I have been providing electronic courtroom presentation and database services since the field was first developed by Litigation Sciences, Inc. Introduced in 1991, the “Catalyst 2000” presentation system was first used in the Ralston Purina case. The equipment was primitive by today’s standards: a 286 computer with a whopping 8 MB of ram! The P.C. ran a hand-coded database which made the exhibits accessible by bar code. Video was handled by a Video Laser Disc player connected to the system with a large wiring harness that fed the audio, video, text, and charts to the monitors and speakers.
Since that time, I have worked extensively with Trial Director, Trial Pro, Visionary and Summation to organize and present evidence of every possible kind in over two hundred electronic trials, mediation and arbitration.
2010 – State of the Art: Predictive Coding
A great deal of discussion has taken place recently about a new form of document review that is taking the eDiscovery industry by storm: Predictive Coding. The reasons for this surge in interest are several – as discussed below – but the timing is not coincidental, as two major trends are colliding:
- The economics of traditional, linear review have become unsustainable
- The early returns from those employing Predictive Coding are nothing short of phenomenal and have given such early adopters a significant competitive advantage. Given the nascent stage of the Predictive Coding world, we thought the timing was right for a quick primer on what Predictive Coding is, what it isn’t, how it came to be and the problems it seeks to address.
Linear document review – where individual reviewers manually review and “code” documents ordered by date, keyword, custodian or other simple fashion – has been the accepted standard within the legal industry for decades. This was not a big deal when ESI volumes were measured in megabytes or even a few gigabytes; the explosion of data volumes over the past decade, however, has exposed traditional linear review as an exceedingly inefficient, costly and inconsistent approach to document review (which accounts for 60-70% of the costs of eDiscovery). There is simply so much data to be coded that the old model has become too slow and expensive to keep up. [Back in the early 90’s, we saw huge rooms full of coders, sometimes as many as one hundred, pouring over documents and hand-keying every single document; not the greatest jobs in the world either].
The Problems with Linear Document Review:
- False Positives – (i.e. irrelevant, unresponsive, or both), yet they are still reviewed by an attorney, which racks up huge amounts of unnecessary costs.
- Documents are typically not organized by topic which forces reviewers to jump from topic to topic, slowing down the process and leading to inaccurate results.
- Documents aren’t prioritized in any way (i.e. from most important to least important) so reviewers can miss key documents. A
- Finally, because individual attorneys typically know little about a case’s substance, multiple “passes” must be made over the same documents based on the substance of a particular review (i.e. a first pass for relevance, a second for responsiveness, a third for relationship to a substantive category, etc.). Add it all up and one is left with a woefully outdated and extremely expensive approach that is rapidly falling out of favor with clients and outside counsel.
A Plug for some very good software: Sanction & Verdical
Sanction has been in common use since it was first introduced in 1999 and is renowned for its excellent video playback and editing functions.
- Support for both standard legal industry utilized TIF Images and PDF Files.
- Importing and accessing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) from embedded PDF files.
- The internal capacity to create and access OCR from existing TIF Image formats or to import using Industry-Standard OCR Imports.
- Full support of numerous Industry-Standard load file formats for simplified case creation.
- Simplified and easy creation of precise and focused Video Designations – often in three mouse clicks.
- The functionality to import and play back standard DVD format files, along with playback of MPEG-2/4 encoded files.
- Extensive integrations with many leading Litigation Support Applications, such as Summation, Concordance, and Trial Director.
- The efficient creation of time-stamped synchronizations from transcripts of and video files from depositions.
- Bates Numbering, Exhibit Stamping and Printing of evidence electronically.
- Easy adjustment and adaptation of presentation evidence using simple keystrokes in customized formats.
- A suite of digital annotation tools for use in Presentation Mode facilitating enhancements to the evidence displayed.
- Supports both standard legal industry utilized TIF images and PDF files.
- Import and access OCR from embedded PDF files.
- Create and access OCR from existing TIF image formats or import through industry-standard OCR imports.
- Supports industry-standard load file formats for simplified case creation.
- Produce and track sets of document production including exhibit stamping and redaction.
- Enhanced organizational abilities with document and case Management through an extensive suite of enhancement tools.
- Create precise and focused Video Designations easily.
- Import and playback standard DVD format files, along with playback of MPEG-2/4 encoded files.
- Track, code and report within transcripts via specific and focused issue designations.
- Color coded reporting capabilities designed to simplify transcript designation creation and review abilities.
- Bates number, exhibit stamp and print evidence electronically.
- Adjust and adapt displayed evidence, via simple keystrokes, in user-created presentations.
- Enhance evidence presentation with a suite of annotation tools.
- Present and manage evidence presentation through advanced Lectern Presentation Mode.