coding technology provider by ComplexDiscovery and nominated as one of the “Nation’s best predictive coding solutions” in the 2012 Best of National Law Journal readers’ ranking. This nomination is based in our commitment to devising the best solution for our clients using a wide range of available predictive coding software and solutions.
We are flattered by the recognition. But most rewarding of all is helping our clients develop the right e-discovery strategy to achieve their goals.