Using Data Analytics in Litigation and Investigations
TAR? Check. Next up: data analytics.
A few savvy members of the legal community are taking a giant step forward in recognizing the value of data analytics in finding the documents that really matter in a case. According to a recent article in Law.com, Thomas Barnett at Paul Hastings has been building “a team of mathematicians, data scientists and e-discovery project managers to create tools that can cull through millions of documents to quickly find not just the documents that are relevant to a subpoena or investigation, but those that can make or break a case.” Bennett Borden at Drinker Biddle & Reath and Zev Eigen at Littler Mendelson are also advancing data science efforts at their firms.
For the past several years, the legal community has occupied itself with both the viability and defensibility of using technology-assisted review (TAR) tools to probe electronic data collections for documents responsive to a production request. As the comfort level with TAR tools and methods rises among both litigants and the bench, leveraging analytics to find the documents that really matter is the obvious next step. After all, finding responsive documents to produce is one thing, identifying key documents is quite another.
Law firms that leverage the power of analytics to advance their litigation and investigation efforts are likely to find themselves more often than not on the winning side. At the very least, they will be formidable opponents. Expert use of analytics can expose valuable information in a number of ways, making it easier to develop a chronology, shape a narrative, reveal pertinent witnesses (or witness vulnerabilities), expose production gaps, detect sentiment, and—most importantly—identify the key or “hot” documents that can, as Barnett notes, “make or break a case.”
Given the sluggish history of the legal community in accepting basic TAR tools, a reluctance to rely on “black box” analytics is understandable. The idea of building an in-house team may make sense. However, firms with neither the interest nor budget to support a team of experts (twenty-two people at Paul Hastings) should know that these exact teams already exist in a select few litigation services firms.
We’re proud to say that H5 is premier among them. Our own scientific and linguistic team developed the analytics tools we have been using and refining for over a decade. We use these tools for a number of services we provide to our clients, including finding the key documents that give them the advantage in litigation and investigations.
The technological needle can be agonizingly slow to move in the legal community, but honing analytics tools to use in large data matters should be a no-brainer. We applaud the efforts of Thomas Barnett and others who are helping move the needle forward. It can only benefit everyone in the long run.
We invite you to explore H5’s Key Document Identification services.