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Helping Litigators Win with Key Document Identification (KDI)

Facts are an unexpectedly hot topic today (go figure), but for lawyers, finding them, understanding them, contextualizing them and knowing how to argue them are an uncontroversial part of their practice.

Most of the salient facts in a matter, especially those that ultimately become evidence, aren’t found by snooping around the premises with a magnifying glass. They lie buried within terabytes of collected data and ferreting them out can be the most challenging (and expensive) part of the legal process.

Case teams usually count on the document review process to expose meaningful information. Or, they apply Boolean search to the data population, relying upon background knowledge and instinct to create search terms. Truth be told, these methods may be more of a crapshoot than they realize; lawyers who don’t leverage true search expertise to find key documents are really missing something — and they likely don’t know what.

Enter Key Document Identification (KDI), a targeted form of fact-finding using both human and artificial intelligence that gives litigators a unique advantage. A set of advanced search techniques executed by professionals, KDI quickly zeros in on the information that matters, helping  counsel identify key players, establish timelines, craft and support case narratives and uncover the documents that really tell the story — including the “hot” ones that often make or break a case.

Unlike a review for production where discovery requests drive the search for potentially responsive documents, the search for key documents is a very different pursuit; it doesn’t make sense to use the same approach. Instead of casting a dragnet that looks for similarities among documents that meet criteria the opposing side has identified, KDI uses a combination of tools  and techniques applied by experts in a methodical way to target key documents, reveal unexpected connections and find the documents that stand out.

What does KDI involve?  It begins with communication between the case team and a team of search experts with knowledge of the subject matter domain, their suite of advanced tools, and a methodology that applies linguistics, statistics, data science and logic to the hunt. Further, KDI is executed on a robust search platform provisioned to enable searches that can scale to tens of millions of documents. But, preparedness usually starts beforehand. The right steps applied to data earlier in the process — such as setting indexing parameters, virtual de-duplication techniques, email chain analysis and metadata determinations — can both reduce and enhance the population leaving rich data pools for the experts to search. And professional “tricks” can help too: consider a situation where metadata may contain valuable information (a date, for instance) that does not appear in the text of the document; advanced professional tools can make that data available to the search engine to be part of an integrated search.

When used early enough in the process, KDI can provide a solid foundation for early case assessment to enable well-informed litigate/settle decisions, but it is also the most effective approach available to find what’s needed to prepare for  depositions and trial, especially when new or unexpected information comes to light. No lawyer likes to be surprised during the course of a matter, and effective Key Document Identification is the optimal “surprise mitigation” technique.

Key Document Identification by search experts with advanced tools and a platform made expressly for the job is a highly refined process, but the evidence of how well it works and the matters (and litigators) it has rescued could not be more compelling — those are the facts.

Learn more about KDI here.

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