Electronic Discovery: Unplugged

Forensic Focus - May 2015

Electronic discovery has been a hot topic in recent years – many clients now appreciate the advantages having evidence in an electronic format provides

There are, however, a number of practical issues that can arise with document reviews, with common comments being:

  • I have a team of reviewers as well as a client and an expert all wanting to look at the same documents at the same time, it’s a nightmare to manage;
  • My client has to physically come into the office to review the documents (or – we have duplicate versions of the database running – at the law firm and in-house, but we can’t work collaboratively)
  • Our reviewers would like to have easy access to the documents, without carrying boxes of paper around with them;
  • There is no easy way to record and review comments about specific documents;
  • We cannot justify the capital and operational expenditure involved in having a review system in-house;
  • ·Our expertise is law – we don’t have the right skill set to run a data warehouse.

Why online Discovery?

If you have been part of an electronic discovery project as a client or reviewer you’ll be aware of the issues that may arise. The comments above might sound familiar?

Last year we implemented Relativity to address these issues.  Relativity is one of the leading online investigation and litigation review platforms globally.  We host data for clients in Relativity for litigation purposes.  We also use this same review platform for our own investigations and expert witness roles.

In this article we discuss some of the benefits of using an Online Discovery platform.

One source of the truth

For efficiency reasons you may want to provide simultaneous access to the same documents to multiple parties (your review team, clients, experts, etc.).

Historically this resulted in many clients keeping multiple versions of the same database/case with numerous hours trying to sync the various versions into one complete database.

Online Discovery solutions allow you to provide all users with simultaneous secure access to one database.  It is simple.  No more waiting and no more recording who has what – you can focus on managing the quality of the review.

No infrastructure required

Using an Online Discovery provider removes the hassle of data storage and infrastructure set up.  All of your data is securely stored in a purpose built data warehouse and can simply be accessed from any computer with an internet connection and login.  There is no need for upfront capital investment (which is often significant given the need for security and speed).

Online Discovery providers typically charge a modest monthly reviewer licence and data storage fee that can be stopped at any time.

However, it is important that you are comfortable with the security of the data warehouse containing your information.  Key questions to ask your provider include:

  • Where is my data stored?
  • Who has control and access to the data?
  • What security measures are in place to prevent any hacking or data leak scenarios?
  • Can my data be securely deleted on request?

Reduced technology risk

The technology around discovery is fast moving, with vendors constantly innovating.  What is “hot” today can be “not” tomorrow.  There is considerable cost and risk involved in selecting an in-house solution.  Perhaps the greatest risk is selecting a solution that is outdated shortly after implementation.  The Online Discovery provider takes all of the risk in selecting and funding the solution.


Another fantastic advantage with using an Online Discovery provider is flexibility.  If you get a large case that requires “all hands to the pump”, the additional reviewers (including client side if needed) can be rapidly provided access to the documents, regardless of where they are located.  You can simply expand or contract the level of resource you require.

Deep expertise

Discovery (putting aside the actual review of the documents) is increasingly becoming a complex technical subject, requiring a vast array of skills.  We offer clients a deep pool of technical skills, including data analytics and forensic technology, which can have a significant bearing on the efficiency and accuracy of document reviews.  Deloitte has a vast team of discovery professionals globally that we can call on to assist, as required.

No paper required

If you’re on the go, there is no need to carry boxes of confidential files or folders with you.  Online Discovery platforms provide you with the ability to readily access your case simply with an internet connection and login credentials.  This means you can now securely review documents in the comfort of your own home or while in transit.

Many online solutions, including Relativity, allow you to access your documents on your tablet or iPad.

Remove the fuss, focus on the review

When it comes to reviewing the documents, you want it to be easy and straightforward. Users should be able to use the tool with 30 minutes of training.

We have found that users can become proficient Relativity reviewers within 20 - 30 minutes of training. Our reviewers find Relativity easy to use and enjoy the simplicity of the interface, yet it has serious “horsepower under the bonnet”.  We will highlight some of these features in future updates.

Quality Assurance

Once your reviewers have spent hours reviewing the documents, you want to have confidence that everything has been reviewed and ‘coded’ accurately.

Most online Discovery platforms provide you with the ability to QA your work within the online review tool, not only at the end of the project but during the project, as often as required.

Most platforms will also have the ability to create instantaneous dashboards showing key metrics such as the volume of documents reviewed by person, the number of documents coded as ‘Relevant’, etc.

How can we help?

If you would like to learn more about Relativity and/or how an Online Discovery platform works, please do not hesitate to contact Jason Weir, Lisa Tai or Mel Maddox.

Did you find this useful?