The pandemic has changed many things. But one thing that has not changed is that lawyers involved in complex disputes need access to documents. Lots and lots of documents.
Few things in life are certain. But that’s one of them.
At BRG, our technology and analytics team is an important part of this. We help provide and categorize the documents and data necessary for litigation. From physical boxes of documents to digital downloads from mobile phones, we put it all together in a single platform so that teams of lawyers can go through it holistically and build their cases.
Before the pandemic, we would set up the documents in our offices. We’d put all the information in one room, stored securely with space to work. Digital data could be printed and boxed up, meeting rooms made available, and tea, coffee, soda and admin help put on tap.
It was a traditional solution. We received assistance from the team to sort all the documents chronologically and start printing them up. Teams could meet, work together, have meetings with their clients and get things done.
The pandemic, of course, stopped all that. While we can still fill a room with documents, we can’t fill it with people. It is possible to have one, maybe two, people in a data room at any one time, but meaningful team collaboration is out.
So, what is the solution? One could duplicate the data for every team member. Sometimes, that is what we have done. In cases with two or three hundred documents, it is possible.
But many of our cases are much more document heavy. At the beginning of the pandemic, home office selfies were a fun feature of social media. But few home offices I’ve seen can take fifty, let alone one hundred, bank boxes of docs.
The solution is the eDiscovery document review.
eDiscovery isn’t new. It’s been around for the last decade. But it has really come into its own recently.
Very simply, an eDiscovery is a secure online platform where all the data that would have been in boxes is scanned and digitized. Electronic documents and multimedia files are collected. The data is processed, categorized and extracted of meaningful data. Digital documents are stored in the most user-friendly manner.
What makes it a “room”, not a “drive”, is the fact that the software allows teams of lawyers to access the data simultaneously so that they can continue to collaborate in working together.
It is a great solution, and in many ways, it is better than what it replaces.
We are currently running eDiscovery for clients engaged in a construction dispute. Their team is able to work together on scanned paper files, just like before. But it is so much easier for them to access plans, maps and 3D reconstructions online.
And, as more of our life goes online, it is becoming increasingly less appropriate to access digital data in a physical way.
You can print off all the text messages from a seized mobile phone. And we’ve done that. But a printed text message alone doesn’t contain all the valuable metadata. You can get so much more by accessing it as a digital file.
And digital data rooms are much more secure. You can’t take documents out of them and misplace them on the way home or struggle putting them back in order after reviewing.
And you can run powerful digital searches for keywords. Apply analytics. Analyze patterns. Get AI to assist on the review. Try doing that to a bank box.
People still love paper, and we get that. But there are so many reasons to use digital data rooms even when the quantity of data isn’t overwhelming.
In my next article, I will explain exactly how digital data rooms work and what powerful features they have.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, position, or policy of Berkeley Research Group, LLC or its other employees and affiliates.