Today, more than ever, lawyers and law firms need technology to meet the evolving needs of clients
Despite the disruptions often involved in implementing new technologies, law firms and corporate legal departments now acknowledge that short term inconveniences prove valuable in the long term.
As legal costs rise and firms face increased competition, it’s crucial to integrate the right technology and ensure it meets your firm’s primary needs, offering you new ways to control expenses, improve the breadth and quality of research, and get the right data quickly.
This free industry session will provide you with valuable insights on how firms of all sizes utilise technology to be more efficient, allowing you to gain direction on how you also can mitigate costs while meeting the evolving needs of your clients.
Join a panel of leading experts from Epiq as they discuss:
Mallory: [00:00:00] Hello everyone and thanks for joining us today. I'm Mallory Hendry, senior content specialist with Canadian Lawyer magazine. And I'm very pleased to introduce today's webinar. How the Tech Can We Streamline Litigation Facing rising legal costs and increased competition, firms are looking to technology to gain efficiencies, and we have with us today industry experts who will provide insight into how firms of all sizes can mitigate costs while meeting the evolving needs of clients. So over the next hour, we're going to hear from Gretel Best, Manager at EpiQ Global. Stephanie Mills, eDiscovery and litigation case manager at Cassels Brock and Blackwell, and Abbas Najarali, Senior Director of Operations and managed services also at EpiQ. And at the end of the presentation, the panel will participate in a question and answer period. So be sure to type any questions you may have into the Q&A box that you can see there within the webinar software. I'll turn things over to our panelists now to begin the presentation. Take it away. Tiana.
Tiana: [00:01:06] Thank you so much. And I would like to open with a land acknowledgement. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Maty and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We're grateful for the traditional knowledge keepers and the elders who are still with us today and to those who have gone before us. So I welcome everybody to our How the Tech can we streamline litigation panel today? Very excited. I will in short order, I will turn it over to each panelist to give a quick background. But for an overview here, we're looking at this panel. Despite the disruptions that are often involved with implementing technology, most law firms and corporate legal departments acknowledge that there is a lot of benefit that can be gained, even though there are some short term inconveniences. Firms of all sizes are looking to be more efficient to control costs, to increase the breadth and quality of research, and to get the right data quickly and comprehensively. So now more than ever, legal technology is necessary to help prepare for and to streamline litigation. And I am thrilled to be joined by some of my favorite colleagues in the industry to talk a little bit about this. So I'm going to turn it over. Gretel, you're on my right. So do you mind going first and giving a really quick introduction?
Gretel: [00:02:21] Sure. Thanks, Tiana. Hi, everyone, and thank you for having me. My name is Gretel Best. I'm the manager of litigation and eDiscovery litigation support and discovery at Gowling. So we have a great team at Gowling. We provide eDiscovery and anything related to technology and litigation support to our clients and lawyers. And we are based out of Toronto and Calgary, but are gowling firms that are across Canada.
Tiana: [00:02:47] Thank you so much and Stephanie.
Stephanie: [00:02:50] Thanks. I'm really happy to be here with all of you guys today. And thanks for the attendees for joining along with us. I'm Steph Mills. I've been at Cassels for 13 years now. Throughout my tenure here, I've seen technology say give me and cause me some headaches at the same time. So having it in a streamlined process, which we are striving for every day here at Cassels, I'm happy to discuss this with all of you guys today, so I'm excited to be here and thanks for having me.
Tiana: [00:03:20] Thank you so much. And Abbas.
Abbas: [00:03:23] Hello, everyone. My name is Abbas. Naturally, I'm a senior director in our legal legal services group in EpiQ Canada. I oversee our eDiscovery operations and manage servicing services offerings in Canada. My background has been providing eDiscovery and litigation technology solutions to investigative and litigation needs for over 15 years in Canada with a very various different verticals and use cases.
Tiana: [00:03:49] Thank you very much, Abbas. And I am Tiana Van Dyk. I'm the senior director of Client Services and document Review at EpiQ. So I manage all of our client facing service delivery for the business in Canada. I will open with let me just get the first slide up. So we're going to kind of work through this in like a life cycle order because I think it makes the most sense in that way. Please don't hesitate to pop questions in the Q&A if I can incorporate them at the moment, I will. Otherwise, we'll try to answer them at the end. So topic number one is how our new data types affecting collection efficiency. And I want to just throw out one of the biggest ones that I've heard a lot, which is Slack. And Stephanie, I know you have some stories about this. Why don't we just jump right in to one of the juiciest topics here, data collection.
Stephanie: [00:04:41] Slack Oh, it's great. So Slack is a very as I'm sure everyone knows, it's a collaboration tool and it allows your peers to work, live with each other. And obviously in a time of a remote and hybrid environment, you want to have this particular type of platform to be able to collaborate with your peers. And it's wonderful. The collection part of it can be met with a little bit more of it's a great little tool, but you have to make sure that you are in fact looking at the right things. You want to know, is your account public? Is it private? Is it an enterprise platform? How are attachments being collected and gathered? Are you collecting from a particular individual that use the collaboration platform? We've had? I've had a handful of experiences with collecting Slack over the course of this year. In some instances it went quite well and we were able to use various tools to get everything we needed based off of the licensing that they had our clients had with Slack. And so it was a client collected. We collected the data from and the client did it on their own. It was a client collection. And then we'd gone in at certain instances and collected the data or retained a vendor in order to collect that data as well. And so we wanted to make sure that we were able to see everything and we were able to properly ingest it into the platform for review. And sometimes it went quite slowly and sometimes the rendering didn't work out properly, but we were able to employ other tools available in order to make sure that it all went well. But when I first meet with my clients, you know, you always ask them what types of platforms are you using? And when they do say Slack, we sort of just say, okay, how are we going to do this the best way possible? And for the most part it works out. But we need to be paying attention to the licensing as well as how attachments and how hyperlinks are in fact, being managed and collected within Slack.
Tiana: [00:06:42] And I think that that's kind of an interesting you know, back in the day, people would say Excel and we'd go, Oh, no, You know, it's interesting how the data has changed. You know, what you just mentioned really speaks to the fact that the definition of document is changing. Document used to be like a distinct file that was saved. It had a file extension and it existed sitting on somebody's C drive somewhere, Abbas. How is the change in the use of all these collaboration tools really affected our definition of or concept of document?
Abbas: [00:07:13] Yeah, I mean, I think so. There's there's a few things playing here. One, our definition or a concept of document is not changing, but we're trying to fit all of these tools into our concept that we understand. And you know, Slack is a great example of a collaboration tool. Another, another frequent one is teams. The ultimate challenge here is that the data is not saved in a document. It's saved in databases or other spaced out information systems. And when we're doing exports or collection, where we're looking to stitch that all back together in a way that makes sense in our concept of document, it does pose a lot of challenges. I mean, it's really about understanding from a collection perspective of how data is actually being organized and stored in these platforms. What are the available methods of accessing this data? And then what do you have to do post extraction to really fit it into that concept that is reviewable, that you can associate a document kind of nature to it, We can then tag it, we can have scope to it. The unfortunate part, I think, or or maybe the part that we're in right now is it's not fully defined. Sometimes someone will take a full chat sequence and say that is a document. Other times it's more appropriate to take an individual message and say that is a document. An attachment may be its own document. You know, if we think of parent child or it may not be. And then to add around that, because we are using collaborative digital platforms, there is a lot of conversation or comments or likes or other kind of emojis that are put along with documents that provide context and and really speak to how people are conversing and communicating around that. Whether or not that is part of the document is associated with the document is not part of the document. There's no defined rules. It's really about making the rules set for your particular situation and keeping consistent on that. A real, where the real challenge is I see is that people or teams have inconsistencies of how they're defining this and then have a real trouble down the line trying to bring it all together.
Tiana: [00:09:16] I mean, playfully, it sounds a little bit like you're saying that this centralized data management has changed the scene and we should just toss the old book out, toss the rules out.
Abbas: [00:09:24] I mean, that would be a great idea if we could do that all the way downstream. And I think we have to be reasonable to say that that, you know, it's not going to be possible to make all that change right now all at once. I think there will be changes. We kind of move forward. But from our from the perspective of collection, it's important to be able to understand what we have and keep it in a way that's nimble enough that we can kind of move forward in the way that we understand data now, but also understand that there's new elements associated with it.
Stephanie: [00:09:53] And one thing to keep in mind, just jumping off of what Abbas is saying is that if you are aware that your client has this type of data that needs to be managed, discuss that with opposing counsel. Have a plan in place of how you're going to be managing these things and how you're going to be delivering them to each other so that you get it reciprocated in return. As you were saying, how are how are how are you defining the document in that chat? Is it by the date? Is it by the custodian? How are you merging together, the child and the parent relationship? You want to keep all that in mind and you want to be up front with it with your counterpart?
Gretel: [00:10:28] And Tiana, I'm just going to add a little comment as well. I like the analogy of tossing the book out the window. Well, whenever we get these new data types. But the biggest problem we're seeing, any discovery on legal operations generally, I think, is that the technology is changing so quickly. We'd be literally throwing the book out every other day. Right. And getting and writing a new book. So I think that's also one of the big. Challenges as we're trying to keep up with all of this new technology. Like even with the new iPhone, you can now like send a message and then unsend a message, right? So how are we going to deal with that on on collection? And that just happened recently. So it's constantly keeping up with all of the new things and the emerging data types that are also appearing that weren't around last year even.
Tiana: [00:11:12] Yeah, and I think that's a really valid point. And we have I'll pop this question out in a few minutes, but I want to talk a little bit with you. We've talked about these new data types, but Gretel, like we still have traditional data types. Yes. Yes. And there's still a chance of problems and costs involved with those. Can you walk me through a little bit about the traditional data type?
Gretel: [00:11:34] For sure, For sure. And everybody's always talking about the new data types. And there are ton of of new collections that we have to think about, but we also have to remember to properly collect the old data types. And when I say old, I mean maybe a decade ago emails were new at that point, but we still have to collect emails properly. You know, you don't want to be getting emails from your clients that are pdf because you're losing metadata. You want to make sure you're keeping the integrity of that information attached to the electronic document. You know, you want to make sure that if you have to do a forensic collection of any kind of device, you're actually getting the right kind of collection because, you know, not a lot of people are aware, especially if you don't do this often. But if you have to analyze deleted data, deleted documents, you have to pick or you have to tell your vendor to collect the forensic image in the right format in the right way. And that there's two different types. There's logical and physical. If you collect the wrong type, you can't see the deleted information, which means that you have to redo that collection. So in addition to all of the new data types, you have to make sure that your clients are collecting the old ones properly and having that written down. The great thing about the old data types is they're pretty consistent. Having that written down and being able to quickly send information to your client to walk them through the process is great. But definitely the new data types are becoming more of a challenge, particularly like modern attachments, which Stephanie and Abbas both mentioned. Attachments used to be a physical document to an email or an embedded document in a PDF. Modern Attachments are now links to documents that are either in your network or outside of your network. And they're changing, right? You could be linking to a version one of a Word document, and two days later that version is out to version ten. So which version are you linking to when you collect that document? All these things you have to think about.
Tiana: [00:13:23] And I think that actually segues really well into kind of the new the next point that I was looking at, which is there are new challenges with this new kind of data and that is like a stellar example of exactly one of those is when you're linking to things, those things don't necessarily stay fixed. Those things, those things are still dynamic and dynamic. Documents is a lot different than how the world used to work when we save things to our desktops. Stephanie, can you maybe walk me through some challenges that you've seen with with collection and maybe speak a little bit to the defensive ability part of that?
Stephanie: [00:13:57] Right. So some of the things that we're seeing, one of the pain points is in fact the links and the attachments. But as well as what Abbas pointed to earlier with emojis being able to figure out how and how they're being used and what they're meant to mean, at the end of the day, you want your collection to be defensible. You want if anyone challenges you on it, which is few and far between in my experience, but it does in fact happen. And so you want to be able to demonstrate that how you collected this information is authentic and there's no data tampering, that it was done properly and that you took all the steps necessary to collect all of the links, to collect all of the chats and the expansion of messages on Facebook.You can see all the various comments you want to grab, all of that. You want to make sure that you have a reporting on what the steps that were taken when it was done and as well as what was placed on hold. Or you want to make sure that your client is taking steps to preserve everything in place, whether or not it is, in fact, collected, you want to make sure that you're able to speak to their steps that they took in order to make sure that nothing was, in fact, destroyed or deleted.
Tiana: [00:15:14] I think that makes a lot of sense. I'm going to read out one of the questions that's in a Q&A here, and it's what's an example of a situation where proportionality is the biggest influencer of collection methodology. And I'm going to I'm going to throw out an example that I can that I immediately think of. And Gretel was talking about a number of different forensic methodology collections that you can have. But let's think of a situation where a self collection is completely appropriate. Let's say that you're a mom and pop grocery store and there is absolutely no question of the authenticity of documents. And really what is in dispute in this particular matter is the legal interpretation of a clause in a contract. And nobody is disputing what the version of the contract is. No one is disputing any of that. And so we talk about using proportionality as a way to evaluate kind of our risk and reward of using different mechanics. But here, to me, proportionality in that case is a really good measure measuring stick for that's maybe not a situation where a forensic collection and all the costs that is that comes with that is necessary. So just to me, that's kind of the quick and dirty of that. I want to put a poll out here, so I'm going to start this poll. I'll give you guys a few minutes to answer. The question is what was the most exciting collection challenge that you have ever faced? So I invite you guys.
Stephanie: [00:16:43] I want to say see or nothing collection always goes well.
Tiana: [00:16:47] Yeah, nobody believes that.
Abbas: [00:16:50] Well, maybe to answer the question. I bet on that proportionality. Another scenario that I see quite frequently is about around duplication of data. You know, we have a lot of organizations, have a lot of duplication of data. And if you can confidently ascertain that certain areas of collection are just duplicative nowadays, like cell phones, many times do just have duplicative email or messages that are on the outlook's, you know, the main server or the main kind of area. There's a lot of area that that proportionality I think can be kind of used as an advantage to to reduce the amount of collections.
Tiana: [00:17:28] Absolutely. Absolutely. So I'm just taking a quick look. I notice there's a few people who say nothing collection is going always goes well, I'd like to know where you work because good for you. That sounds lovely, but this is no surprise to me whatsoever. The number of responses of all of the above. It's a nightmare. But be and I think back to my my days at the law firm, the number of times that a client being helpful collected their own emails by forwarding them one at a time from their Gmail account to legal assistance. And I think of like the redactions that were involved and all of those other things. There's some efficiencies that you just lose so much of, not to mention the the metadata and everything useful that comes with that. So I'm going to close that poll. Thank you, guys. Appreciate the interaction. And we will move on to topic number two. Speaking of efficiencies, so we've talked about collection. Now we have the data. We've probably processed it at this point. How the heck do we streamline the review part of this? And I'm going to open with. Review is a balance of risk assessment and proportionality. Can you talk me through that a little bit?
Gretel: [00:18:42] Sure. And, you know, I'm really excited about all of the new things we can do in review now, whereas even ten years ago, you couldn't do a lot of these things. So definitely with the review portion, the review phase, you're going to want to make sure that you are not reviewing a million documents, meaning, you know, when you get to your review, it really starts at collection. So you want to make sure you're first of all, you're not over collecting. And when you do finally have your review set, you want to make sure that you call that review set down as much as possible. And there's so many tools now that are available. The ones that you probably hear most are email threading, duplication. You can run predictive coding or analytics review to our technology assisted review where the machine is helping you with relevance calls. So there are a lot of ways to kind of make that review set a lot smaller. But there's new and emerging technology that's coming out as well that can assist not necessarily with culling, but with kind of segregating your data so that you can review it more efficiently. So there's auto translation that will tell you what language your documents are in and translate it to English for you so that you don't have to find a reviewer that can speak French or read French. Back in the day, you'd have to find a team that can read that language. But the auto translation tools out there are really inexpensive. They're very fast. It's complete machine translation and you'll get it back instantly on your database and you can read the English language and determine relevance from there. Obviously, it's not a formal translation or official translation that you might want to put in a brief and rely on. If you do need to translate it, you would probably still have to do that. But initially, assessing a document for relevance, you know, just by reviewing the English translation is a lot easier when you can do it on the fly versus having to find somebody to review those documents. There's also a lot of tools that can help you detect privilege and personal information, which I'm super excited about. Those are the two slowest parts of the review I find trying to find out, you know, because privilege is so nuanced, personal information, there's so much of it. There's tools that can detect it, and they don't just detect it based on to CBC. They actually detect it through the concept in the body of the message. So it's actually looking at what is being said, what is being conveyed in the body of the email or the document. And it's detecting privileged information that way. It's detecting PII, you know, accounts, social insurance numbers, health card information quickly and a lot faster than than humans can do it and a lot more consistently. Humans are notoriously inconsistent and inefficient and machines don't need to sleep and they always make the same decisions. So using tools that can help you with that will significantly increase the efficiency. In a review, sentiment analysis is also coming out. You're going to be able to tell soon what sentiment is attached to a document. Was it a good thing or a bad thing? Was it a good communication or is someone upset that's coming out in a lot of tools now which can be helpful when you're trying to carve out and communications that might be helpful or helpful or harmful to your case? And there's also really great tools to assess risk at the beginning, like there's decision tree tools where you can plug in information about your case and decide based on certain decisions like a workflow, whether or not to pursue it or whether to settle. So those are all of the really great things we're seeing now in the industry.
Tiana: [00:22:17] So what you're telling me, the takeaway that I get from that is I, we should continue to sleep at night and part of it.
Gretel: [00:22:26] Absolutely.
Tiana: [00:22:27] I think that all of that is so relevant and it rolls into ECA strategies because a lot of these things, you're not just talking about taking a point in time, stepping and pushing a magic button, having the computer make magical decisions, and then you're just going to take the stuff in the yes bucket and give it to the other side. A lot of the things that you talked about can be part of like an early case assessment or an early data assessment strategy where you can validate and test some of the thoughts you had. You can take your pleadings and the issues and and see if your data matches or see if there's stuff that you can easily get rid of. Stephanie, do you have you worked a lot in the ECA or EDA spaces to build strategies?
Stephanie: [00:23:11] So it is very it's it's coming up fast and furious in our world that we're trying to because obviously it starts with collection. You're collecting a whole bunch of data. You want to be able to weed through it and parse through it and have a strategic plan in place so that you can review accordingly. We're all aware the discovery process is a costly endeavor, so you want to make sure that you're delivering efficiencies accordingly, and that is with the use of technology. So when you first get your data, you want to do an early data assessment. You want to be able to find pertinent information and export that to a platform. You want to sort through it based off of a custodian, based off of file type social media, Twitter handles PII. You want to be able to group all of those together and then figure out where you want to start. And then from there on your start, you want to think about and consider using continuous active learning. This is a tool that has changed, I believe, the world of review, that it has substantially reduced the time, it has substantially increased accuracy. It is something that I think more people should be using. I was surprised I was involved in another conference about a month ago and some people are still doing a linear review, which surprised me because there are these tools out there that people should contemplate using because it can complement your toolbox quite well. The tools are great to be able to create a timeline of events, to be able to say this is what's happened with this custodian. This is the key time frames that we're looking at. There are lots of things there for individuals to employ in order to reduce the cost of your review and increase the efficiencies. And so the faster and more adaptive firms are in employing these things, the more satisfied your client is going to be.
Tiana: [00:25:09] Absolutely. There's a huge benefit to using those technologies. Let's be honest, in a lot of cases you can invest time. EpiQ has a case insights team and they do a lot of investigative kind of work using tools like this. And a lot of the time, if a client maybe comes to us and says, Hey, I have this matter, I'm not sure if the evidence is there, we'll actually kind of throw case the case insights team at it and they'll do digging and they'll come out with like a fact story. Here's what your data says. And then the client can on some occasions decide there's nothing to pursue here. And then instead of going through that, I think KPMG released just that stat KPMG released two years ago where it's like 92% of the cost. Don't quote me on that number. I am making it up, but I get something like that close. Something like that. It's like something like 80 or 90% of the cost of litigation is doc review and it is next to trial. It's your highest cost, so why not? If you can eliminate all of the downstream costs of that by just doing this investigation and like a truly well developed ECA and strategic analysis of data at the outset can change the entire outlook of your file.
Stephanie: [00:26:27] Just by example Tiana I was I am involved in a matter right now where that's exactly what we did. We collected everything from our client, we put it into our review platform. We were able to cluster things based on different world word clouds that came up. We were able to then look at all of our financial documents over here and we sort of split and conquered and reported back to the client on what our strategy should be and what our next steps are going to be. And it was incredibly successful and our client was over the moon of the results that we were able to provide to them. And it was all based off of technology, whereas I shudder to think. But maybe ten five years ago there was people printing out and then putting documents in different piles as to how they wanted to conduct the review. And that just keeps me up at night. And I rely on a machine that now is going to let me sleep. So yeah.
Tiana: [00:27:16] I told you. Sleep was the key factor, which I'll talk that and have more coffee.
Gretel: [00:27:22] And can I have, I have one thing to add Tiana for ECA as well, so I agree ECA is great to narrow your dataset and target review, but it's also really good to figure out what you don't have. Like a lot of times your legal teams think that they have the whole universe of documents that they asked for from the client and ECA will. If you do a good ECA, you'll see that you might have gaps within certain periods of time or within custodians, and then you're not having to redo all of that work because you can go back and get a full collection or find documents that you didn't get and make sure that you're only doing that review once. The worst thing you could ever have to do is have to redo the whole collection because you miss stuff and then you have to redo your whole workflow and redo the review. So ECA is really good at finding missing information as well.
Tiana: [00:28:06] Yeah, and it's great for preventing scope change that wasn't really changed. You know, sometimes you think the story is one thing, but the data says the story might be something different. I think of like a very specific incident that happened a year ago where we had we thought the litigation trigger date was 2016 and and a little bit of investigating said it was actually 2014. Imagine that. We had done the entire doc review with 2000 in mind only to find out, you know, 2 million documents later that it. 2014 that changes everything. And so these tools are so, so beneficial. And if you're working with a vendor or if you're working in a support technology, set up those kind of like date graphs and set up custodian charts and you do all that dashboard stuff that you can do and that a vendor or your support team or your clerks can help you with that, help you without ever having to push any buttons. Just show you a picture. Bird's eye view is a really, really helpful tool and Abbas like we talk about all these tools, but plug in apps are really driving accessibility and efficiency, right?
Abbas: [00:29:12] Yeah. What's happening more and more is that we're our especially our document hosting platforms are becoming document hosting ecosystems where they're allowing other technologies to plug in and kind of be leveraged quicker. And it's really helpful for for teams. I mean, for from a firms perspective, you know, it's always a tough, tough decision on implementing or bringing in new technology across the board. But where you can focus that on a particular matter or a particular use case, the decision tree is less and less arbitrary. The decision is less like robust, there's less people involved, but it's also very focused use case and the costs are focused so quickly. It's becoming these these tools, whether it's translation, modeling, repeatable models, sentiment analysis, they're just quickly enabled and available to be used Where we are still kind of stuck right now is on licensing. We don't have a centralized like app store or or play store of of purchasing these items, but I don't really see that necessarily being too far off in some cases. I mean, it depends on the technology and how it's interacting. But more and more you could add an application or add an app to your case and you could start using it right away. And that's really in many ways being leveraged by cloud based technologies that allow those implementations. You're not going to build it onsite anyways. So it's really just connecting into these different tools. And sorry, just to add though, I mean, I think there still needs to be due diligence on data residency data security, and I think that individuals need to still pay attention to that stuff, not take it for granted. But I mean, the tools are there and the connections are starting to be there, which is really nice to see for Canadians. We do need to make sure we're doing.
Tiana: [00:30:56] For sure. And like I know I joke a lot, but I'm actually serious about this part. If you look at the efficiency of micro-transactions in the rest of the digital world and how quick and easy it is to add ten points or add this or add this app or extend the number of cases you can have with a number of things you can have inside that app. I don't think it is that far off. Before that kind of a model, you have all of these little kind of easy and quick access to what you need. The other thing it does is it takes eDiscovery from this multibillion dollar kind of world where only the rich and famous can access it, which is what it used to be like. A lot of the reason where people didn't use Cal or Tar was because it costs too much. But these things are so accessible now or just continuing to make them even more and more accessible. And I love what you said about the kind of plug in app, because if we can get in that direction, it makes it more equitable for everybody.
Abbas: [00:31:54] I mean, a great example of this is like language translation and historically language translation was purchased and implemented on site and you had to purchase language packs and you'd have to make decisions on which languages do I want to translate? We would say French. That's not a foreign language. We need to translate that. Maybe it's worthwhile spending our money on the languages that we have zero kind of coverage on. But now with cloud implementations, you're paying by the document or by the page, you know, you can focus on pre kind of translating, you know, if it's not built in already translations, at least there's language identification. You can organize your data and really just translate the ones that you need to. And you add the app and you know, you get the license key and that's it. It's fully integrated into it. So it's pretty it's a pretty nice thing to see. It totally lowers the barrier of entry and allows that cost to be focused at a matter level, not a not a kind of larger implementation level and really a good way for people to get kind of engaged quickly. Now, as an organization, if you're using this at a larger scale. Well, I mean, you could maybe look at better, better kind of financials for yourself through a different type of licensing.
Tiana: [00:33:04] Well, And to be to be frank, a lot of these analytics models are language agnostic. So if you build a cal model that use that only has the French documents, you could bring in five reviewers to review a few hundred and have all of those classified to then make accurate decisions around the investment you needed to make and to true translate certified translation. So those things are now accessible to people who would have not had that information before. So we've I mean, everybody on probably everybody on this call is at some point heard of tar analytics. But I want to back this up just for a minute because the review process starts with mechanics, really, really basic mechanics. Stephanie, we talked about this on a prep call. I'm a big proponent of this. Everybody who has to listen to me preach about the way that I love my coding forms. Why is it important to be strategic and precise when you set up coding layouts? Because that's the basis of your entire doc review?
Stephanie: [00:34:06] Absolutely. You want to make sure consistency is is throughout your review and you do that by a good coding form. So you want to make sure that you have everyone tagging for the same way. Responsiveness. You want to make sure you're tagging for privilege you want to consider having you should consider having the issue tags in there. Sometimes people think it would slow me down. If I'm going to have to contemplate putting an issue in, then that's fine. But at the end of the day, all the reviewers should be using the same coding form. All the reviewers should be consistently coding in the same way. There should be various tags appropriate to be for the reviewers to be using and they should know how to use them. There's lots of I've seen inconsistent coding happen. It happens. Everyone is faced with that challenge when you're doing a validation of your review, but you want to make sure that before you you should sit down with your review team beforehand and ensure that everyone knows what tag is appropriate, what coding form is being used, and then as well have other coding forms for each step of the review. So you first have your first level coding form, second level, and those are going to have similar tags, but then they're also going to have a couple of other tags that are appropriate to apply in your review. We also use coding forms for our discovery and for our witness preparation and for chronologies. Not every review is different and therefore every coding form is going to be different. But as long as your team is set up appropriately, they're going to know how to use it. And this will prevent a lot of heartache at the end of the day when you're going through to make sure that everything was in fact coded appropriately. I am living something right now where the instructions might not have been so clear. I need to now go back and reassess how things were in fact coded and tags applied. So it's fine.
Tiana: [00:36:12] And I think there's a lot of really valuable lessons that anyone who has done this before has learned. I'll speak for 2 seconds about a situation where we didn't add issue tags to the coding layout because everyone thought we're saving so much time. But unfortunately, what most people tend to do when they put bulk groups of reviewers on is they use students or they use junior associates who are less familiar with the matter. And so in this case, by not having issue tags, we had an overabundance of false, positive, relevant documents because everyone airs on the side of, I don't want to get in trouble, I'm going to put it in just so that I didn't miss it. But one of the things as an example that issue Tags can do is they can guide you. And if you cannot find a justification for marking something, yes. With the issue list and it isn't. Yes. And you can feel a certain amount of comfort. So while it did save time on the first past, it tripled the amount of work in the second review.
Stephanie: [00:37:09] I 100% agree with that. And so my perspective is rather have it than not. Absolutely. You know, I can understand the other side of it that you have a hefty amount of documents that you'd like to get through. But as you say, usually the first level review individuals are those are two clean students or summer students or a review team that you may not have access to down the road and you might not be able to question them as to what they were thinking about a particular document. And hopefully they review use other fields available to put in different comments. But I think as you say, yeah, an issue tag is it's like a highlight. It's nice to have. And so I try my best to employ those. Absolutely.
Tiana: [00:37:53] And I'm just a huge fan of the importance of eliminating as many conflicting things. So if you have one of the things that I really like is instead of having privilege, yes or no and a privilege reason field where you then have to make something. Solicitor Client You have to click privilege, yes. And solicitor client Whereas I'm of the mind that if a lack of click means a no, you can eliminate a ton of clicks that way. And in some cases it's not always best practice, but in some cases simply having prove reason. If you mark something relevant solicitor client, that means it's privilege, obviously. And so there are some things you can consider in your workflow depending on how you're going about it, where you can streamline the so that you have as few clicks as possible because every click costs 2 seconds. And if you're reviewing a million documents, 2 seconds adds up really, really quickly.
Stephanie: [00:38:42] On my view is you want to have as least clicks as possible, but the clicks you do have are going to provide you with the most substantial pieces of information that they're meaningful that they're missing. So before we move on to topic three, I'm going to pop a polling question out here for everyone. And it's why is it important to test your coding layout very early during the review? And I think what we're and I love the panelists kind of perspective on this, what we're really looking for here is probably you hit a gotcha one time and that's going to be your answer to this question. I'll leave it open for a few minutes. But Gretel, Stephanie and Abbas, you guys have any what would your pick be?
Gretel: [00:39:23] I always recommend, you know, setting up your coding layout and actually testing it out like you suggested Tiana. Only because you know, you have in your mind how this review is going to go. But when you actually start clicking the documents and tagging, using the tags, you realize that, oh, you know, you might need to flesh this out a little bit more. Or maybe these issue tags are too. They overlap too much. Maybe these there's too many issue tags because and are they really useful? So I think it's really important to not just have your litigation support team go through the layout, but to have the review team go through the layout just to make sure that it's going to work for them and they're going to be able to pull out the information at the end of the day that they need. And a lot of the times when I'm talking to our legal teams and review teams, I asked them, I'm like, what do you want to get out of the review? At the end of the day, like, I know you want to know what's relevant and what's not privileged, but what else do you need to know? Because based on that information, we're going to have to customize this layout to make sure that you can pull that information information out when you finish your review.
Abbas: [00:40:22] Yeah. Echoing what Gretel said there, I mean, being output or final focused is vital. And I think it saves everyone time. It's really hard to motivate teams to do repetitive work and it's a cost and really kind of focusing on what's the final goal and the output and building that into your coding panels or any other setup that's happening is vital to keep things moving along.
Stephanie: [00:40:46] We start every project by saying, what do we want at the end of the day. And we work backwards. And so that helps with it helps with the project scope, it helps with timeline. Knowing what you need to achieve at the end, helps you build out the project appropriately and allows you to think properly about how you're going to implement all of the tools that are available to you to get to your final result.
Tiana: [00:41:08] Yeah, that's perfect. And I'll close the poll in just a minute here, but it looks like the the clear winner here is to make revisions early to minimize duplicative work. So I suspect that a lot of people who are listening in on this session have gotten halfway through the review before they realized they hadn't accounted for something and had to then go back and re review all of that to account for the new whatever piece of information it may be. So I think that that really rings true, rings true for me. All of these rings true for me, but that one really does. Having seen it go in a direction that was expensive. So I will close that. Thank you, everybody, for your responses. And we will move on to topic three, which is simplifying our matters story using fact management software. Now, a little earlier we talked about kind of the EDA strategies. So that's early case assessment, early data assessment. And we talked a little bit about how you can use that to get a quick and early glimpse into your data. For me, that's like a really good foundation and starting point. So when I'm starting a chronology, I always start with the statement of claim. Imagine that it is literally, you know, and so we would put that into like a tech. Now there's a lot of new Age technologies. There's there's a few that I've used that I'm really, really a big fan of that I think kind of changed the game. But there are still people using old technologies. And I will just say Microsoft Word, it's nothing against Microsoft Word, but can we talk, Stephanie, maybe a little bit about. Are people still using that technology?
Stephanie: [00:42:43] Yes. Yes, I have seen it and I've seen it recently. And, you know, it's fine as a basic measure to employ. But what what we have seen is those who have used Microsoft Word have also use other indicators from a database. Let's say that we're able to then enhance that piece of information so we can still, you know, if you want to use word, that's fine. We do have tools in place that if they have marked things properly in their document, we're able to then enhance it using hyperlinks or using different highlights in order to make the document a little bit more technologically friendly. We've seen the big one is Excel. A lot of people like Excel because you can filter and you can highlight and it has all of these. It's a step up from word, but it's still, you know, it's not it doesn't give you a lot of the graphics. It's, it feeds into different databases in the formats and things like that. But there are a lot of different platforms out there that people aren't turning their minds to in order to make a great chronology or a great time frame. And you want to contemplate proportionality and whether or not those texts are in fact needed. But at the end of the day, when you're going into trial and you're going to want you're going to be happy that you employed the technology that is out there in order to make your chronology and to make it as user friendly as possible for everyone.
Tiana: [00:44:20] Well, let's be honest, There's never just one person working on a matter. So 17 varying versions. Think back to like the mainstream browser briefcase. This is it would exist and then it would change and then the databases would no longer be in sync. Sorry, I just told everyone how old I am. I haven't heard that term in so long. So that was one. But I mean, it left a mark here. But if you think about that kind of thing, how quickly copies of data get out of sync when you're talking about something like a static document that you're using for this purpose and you have five people contributing those get out of sync really, really quickly. And then if you think about like the loss of time and the loss of knowledge that happens, and then there's somebody who physically has to try to put it all together and figure out what is the most recent and relevant. There's a lot of inefficiencies. So Gretel, I mean, I guess I kind of just pitched you the first one there. That's important, but what are some of the other features that you have seen or experience with the newer technology or I guess even that you're looking into if you don't use this very much yet?
Gretel: [00:45:27] So I'm just going to make a quick comment about chronologies and then I'll jump into that Tiana. But in addition to what you all just said, these word chronologies and excel chronologies, they get really big, like they're huge. And there comes a point in time where you're adding so much to your chronology that the chronology becomes really ineffective because you can't search like you have to search it by word like there's nothing else you can really do with these things. So good segue into the tools that are out there now. So there are a lot of software applications that are available. Some have been around for a long time, some of are just cropping up, but there are really good mix of different things. So there's tools that are for legal project management, there's tools for legal case management. So those tools are more like applications that will organize your documents that you've produced. So this is post review, post production, whatever you've produced goes into this application, this software, and the only thing it has is your produce documents and documents. The other side is produce maybe your pleadings, correspondence, but it'll house those documents, pleadings, correspondence. You can collaborate in these tools, you can create chronologies, you can calendar tasks, you know, make sure that everybody knows what tests are coming up by matter. So these are legal programs, project management, case management tools. There's also legal prep tools. They also have chronologies, but they also have these great analytics capabilities where they can analyze your chronology and your witness list and your documents and give you insights into this information that you might not have just by looking at a static or document chronology or a static Excel chronology. So these tools also have the analytics analytics built in that can give you information that you would have to spend hours getting. It knows it's reading the information as you're inputting it, and it can give you valuable feedback that you might not be able to see if you're not looking for it or you might not be able to get easily because it would take hours to do.
Tiana: [00:47:28] Yeah, well, that's where this kind of pattern recognition and kind of all these different features that we've talked about, analytics type features become really, really helpful, especially even at. Early stages. Let's say that you and this is one of the ways I used to do it, was take my statement of claim statement and defense, make that a skeleton of the and then start linking documents and then linking people. And before you know it, you have this interactive, robust work product that everyone can use to see patterns and Abbas like these really help you build better work products sooner here.
Abbas: [00:48:04] Exactly. I mean I think it's all the things you guys have mentioned, right? It's the ability to take advantage of the technologies that are there, link information together, work collaboratively. And I mean, one of the great things is that the output or you can create a static output in word pdf Excel and from most of these tools that can be shared for for others that are not maybe necessarily collaborating, but just kind of digesting some of this information, you can filter that down or hone that into what's what's makes sense for that individual. But the working side of it, very much so. Leveraging these platforms a lot allow you to be way more efficient. I will say, you know, we talk about Excel and Word and doing them kind of manually. It's not that those are bad methods and you are able to collaborate on them more. It's I think I think there's a sense of scale when scale comes in that that usually is the problem where these things get cumbersome. But it's it's the fact that these purpose driven tools have features and solutions built into them that automate things that that kind of get to task, that are relevant to the tasks that support clerks and lawyers would be doing.
Tiana: [00:49:16] Absolutely. That is so relevant. Abbas is always you're always such a voice of reason there. And I think the comment was meant to be a compliment. The comments, the comment about the scale and kind of how there's a there is a cutoff. It's the same way we talked about proportionality and the mom and pop shop probably doesn't need forensic collection. Everything that we approach in this industry is based on risk, is based on proportionality, is based on outcome and benefit. And there are going to be a lot of times where you can even just produce in a binder still. I mean, I'm not going to ever recommend that. But if you if you have five records and they are in paper and you can just walk them across the street, that may be for your own situation, the right thing to do. So it is definitely about measuring the reward and the risks involved and figuring out what the cutoff for what you need is. Because it's important to realize we have all these tech. But my my boss's old boss used to always say, like, you don't need a fighter jet to go to the grocery store. And I think that that's a really good way to put it. You don't pick the tool that fits what you need. I'm going to segway into our next topic with kind of a comment question that popped up in the Q&A. And Christina, thank you for this because I think this is so relevant and one of the reasons why scale really impacts it. And that question just disappeared.
Abbas: [00:50:44] Oh, I just published.
Tiana: [00:50:46] Oh, got published. Okay. Thank you. So word chronologies that are started before production are a nightmare. Why is it you ask? Because you have to go back and update prod numbers. Don't even get me started about talking about not renumbering for production. That's a whole different story. But you're exactly right. And so let's talk about the trial book, presentation kind of technology. Let's make our walk to court a little bit easier. There are actually now tools in this world, and every paralegal a clerk let support person on this call is going to understand the pain of having to take an expert report and link 10,000 footnotes to documents from production. Let's not even talk about when you then have to redo it after production once those numbers have changed. So, Kristina, thank you for helping with me with that very natural segway to this. Did you guys know that there are actually tools now that can auto site those kinds of things and if you didn't. I hope that you feel happy now and you can kind of rest for the week, but I'm just going to throw this out to our whole panel. Talk to me about trial books, presentation, and the new kind of technology that you guys are seeing.
Gretel: [00:52:03] Well, I'm going to jump in there. Tiana, I did see there's several platforms out there that will look at a document, let's call it a chronology. And anywhere that there is a document number or a production number, if that document number or production number exists in the platform, it will automatically hyperlink that document for you. And that is like the greatest thing because that does take a lot of time. I wish there was like a, I don't know, celebration of.
Stephanie: [00:52:29] The champagne corks going. Confetti comes everywhere. That's how it was received in our office.
Gretel: [00:52:34] Oh, yeah, like that. That alone will save hours of litigation support person's time because hyper linking is painful and sometimes it's a manual process and we're now seeing that the technology out there is smart enough to know that when it sees this sequence of numbers or this, I guess, alphanumeric string and you can tell it what kind of alphanumeric string it's looking for, it will automatically know to look in your in your application for that document and link it automatically. So I think that's one of the great things I'm seeing. I can't wait to start using it.
Stephanie: [00:53:04] I know I'm very excited and similar to that. Like even a factum you have. Yes, as long as it's accurately described. And I think that's where the training lies, is that those who are in fact citing a document will just put in F 13 when it's you need to make sure that you're instructing appropriately that you are identifying those numbers appropriately, but then it changes your life. Like you just press a couple of buttons and it's done and it's fantastic and they're preserved. And so when you upload it to particular platforms, they still remain. And it makes even when you send that off to your client for review, it makes it that much easier for your client to navigate all of your supporting documents. It's fantastic.
Tiana: [00:53:48] Well, and I've used both Everchron and EpiQTMX for this, and I couldn't help but think back to one file where we that I had when I was at my law firm and we had like seven of our support staff working for like nine straight days on an expert report. And it was the 10,000 footnotes was never an exaggeration. This was real. And I just think I literally would have paid out of pocket to have this technology that we have now. And I don't think enough people are using it. It does 100 more things like this, this technology EpiQTMX, for example, does 100 more things than just this. But like for me, this alone is enough to close the deal.
Stephanie: [00:54:30] And sometimes you don't need all the bells and whistles, right? You just need something else in your toolbox that you're able to employ to make it more consistent, more accurate and more efficient. And this is one of those things that has come out recently where I was just so ecstatic to see it.
Abbas: [00:54:45] So I think as we kind of move more to virtual and hybrid cases, though, we have a different use case for these for these binders and books. I mean, yes, the preparation auto citation, I've given a lot of a lot of demos and talked to a lot of clients, and I just see their eyes pop up. And it's it's amazing to show them this because it's instant satisfaction. But there's a difference in how you present information digitally and how you present it on paper. And there's a lot of opportunity to use that digitization of information to enhance your presentation, whether that's focus highlighting, you know, a little bit of document automation or animation in there to really kind of pop out and kind of storyboard your your chronology. And if it's not going to be printed and hand it out to everyone, then you can take advantage of the digital, the digital aspect of it.
Stephanie: [00:55:38] And that's the type of information that's going to hold true to a judge or a jury, right? When they see something that they haven't seen before or that it's just right in front of them and it's easily accessible, it stays with them when they're making their decisions. It's a demonstrative evidence that you can bring to court, and it makes things just so much more illustrative for the witness, for the jury, for the judge.
Tiana: [00:56:02] Well, and I think like even if you think about the efficiency there, how many trial books do you have that have like 100 volumes? You know, they literally take up entire war rooms. Technology like this can condense this all into one. And not only do you not have 100 volumes of binders, but you don't have three copies of 100 versions of binders. And everyone can now work on like permanently up to date.
Stephanie: [00:56:27] So one of the blessings of the pandemic. I was at a trial in 2019 where it was more rooms of binders and people were printing and there was a print shop open until all hours of the night so that we could get all of our binders ready to go to trial. In 2021, I was involved in a four week trial where I didn't print anything and it was fantastic. It was so liberating because we had technology in place and just in shy of like two years, things were that much different that I was able to have everything accessible to me. I didn't print anything. The Court had everything online. It was beautiful and it was an incredible, refreshing way to operate during a trial. It was wonderful.
Abbas: [00:57:11] And you don't have people tripping over the rolling.
Stephanie: [00:57:15] The ropes. Yeah. Or the cords or all that.
Gretel: [00:57:19] And we've seen files where, you know, when we did the math and we counted the counsel involved in the parties and we counted the page numbers, we realized that it was literally less expensive to buy the entire team iPads. Digitize everything and review the documents that way versus printing everything and put putting them into binders Like it's literally just doing the math and the economics behind all of the printing and the binders and the tabs. It's sometimes less expensive to digitize it and put it on a device and review it that way.
Tiana: [00:57:48] A lot of these technologies have a really high ROI, and I think if you can work with the. Work with different people who have experienced them, it becomes really quick to give you some kind of thing you can take back to your team to justify or to build your own ROI. We are out of time and I feel like we could have talked about this for like ten more hours. I'm going to pop a polling question in. This is just the fun one. If there was one image that represents a Friday in litigation or any discovery, what would that be? So rolling playfully down a hill, it's fun, although you're never quite sure what's at the bottom. The world's largest house of cards. With the stiff wind in the forecast, you're pretty much doomed. Groundhog Day. A good book in front of the fire. It's calm and exactly where you want to B, or E, which is the drop of doom right at Six Flags. Well, you chose this voluntarily, and now you're stuck with it till it's over. So I welcome you guys to answer that last kind of fun one as we start heading into the holiday season and give you a little bit of entertainment for the end of this session. Thank you so much, everybody, for joining us. Abbas, Steph, Gretel, you guys are experts in this field. I truly respect you and appreciate you joining us in this time. I know that we have worked together many times, but it is always a pleasure. Thank you to Canadian Lawyer magazine. We appreciate the partnership here. And to Katrina Robinson, who has done a ton of work for us behind the scenes to make sure that everything went smoothly. Do not hesitate to reach out on LinkedIn if you have any questions. Happy to answer them. Happy to forward them on to the relevant parties. We'll try to email you guys back on any chat questions that are outstanding and I believe we will have a recording available of this in a couple of days so that you can rewatch it because you had so much fun while you were here.
Stephanie: [00:59:45] Thank you so much, Tiana.
Gretel: [00:59:47] Thank you.
Mallory: [00:59:47] Thanks so much to the panel. Thank you so much to the panel as well just for sharing your insight and expertise on this and for carrying us through this exciting conversation and everyone in the audience, thank you for joining us today. Keep an eye out for other upcoming webinars and everyone enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you so much.
Abbas: [01:00:07] Bye bye.
Stephanie: [01:00:07] Bye bye.
Tiana: [01:00:09] Bye, everyone.
Gretel: [01:00:10] Bye.