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Electronic Discovery

Hybrid legal technology approach cuts eDiscovery costs

Toronto-based Heuristica Discovery Counsel combines the legal and technical aspects of eDiscovery that results in more efficient and less expensive document review, says Candice Chan-Glasgow, the firm’s director of legal review services. 

Chan-Glasgow says Heuristica is Canada’s only independent law firm providing eDiscovery services across the country and its unique hybrid legal technology team makes it stand out from other providers.

“The traditional approach to eDiscovery has been to keep the legal and technical functions separate," the Toronto eDiscovery lawyer tells AdvocateDaily.com.  

"Typically the legal team would tell the technology team what terms to search for and the technology team would do what it was told. Unfortunately, the technology team couldn’t interpret the search results it gets back."

“Our hybrid approach to document review requires lawyers to be trained not only on the legal issues in the litigation but also in advanced search technology and analytics. We’ve developed an iterative approach to document review where the legal team can assess and implement search strategies while considering the substance and legal relevance of each search result,” Chan-Glasgow adds.  

Combining the legal and technical functions is significantly more efficient than having a separate person performing each of those functions, and ensures greater accuracy and knowledge transfer, she says.

Chan-Glasgow says Heuristica’s analytics-based process cuts out layers of review traditionally required in eDiscovery, reducing costs by an estimated 40 per cent compared with a more standard approach. Its lawyers can reach review rates of 150 to 200 documents an hour, well above the usual rate of around 50 per hour. As a result, she says clients have quickly jumped on board.

“Clients quickly see the value in our approach. At the end of the day, it’s more efficient for them because we use review software the way it was intended and find things in the documents that they might otherwise never have known existed,” Chan-Glasgow says.

“We’re locating key documents in the first days of discovery now, rather than in the first weeks.”  

She says Heuristica’s lawyers then build on the information gleaned and prepare written analyses of the most salient evidence at any stage of the matter.

Chan-Glasgow concedes, however, that it takes longer to get its full-time eDiscovery lawyers and roster of contract counsel up to speed. 

“It does take extra training to ensure our lawyers are technically proficient on the use of the software and on the legal issues in each file," she says.

"I’ve been doing this for several years and I find that the technology is constantly evolving. Clients expect to receive maximum value and, as such, it’s important to the firm that we stay abreast of technology developments and invest in the training required to ensure our lawyers can best leverage that technology.”

 

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