This is the time where every organization is eager to hear from their respective governments their plans for deconfinement and to finally relieve the economy. Everyone is looking forward to resuming the prosperous pre-covid life and is preparing himself to operate at full speed as quickly as possible. It is therefore the right time to run different checklists and one of them could be revisiting your current use of technology that assists you in your daily activities.
“It is obviously important to provide the tribunal with only the relevant documents supporting your line of reasoning which will simplify and accelerate the case and could even increase the odds of winning.”
Whether it is in litigation, arbitrage, competition,… procedures, one common and very important activity is the review of the documents that fall under the scope of the case. They represent a reliable source for evidence providing facts to support assertions or to recreate the factual circumstances of the claims. The sum of all these documents which come in many different formats: letters, contracts, emails,… can quickly represent a huge volume of unstructured data which will incur long processing time to collect, digitize, index,… Therefore, it is crucial to have the most efficient tooling in place. Often, we are talking about days if not weeks that could be spent in organizing, searching and classifying the relevant data, and also ensuring we are not missing anything important. Definitely a time consuming activity which has a significant impact on cost. On the other side, it is obviously important to provide the tribunal with only the relevant documents supporting your line of reasoning which will simplify and accelerate the case and could even increase the odds of winning versus a situation where presenting thousands of documents will only dilute the power of your argumentation.
“To mitigate the risk, users need to undergo additional steps i.e. using advanced search criteria like filters, boolean formulas or even running some predictive coding to reduce the number of irrelevant documents and hence limit the risk of leaving some crucial information hidden”
Obviously, there are already plenty of tools specialized in document management and many of them have been there for a long time but they are not perfect and usually require additional steps to overcome some of their limitations:
- Search capabilities: many search engines are working with the traditional approach based on keyword search which generates a laundry list of results that still incurs a fastidious work to check if the information is relevant or not. Plus, it does not guarantee you have all the relevant results you need since you limit your search to one or a few keywords only. To mitigate the risk, users need to undergo additional steps i.e. using advanced search criteria like filters, boolean formulas or even running some predictive coding to reduce the number of irrelevant documents and hence limit the risk of leaving some crucial information hidden.
- Deployment / Setup time: Most of the existing solutions are too cumbersome to get off the ground quickly, and with little notice which can provoke some early frustrations as speed could be crucial right at the start of a new case. Usually, you do everything you can to be ready as soon as possible by organising your team, your strategy, the timeline and have the right data at your fingertips. You don’t want to be caught by surprise by other parties with new evidence. Unfortunately, the reality obliges you to wait for a couple of days or even more to have your system in place with the right data.
- Too many features coupled with the fact that you don’t necessarily need technology assistance for every case, force you and the (new) people joining your team to attend training and ensure you are not forgetting nor using these tools in a sub-optimal way.
- Lack of usability of the collaboration features: It is crucial for you and your team to communicate and interact on the findings collected from the data sets. Often basic capabilities of annotating, highlighting, and sharing are there but it often results in an awkward, nonintuitive, and even frustrating experience.
“Imagine your force: only a few hours to go from potentially crucial legal information “lock away” to quickly find and surface the most critical data you need to support your assertions and be super reactive to conclusions provided by the opposite party and putting them into perspective by looking at all the documents related to the developed argument.”
Today, modern technologies have significantly improved the productivity of workers and are overcoming these pain points:
- AI and Natural Language Processing, are contributing to new searching approaches like contextual search which significantly decreases the risk of missing any important information and drastically cuts the time needed to review and find the most critical documents. Check our blog for more details on this topic.
- Agility and flexibility in architecture design allow you to quickly deploy anywhere (public cloud / on-prem environment) and without any configuration efforts on your side. These new solutions are available off the shelves and can be easily integrated into your existing IT environment. Equipped with amazing processing power, they can ingest and prepare the data in a few hours only making you ready to start right away. Imagine your force: only a few hours to go from potentially crucial legal information “lock away” to quickly find and surface the most critical data you need to support your assertions and be super reactive to conclusions provided by the opposite party and putting them into perspective by looking at all the documents related to the developed argument.
- Modern and intuitive interfaces are only displaying the most important features, dropping the complexity and the features that are only used once in a lifetime. They ensure a quick and efficient onboarding removing the needs for complex and time consuming training. Since they are born in the “social media” age, they are naturally built to fluidify any communication and sharing of the information among collaborators.
Beyond these specific aspects, technology has always helped many companies in reinventing themselves, boosting their productivity and agility, opening doors to new streams of revenue. Even though the legal industry has always been behind in terms of technology spending, there is no reason technology can not do the same to the legal sector and we see many law firms adopting new technology as a way to stay relevant, competitive and to save cost.
Furthermore, it has never been a better time with the Covid-19 crisis to assess how well you are equipped and be ready for the next blooming economic wave which hopefully is coming the sooner the better!