Man vs. Machine?

The Round Table w/ Avalon

October 2012 – By JP Midgley, President

While attending the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) 2012 conference in August, I sat in on a panel discussion debating the hot topics of eDiscovery today. As many anticipated, predictive coding was brought up early in the discussion. If I took only one thought away from the conference it was from a comment made by George Socha (one of the founders of the EDRM model). I don’t remember the exact comment, but the takeaway was evident. Predictive coding isn’t meant to be a battle of attorney vs. machine.  Predictive coding is meant to be machine helping the attorneys. Continue reading

Round Table w/ Avalon: Email Threading for e-Discovery – July 2012

Predictive coding is all everyone is talking about these days. But, with predictive coding hogging all the e-discovery headlines, some of the less controversial tools that are used to speed up review have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Email threading is still a great tool to help reviewers make faster and more consistent coding decisions.  More times than not, corporate litigations’ discovery review consist largely of oceans of emails.  The consistently growing number of documents that review teams need to plow their way through is forcing people to be more creative.  This creativity is in both new software development and in the legal teams that have to find a way to meet production deadlines that are impossible to reach using only traditional review methods.

So, what’s email threading?  You know how when you email someone and they respond, the response often contains the original email below there response?  That’s an email thread.  Or maybe you have even gotten an email before that says “read string below” or “read form the bottom up”.  That’s another example of an email thread.  During discovery, each individual email response is a unique document that would normally be reviewed (e.g. the original email, then the response to the original, then the response to the response (see example below).

Email Threading Example

Using the example to the left, there would be three separate documents to be reviewed for discovery.  But, with the aid of email threading software such as Equivio (, reviewers would only need to review the final, all inclusive email, in order to make a decision (on relevance, confidentiality, etc.) on the entire thread of emails.  As another example, if you were given an entire email thread that included 10 previous emails that were all just a discussion about weekend golf, which has nothing to do with the case, a single inclusive document could be reviewed and marked “non-responsive”, and it would also mark all the individual emails the same.

Today, so much of our communication with each other is done by email. Given the nature of emailing and the frequency of rapid fire email responses, the number of documents to be reviewed anymore can be astronomical.  The use of email threading tools, in conjunction with the various document review platforms that support the technology, can save review teams thousands of attorney review hours and the client hundreds of thousands (if not millions!) of dollars in review costs,while also creating a more consistent designation of the documents being reviewed.

Using Email Threads

The Round Table w/Avalon

By: J.P. Midgley, President, Avalon Technologies

January 2012

You  can’t pick up a legal publication or check your email without getting bombarded with articles, advertisements, CLE announcements or case law involving new technology in litigation. Everything is “e-discovery this” or “ESI that”… I am hoping to avoid adding to the mass confusion and bombardment in this article by sorting through the major new technologies released in the last few years.

There is too much technology out there to comprehensively write about all of it in a single article.  Instead, we will focus on two types of new technology and dig into each of them enough to explain 1) what all the fuss is about and 2) give you enough knowledge to know what is out there so you’re prepared when the new case comes in and you ask yourself “Is there anything out there that does this…?” Continue reading

The Round Table w/Avalon

By: J.P. Midgley, President, Avalon Technologies

Over the last several years I have visited with several law firms and corporate legal teams to discuss efficient document reviews. One of the first questions I always ask is: “How many of you load the email discovery into Microsoft Outlook to do your review or to ‘take a quick peek?'”.  Without fail, at least 70% of the attorneys raise their hands. There is a better way!

Continue reading