Blog Post

Why AI and e-Discovery Make the Perfect Partnership

November 29, 2018

Given the current hype in the market, you could be forgiven for thinking that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about to rid the world of disease, end global poverty, sort out the economic and political unrest, while simultaneously making us a perfect cup of coffee.

However, while we should all beware of the hype cycle – technology has a reputation for being talked up to the max and under-delivering on those expectations.  When it comes to AI, the hype in certain circumstances is worth it.

AI has been around since the 1950s, but it has only really come to the spotlight since being paired with deep learning.  This technological breakthrough, coupled with the sheer volume of data we are now producing, means the AI can be ‘trained’ on these huge swathes of data, then use this learned information to recognize patterns or anomalies that are too subtle for humans to process.

AI in the Legal Sector

When it comes to the legal sector, AI is still in its infancy in terms of what it could achieve.  One of the most useful applications so far has been partnering AI with e-Discovery.  This is not new news;
e-Discovery has been relying on technology to find the needle in the data haystack for years now in the form of predictive coding and Technology Assisted Review (TAR).  The days of crowded rooms full of lawyers sifting through boxes of document are (or at least should be) long gone.  The advantages of predictive coding and TAR are clear: it means fewer tedious tasks being done by highly skilled, highly paid lawyers who then have more time to conduct greater levels of in-depth analysis work on the case itself.

But it goes beyond just time and costs savings when AI is added into the mix.  With predictive coding, and early versions of TAR the information has to be input into the machine the right way; and the data must be in a specific structure.  This presents a real challenge, especially in class action suits or huge corporate litigation cases.  The sheer volume of data, even with technology’s help, still requires much human intervention to make sure there is neither too much information nor too little, and that the correct data is captured and brought to the lawyer’s attention.

How eDiscovery Comes In

However, when combined, e-Discovery and AI alleviate this problem.  AI uses huge amounts of both structured and unstructured data to find patterns and nuances that would otherwise be almost impossible to find.  The e-Discovery and AI combination can prioritize documents and information that is most pertinent; it learns as it goes along which documents are becoming more relevant and then selects these over others, constantly adapting to any changes.  AI is also 100% consistent.  If there are 50 people reviewing documents there will be some inconsistency in the review results – that’s human nature.  With AI this doesn’t happen; therefore the quality of the review and discovery process is consistently high.

The other advantage of e-Discovery and AI is that it makes connections between tiny details and spots correlations between obscure features.  This means that the minutiae of each case can be sifted and sorted, and new evidence or previously uncovered details could be discovered.  At some point these details could change the outcome of a litigation process.

Partnering e-Discovery with AI isn’t about taking jobs from lawyers – quite the opposite.  It’s about augmenting the high level of skill that lawyers possess and arming them with the right information to present their case in the best possible way.  Having the most relevant information to hand quickly through AI and e-Discovery means lawyers get to make the most of their review time.  They have more time to think, analyze and prepare their arguments, and are armed with more details to prove each point.  The result?  Lawyers who use AI and e-Discovery should stand a greater chance of winning their cases.  AI and e-Discovery therefore protect jobs by reinforcing the value that GCs and lawyers provide to the business.

Download: GC's Guide to Making the Case for Technology