Revolutionize your eDiscovery practice with AI-powered Image Analytics

In this technology-driven world, the use of mobile phones (for everything really!) continues to skyrocket and it is not limited to our personal life only but due to the global pandemic where workplaces became virtual (or hybrid), usage of mobile phones for business working also increased significantly. Checking emails, virtual meeting via Zoom or GoToMeeting, reviewing or editing business documents, and business communication (messaging and phone calls) all have been done by employees via their mobile phones.

That is the reason data collected from such mobile devices is increasing in current litigations. Mobile data has plenty of multimedia files (i.e. photos, audio, and video) and chat/text files as well. Therefore, specialized tools and techniques should be in place to collect data from mobile devices in a forensically sound manner. Chat/text files and native formats can easily be ingested, processed, and reviewed, as these are searchable files. One can easily cull down data by using relevant terms but photos or images are not generally word searchable in the traditional sense. Therefore, litigation teams can’t always use them as easily or effectively, even as photos become crucial evidence or game-changer in some cases eg IP Litigation.

Secondly, even if we talk about non-mobile data collected for general eDiscovery, it also has images or photo-based evidences especially in Infrastructure, IPR, or Civil disputes. Product design or blueprints, BIM designs, and drawings are in image formats most of the time. All these image-based data are in GB or TB volumes in some cases. Manually reviewing this data could be time-consuming and costly. Here technology can be your valuable resource slashing down the attorney review time and ultimately cost.

Let’s imagine a scenario

Image Recognition

An energy regulator notifies an organization for breaching environmental regulations during a drilling operation. There are 15 custodians in scope whose computer and phones data are being collected as ESI. The data collected, of around 180 GB, consists of email, chat backup, documents, and photos. Out of the total volume, 35 to 40 percent of data were multimedia files, the majority of them are photos collected from individuals’ phones on the drill site. These photos are of everything but the regulator is seeking photos in which engineers can be seen working on the pipes and drilling.

Manually reviewing the image dataset is time-consuming and expensive as well. For example, if we consider 400 photos per GB then reviewers need to go over a total of 28,800 photos. Let’s assume a speed of 2 photos per minute for manually reviewing and labeling those photos and marking them responsive/non-responsive. It might take at least 240 human hours (approx. a whole week for a team of 6 attorneys.)

On the flip side, if we leverage machine learning-enabled Image Analytics in this scenario it only takes a few hours. Firstly, Image Analytics identifies similar or duplicate images and trims down the data set accordingly. Thereafter ML-powered algorithm uses object detection techniques to recognize objects, scenes in the images/photos (in this case drills, pipes, and water). Based on their analysis, the Image Analytics engine adds a label to each image. There can also be multiple labels added to the images. For example, if there is a photo in which four engineers are working together on the drill site. It adds labels like hardhat, drill, pipe, etc.

Once we have labels ready on each image, we can easily filter them out using relevant search terms. It also shows an accuracy level with each label added by the system. From our example above… let us now assume there are around 8,640 images (30% of total volume) that hit/qualify from our search terms (eg hardhat, drill, pipe). We can further trim down the volume by executing advanced searches (i.e. images that have two labels named “drill” and “water”). Even if we push all 8,640 filtered images for a manual review then it will still cut down review time to 72 hours because the images have been culled and only need to be tagged responsive or non-responsive, no need to add a label because it’s already done by ML-powered Image analytics.

Watch this video to learn how Knovos eDiscovery Image Analytics works

Isn’t it worth considering? Especially when the pressure of cutting-down eDiscovery costs and improving service delivery is higher than ever for law firms. PS it’s not just images, even copyright infringement type of issues can also be investigated with Image Analytics by searching usage of logos and designs within a variety of documents and files.

Legal Technology

How law firms dealt with the pandemic? and lessons for the future!

Any businesses associated with the practice of law are often perceived as old-fashioned or change-resistant. Still, law practitioners (senior management, attorneys, litigation support specialists, and paralegals) presented outstanding adaptability, welcoming remote work culture. Not only in terms of technology adoption, but law firms also moved to a new mindset of working, that few of us had ever anticipated.

This unprecedented chapter (global health pandemic) made people realize that the change is not that hard to accept nor does it snatch your hard-earned legacy. More lawyers now agree that technology never replaces their expertise!

Here are a few classic scenarios and the learning points out of them:

Transition to Process-oriented work approach

The age when a senior attorney called a paralegal for the latest version of a document is soon coming to a close. The Covid-19 shutdown dictated that staff at all levels needed to get more autonomous and start learning how to use their (new and old!) technology. Law firms all around the globe accepted a process-oriented work methodology in which dependence on a person (physical or virtual) could be minimized. After a long time, people began focusing again on outlining processes. They identified the gaps in the existing one and ultimately tried sorting it out.

Transition to a cloud-based data storage/collaboration environment

On-premise storage environments, the stalwart of law firms, need continuous maintenance and monitoring by IT, this can be a problem working with a skeleton staff. On-premise setups and shared drives present limitations for remote working employees. These are the reasons law firms initiated the long-pending cloud transformation! A few law firms even upgraded their desktop-based legacy applications to a similar cloud solution. There are numerous managed cloud solutions available for small or mid-sized law firms that don’t have in-house IT resources. In my opinion, cloud transformation will continue as work from home culture is part of the new normal.

Court proceedings could remain virtual!

“Virtual proceedings are the best way to maintain social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the continued administration of justice through the duration of the crisis,” said a Suffolk County Courts’ Administrative Judge.

It was 31st of March 2020 when Judicial Conference of the United States approved video and teleconferencing for certain criminal proceedings. Since then not only in the USA but from all around the world, courts started delivering justice with the use of technology. To keep pace with this new trend, law firms have begun adopting modern technologies. However, few courts have moved all their processes back to their previous physical way of working, now they know the power of technology.

Aversion to technology will leave firms lagging behind

No business can afford ‘aversion’ to technology. Clients are more collaborative than ever and expect the same from their legal representatives. Without having a robust technology for matter management, document management, and tasks management in place, a law firm can’t serve the clients in an efficient way. Client expectations will go up with time and more advancement from law firms will be needed.

Did you know?

An overwhelming 84 percent of law firms plan to increase their technology budget

– 2021 report on the state of legal market by Thomson Reuters

Improving service delivery to clients is imperative for law firms and that’s the reason the majority of law firms are investing in innovative technology.

Tech-savvy lawyers could be the most important assets for the firm

Years of experience sure does matter, which is why the demand for senior lawyers and their expertise can never go out of vogue. However, with the recent adoption of virtual hearings + technology-backed court proceedings, new lawyers who are regular users of Zoom, GoToMeeting, Slack, Case Scheduler tool, and Cloud-based document collaboration platform are in high demand. Clients also prefer at least one tech-savvy player on the team to deal with legal proceedings’ virtual setup. Meanwhile, this virtual setup is here to stay for as long as courts are willing to continue virtual hearings.

Mapping Team’s productivity is more crucial than ever

The legal industry has often been a fan of micro-management. However, work from home culture has forced us all to reconsider this. Legal professionals often face innumerable distractions or interruptions when working from home due to lack of privacy, poor internet connections, and electricity outages during civil maintenance, and heavy storm or weather conditions. To counter such situations, law firms rely on various technology solutions to map teams’ productivity and help them cope with challenges to perform better even when working from home. Law firms of any size can leverage case or matter management platforms that are available on a flexible deployment model.

Do more with less – a success mantra for the future

Resource optimization is always crucial. It is time to upskill your team and identify the gap in routine work. You can hire Quality Excellence consultants to reinvent your internal processes. An optimized process-driven work methodology adds confidence when adding new projects using technology.

Automate monotonous tasks for cutting down operation costs!

There is no reason to allocate your expensive resources on repetitive and laborious tasks, rather automate them, and allocate resources on priority stuff that requires a logical ability (i.e. extensive legal research, litigation strategy building, review evidence, and other case-related documents). Sending a follow-up email for the requested information, reminders for due payment to clients, checking court deadlines and notifying stakeholders, manually assigning tasks to junior, and keeping a tab on ongoing tasks could be automated with a powerful legal project management platform.

Embrace Technology, instead of tools!

Sometimes energy is wasted on managing special-purpose tools. Small tools seem to be powerful and easy to use but using such individual tools on regular basis isn’t practical. It will add the burden of pushing data and exporting it from one to another. This also raises a question on data integrity. Law firms should approach an end-to-end technology, not individual tools, that fulfills all the requirements from start and end. It minimizes data pushing and pulling efforts.

Think twice before choosing a technology vendor

The effort, time, and money would go in vain if you deal with the wrong vendor or wrong tools. The foremost rule is to be clear about your challenges and set technology requirements. You can form a committee (which have members from all the department and from all levels) for internal assessment. Choose a vendor who has in-house built technology and who offers flexible pricing and deployment model. You should go with a vendor that allows you to choose cloud options of your choice. At Knovos, we facilitate our clients to choose between Knovos’ cloud, their own cloud, or any preferred third-party cloud. Never choose a technology that requires high-level change management (until you are prepared for it). Assess risks before adopting any new process workflow, as sometimes the vendor can discard your existing flow. Instead, you can choose a vendor who has a technology that fits into your current flow and improve your service delivery.

Wrapping up
The legal world has embraced the challenges of the last couple of years and evolved well! Now, lowering operational costs and improving service delivery are two mandates for law firms in 2022 and ahead. So plan a big transformation and put it into action.


How does “Case Strategy” impact data collection in e-Discovery?

Data Collection – the first step in an eDiscovery project is usually underrated by the end-to-end managing team. The reason for this is because the data collection piece is often considered to be an “IT team only” task.

However, we believe the time has now come for the core discovery people and lawyers to look into the collection process more keenly, because… a stitch in time, saves nine.

The same proverb applies to Disclosure. Data Collection is the first step towards eDiscovery and if you apply the wrong strategy (i.e. collect everything) then you might end up with needlessly massive costs and extended time scales. With the global pandemic, the pressure on legal teams to work efficiently and decrease spending is more pronounced than ever.

A key factor to accomplish this “Data Collection” phase is for the personnel involved to have a detailed understanding of the target, volume, and nature of the data they are ‘anticipating’ to collect which naturally impacts other stages of eDiscovery. However, corporations usually determine the collection process to be the responsibility of their respective IT Team and not the legal strategists or the e-discovery provider.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few great examples of why it makes sense for the legal team and e-discovery specialists to keenly participate in the early data collection, not simply to give IT an idea of what to shoot for:

Scenario 1: The case is likely to be heading for an early-settlement

Only the legal team would know if the matter looks like it may be heading for an early settlement. If so, then you should avoid collecting and processing a large set of data because in the end there could be no use for it in this scenario. If the task is simply left to IT, they are likely to take the safest approach which is “don’t leave anything out!”

Scenario 2: When a case has a large volume of potential data and the court deadline is short

In this case, you should hire experts and an eDiscovery vendor early that can help you identify and help collect only highly relevant data for the case and perform dynamic processing as you go (rolling!). So, an efficient targeted data collection will help you save time and cut out the inefficiencies that come from having to trawl through heaps of data to find what you need.

Scenario 3: Nature of the data you are likely to collect

Your IT team might require more specialized resources from an e-discovery vendor if the source of a majority of the data set is for example custodians’ laptops and cellphones (as opposed to large-size structured data from business applications). In this case, the collection team will benefit from a larger skills pool of technicians/engineers.

Scenario 4: When advising clients who have recurring litigation needs involving the same individuals.

Legal counsel has started to see the advantages of data warehousing to decrease repetitive collection costs and improve response times, but they would need to be consulted from the start of the process before IT goes digging. The next wave of in-house counsel teams has already begun implementing software solutions that enable them to consolidate their recurring collection sets. E-Discovery software providers are helping them to re-use their work product so should also be consulted early. Of course, this would greatly improve the data collection piece and in some instances save IT the exercise altogether!

We at Knovos help you with in-house eDiscovery technology from data collection to production. We have an end-to-end eDiscovery solution recognized by Global AM 100 law firms and Fortune 100 corporations. We have a team of experts who can help you defining and executing a proper data collection and processing strategy.

Information Governance

CPRA (California Privacy Rights Act): An expansion to CCPA

It’s not even a decade or half, but just 15 months back, the Californian Government enforced a data protection regulation named CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). With a pleasant surprise (might be a dismal surprise for organizations!), another Act was announced recently named CPRA (California Privacy Rights Act).

Data Privacy Peers see the new regulation as an extension to CCPA, or you can say it CCPA 2.0. CPRA will come into the force from 1st January 2023, so businesses have enough time (almost two years) to fine-tune their processes and people. This time Privacy-Pro Californian citizens voted in the General election and passed ‘Proposition 24’ with 9,384,625(56.23%) votes in favor of CPRA. The same group also played a vital role for CCPA by gathering 6,29,000 signatures demanding an act for consumer data privacy in the country’s most populous state.

Now coming to the main topic, what’s new in the CPRA, and how will it foolproof Californians’ privacy?

Small or Mid-size businesses having 100,000 or fewer consumers or households are exempted; the same threshold was 50,000 in CCPA.

CPRA unveils a new category, ’Sensitive Personal-Information’ including the Social Security Number (SSN), driver’s license, credit or debit card number with login credentials, religious or philosophical beliefs, union membership, race or ethnicity, mail, email, text messages communication, genetic or biometric data, health information, sex life or sexual orientation information, and precise geolocation. Now consumers have new rights to limit the usage and purpose of their sensitive PI (Personal Information) being held by businesses. In order to comply with this Sensitive PI clause, Businesses have to revise privacy policy disclosure and develop an opt-in/out mechanism for this sensitive PI.

CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Law) is enforced by the California Office of Attorney General (OAG); no dedicated regulatory agency as GDPR has for implementation. However, the latest CPRA (California Privacy Rights Act) comes up with an agency named California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) with investigative, enforcement, and rule-making powers. Additionally, businesses have to conduct privacy risk assessments and cybersecurity audits for high-risk activities, and audit reports must be submitted to the authority on a ’Regular Basis.’ The dedicated agency will strengthen the enforcement of CPRA, say, experts.

CPRA triples the non-compliance penalty ($7500 per compromised record) concerning minors (under 16). So companies holding personal information of Kids have to be more alert.

Businesses reap the benefit of a 30-days cure period (after being notified about the alleged violation by the regulator) under CCPA, but it has been removed in the new regulation CPRA.

Right to Correction: Consumers may request to correct the Personal Information (PI) (if they find it inaccurate or old) held by businesses.

Right to opt-out of Automated Decision-making Technology: Consumers have the right to opt-out of the use of automated decision-making technology for their data held by an organization. This right may impact behavioral advertising and some other activities derived from personal preferences.

Additionally, CPRA adopts certain GDPR principles like Data Minimization, Purpose Limitation, and Storage limitation. To get more information about CPRA, click here.

CPRA Compliance Readiness Plan for enterprises

  • Enterprise Data Mapping

    Enterprise data are widespread across various business applications like ERP, HRMS, Collaboration software, Emails, and Messaging platforms. Especially in this remote working era, the data is widely placed across various geolocation too. First and foremost, identify the sources from where data being produced, stored and shared. Understand the interconnections between various sources. The Data Mapping exercise will give the complete visibility (on paper!) of data. This could be a combined exercise of the compliance/legal team and IT team. Cooperation from various other teams is exceptionally required.

  • Optimize Business Processes – Operational Governance

    By optimizing business processes, organizations enhance efficiency and reduce the volume of data generated. The cost of storing and managing sensitive business information is surging, so this activity also lowers the infrastructure expenditure to a certain extent.

  • Employee Training

    The fine-tuning of people, processes, and technology results in a compliance-ready organization, according to CPRA. Enterprises can hire process designers to define and optimize business processes and also invest in modern technology solutions. However, this won’t make much difference without a defined employee training program because, at last, the employees are the ones who follow processes and use technologies. Suppose every single employee understands the importance of data and how sensitive. In that case, it is in this digital world that you will build a zero-tolerance information management eco-system.

  • Revise Data Privacy Policy and its Enforcement

    In order to comply with the latest regulation CPRA, enterprises need to revise data privacy policy, and the same has been conveyed to new and existing customers with no delay. The enterprises should engage a legal expert in drafting the new data privacy policy and a technical expert for its implementation.

  • Put a robust Information Governance program into practice

    Information Governance expert Joe Bartolo observed behaviors of organizations as proactive, reactive, and inactive in terms of handling information [read his insightful article in Spring Issue of ILTA’s Peer-to-Peer magazine]. Most organizations are reactive in behavior because they wait for litigation or data privacy obligations to look into the data they hold. Now, the time is to be proactive in terms of governing information. A robust Information Governance should be in place that ensures data archival, data retention, automated purging of irrelevant or outdated data, and PII analytics & identification. Several other aspects like data subject access rights (DSAR), enterprise-wide granular permission mechanism, and redaction techniques should be considered while putting the IG program into practice. The specialized GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) solution like ‘Knovos GRC’ helps to implement a robust Information Governance program across the organization. Interested in a personalized demo? Schedule it now.

Wrap Up

One more time, an absence of a federal law of data protection became a topic of debate with recently announced state-wide regulations. California and some other states like Virginia and Oklahoma also passed regulations. New York is on its way to passing the NYDATA (New York Data Accountability and Transparency Act) for their states’ citizens.


5 Undeniable Facts About eDiscovery

eDiscovery is one of the most intriguing topics of discussion when examining the use of technology by the legal profession. It is clear that the act of finding and collecting potentially relevant evidence has morphed into a massive operation that involves large amounts of money, time, and other resources.

eDiscovery never fails to surprise and has constantly challenged legal professionals as new sources of data continually arise. Initially, eDiscovery started with emails and computer files, but today, it has reached IoT and collaborative data types with their collection and processing challenges. Additionally, ephemeral forms of data create new preservation challenges for organizations.

Isn’t this interesting?

Increasingly corporate organizations are taking steps to gain greater awareness and control of the data within their disparate data landscape, and are taking steps to store data systematically so that when the need arises, eDiscovery can be addressed with greater efficiency and more predictable costs. According to the Facts & Factors report, the global eDiscovery market size & share will reach USD 24.12 billion by 2026.

Here are some interesting facts about the eDiscovery showing the importance of the topic for the use of technology by the legal profession:

1. It is the survival of the fittest

eDiscovery solutions market is getting tougher with increasing digitalization. To survive in this competitive market, eDiscovery solution providers have to be on top of their game. In the future, it is expected systems that support remote collaboration, communication technologies, and aggressive migration into the cloud will only be in demand.

2. eDiscovery is not for everyone

eDiscovery requires advanced technology and expertise to process, analyze, review and produce evidence within a limited time from large volumes of data. The eDiscovery process is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack and can be overly costly if not properly managed.

3. Data types are increase like no end

As per recent statistics, the number of IoT devices will reach up to 25.1 billion by 2025. Internet of things (IoT) data has been found helpful in solving cases in the recent past. Also, people are relying more on smart devices for their day-to-day activities like booking appointments, taking notes, making calls, home security, etc. The world is already flooded with IoT data and this trend will only increase.

4. TAR is the new normal

When going for eDiscovery, nobody opts for traditional methods anymore; Technology Assisted Review (TAR) is the new normal. According to Rand Corporation, 73% of total eDiscovery cost is spent on Document Review, and TAR is definitely helpful in saving time and money without compromising the quality.

5. Metadata is the dominant datatype

Metadata is crucial for eDiscovery. Various forms of metadata are readily attainable from disparate data formats, and the extracted metadata provides vital information to the attorneys involved in any litigation. Metadata’s importance has been acknowledged by courts and FRCP and is considered to be part of any document. Metadata gives us insight into the history of an individual record, and reveals who authored and made edits to a document, and when those revisions were made, thus proving very useful when examining electronic records.

Wrap up

Above mentioned are the few undeniable facts about eDiscovery. Even though it is a complex process, one cannot deny its impact on the legal profession. It has become a profitable industry since existing in a world where 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day, eDiscovery is the only way to find relevant information in most modern litigation matters. Knovos has over two decades of experience in the eDiscovery industry, and after all these years we are proud to say that our Knovos Discovery technology is one of the most advanced eDiscovery solutions in the market.