Understanding Review Technology


How Review Technology Can Help You Understand Your Data

Basic technology-assisted review (TAR) software can save money, time, and manpower in the litigation discovery process. Understanding how it gets you there is a first step toward embracing the technology that courts not only allow but embrace as a vital part of the review process. 

The key to getting the most out of TAR software is ensuring that everyone in the discovery chain embraces the system. The best way to utilize the technology is to recognize the areas that it brings the most value. Using TAR doesn’t mean that humans aren’t involved in the discovery process; their skills are applied in different ways. 

Understanding the Review Technology

TAR can help your review process in many ways. Through AI-assisted software, TAR flags documents based on protocol assigned by the litigation team. Before this technology existed, a litigation team would pour over documents to find those most necessary to a case. The process was time-consuming when considering hundreds of emails and letters of correspondence, but even more so when those documents reached the thousands. 

Similar to utilizing a search engine to find keywords in an email, TAR can flag documents that fall into specific parameters and categories. It can simplify data and even uncover data or otherwise lost emails. 

Finding this “hidden” information is among the most significant assets of TAR and why more and more litigation teams have turned to the AI platforms during the review process. 

Understanding the Potential of the Technology

TAR vendors are called upon to maintain the latest technological advancements while understanding how those advancements can be leveraged for efficient discovery. These advancements can streamline the review process while helping to evolve your discovery team. 

Finding those hidden needles in the haystacks of massive amounts of data is the key to utilizing data for litigation. TAR can find it first, allowing your team to use and discover its importance. 

Understanding the Review Workflow

Among the most significant challenges to employing and understanding TAR is embracing the review workflow. Both the team and the technology need to be on the same page when it comes to how documents need to be flagged. Letting TAR software perform the bulk of the work is handy, but a review team should be called upon at the end of the workflow to ensure that highlighted documents are accurately highlighted, and redacted documents are held back. 

Understanding the Limitations of the Technology

TAR review requires data in specific formats to read and adequately assess it. This means that handwritten notes should first be scanned and reformatted, as well as spreadsheets. Construction data and blueprint drawings are typically unreadable by TAR software. It is among these limitations that require a more human element to the TAR process.

That said, these are also review documents best served by allowing the litigation team to help the TAR software to determine what is and isn’t relevant in a case. Flexibility in TAR review is paramount. 

Learning from Failures in the System

While finding data pain points is vital to using TAR, it is also important to learn from the cases of system failures. As much as TAR provides time to the litigation team, humans must be in command to backup the AI platform. 

From the case files: In 2017, an attorney representing a major financial institution inadvertently produced confidential client information in litigation. The disclosed information was for thousands of the institution’s wealthiest investors, and the disclosure was reported by the New York Times.

To explain the disclosure to the court, the attorney stated that a TAR vendor conducted a search, and she used the vendor’s eDiscovery software to review documents to tag those that were confidential or privileged, instructing the vendor to withhold any tagged documents. She also tagged documents that needed to be redacted.

However, as she stated in the affirmation, “Unbeknownst to me, the view I was using to conduct the review had a set limit of documents that it showed at one time. Thus, I thought I was reviewing a complete set, when in fact, I only reviewed the first thousand documents.” 

Also, the attorney and the vendor lacked the communication to coordinate where the redactions needed to be applied, so the tagged documents were produced without the redactions. The documents required a post-mortem of proper quality control before they were presented to ensure that all data had been reviewed for confidential and privileged information. The failure by both the vendor and the attorney resulted in the embarrassing disclosure. 

Making the most of TAR 

One of the great improvements in AI-assisted review technology is its ability to discover the data hiding within thousands of documents of information. TAR can parse the important from the nonsense. But, it can’t do it all alone. 

As much as we rely on the advancements in technology, we must also improve our own understanding of how these software platforms work for us. It doesn’t take the entire litigation discovery process out of the hands of our teams, but it will help create more digestible piles of data. 

A vendor that works with case teams, instead of outside of the scope of discovery, can emphasize communication to ensure that failures don’t bring embarrassment to legal teams. Providing digital forensics, eDiscovery solutions, managed review and litigation consulting services, Sandline’s tools and teams can help solve the most complex discovery matters. 

Discover more information about Sandline’s Managed Review services and how we can work with your teams.