Aussie lawyers urged to ‘get up to speed’ with e-discovery

By Emma Ryan|05 January 2020

Australian law firms are being encouraged to follow suit with neighbouring jurisdictions and embrace e-discovery technology.

Speaking on an episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, recorded at Relativity Fest, held in Chicago Illinois, KordaMentha’s Grant Whiteley and Andrew Malarkey shared the value e-discovery holds and why more firms should be looking to adopt such technology.

“What we’re seeing from a lot more of our clients is for them needing to understand the technology and get up to speed with what an e-discovery platform can do for them,” Mr Whiteley said.

“I feel that a lot of our clients acknowledge that they can’t just do things the way they used to do them before and they need to embrace technology and get the most out of it for their clients.

“… Basically everyone’s got a cloud strategy at the moment and with the move to a cloud, everybody’s looking at their workflows and their systems. I think most of our clients would suggest that theyre not using the platforms to the extent that they should be, but theres certainly that desire to improve that. And theyre looking for partners to help them do that as well.”

Mr Whiteley noted the barriers of taking on e-discovery technology are breaking down, with more employers choosing to switch to a cloud-based system.

“I think those barriers are breaking down. So we’re starting to see a lot of clients approach us to say that they want to improve their workloads and embrace the cloud and theres a genuine desire within them to, I guess, build our learning modules around how they work with e-discovery providers,” the executive director said.

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“But I think the main thing thats driving at the moment is really around the compliance and risk and consistency. So a lot of clients realise that they need to have a proper way or proper workflows in doing e-discovery.”

One of the ways KordaMentha is making the most of e-discovery is by utilising software provided by companies to enable it to create a “roadmap” to help clients understand what data can show them.

“Really its using a number of different artificial intelligence engines that are made available by the likes of Google and Amazon and Microsoft, that allow us to generate additional metadata around principally emails, any form of communication, so we can analyse the sentiment of a particular email exchange. Was it negative, positive? But now what we can also do is we can actually analyse sentence by sentence and extract different tones, so to extent that anger was expressed or fear or happiness,” Mr Malarkey said.

“Just that alone, thats kind of interesting but where the power really comes in is when we can overlay those heat maps of particular groups of emails that might have a degree of anger and negative sentiment.

“And then we were also then looking at keywords, perhaps surrounding fraud-related keywords, when those match up, then thats a pretty good indicator thats a group of emails that youll want to look at. It doesnt necessarily confirm, but it just helps you when youve got a huge amount of emails. We can use these heat maps to quickly orientate ourselves and dive into the areas that are probably going to be the most fruitful.

“The next stage for us is visualising that information into a way thats actually useful for clients. So thats where I see that’s going to be our roadmap going forward is helping clients understand what the data is telling them.”

To listen to the full episode featuring Mr Malarkey and Mr Whiteley, click here.

Aussie lawyers urged to ‘get up to speed’ with e-discovery
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