Let’s face it, I can be real with you and we can agree that despite my ongoing efforts to incorporate change into your workflow, this is really not what we signed up for. I didn’t sign up for this either, but here’s a newsflash; the internet is not going away and neither is anything related to electronic discovery. The good news is that now we have intelligence . . . LOL!
So let me start by telling you I never thought I would ask a team member if we used ‘intelligence’ to review the discovery. Secondly, I’m laughing even as I write this because you and I both know what “LOL” means – we’ve all come a long way. The lawyers, the paralegals, support staff and even the courts are in this industry because we love to practice law and I think we can all agree that this generation has seen more change in the legal industry with regard to workflows and technology than ever before. In preparation for this piece, I researched the term: Intelligence. Frankly, I could use every allowable character in this blog just to relay the varying definitions but instead I’d like to focus on two of them.
Intelligence: Capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc. (Dictionary.com)
Now think about your new warehouse of documents that are not always produced in banker boxes but often on a piece of digital media and apply this definition. By using intelligence, we can now learn and understand similar forms, truths, relationships, facts and meanings about the discovery. For example, Summation offers the family panel, a window of information about whether the document has an attachment or not. The conversation panel opens a huge window revealing the entire thread of the discussion, the attachments, and if any new threads were started from a similar email. The similar panel opens a window to see if there are other documents that are similar in nature or exact copies. Further, you have the tools to compare them side by side and then based on your finding, either dismiss them all together from further review or add them as relevant with just a click.
There are other panels that offer insight such as the linked panel which might cross reference a document that either supports or contradicts your theories. The production history panel also offers information about the production history. These are no doubt a result of your work product but still offer intelligence surrounding the document. Let’s move on to another definition.
Intelligence: The ability to adapt effectively to the environment, either by making a change in oneself or by changing the environment or finding a new one . . . intelligence is not a single mental process, but rather a combination of many mental processes directed toward effective adaptation to the environment. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006).
Now this is my favorite! First of all it came from a good, old fashioned encyclopedia. Second, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink! I know I don’t have to explain this to you any further, but seriously let’s lose the everlasting natural response to resist change. Here’s a better question, “Why would you?”
Considering your new circumstances in managing discovery, these intelligence windows provide you with exactly what you need to streamline your review and get back to practicing law. I encourage you to be the reason for the change and not the reason your team didn’t. These are game changing tools to give you some traction, manage these large volumes of data and make you look good!
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” -Stephen Hawking