I’ve often wondered where I would be in my career if I hadn’t worked for an attorney who embraced technology. Just being open to the idea of an automated process and advocating the concept of saving money throughout the life of a case was astounding and enlightening since, at that time, there were still attorneys in our practice who were writing their letters by hand. We’re faced with the decision to stay put or move ahead with technology trends every day. Technology is always evolving. For me, the game changer was Technology Assisted Review (TAR). Just when we got comfortable with review in a database (versus flipping through binders), TAR changed everything.
Here’s a common example of TAR technology. When you’re searching the internet, and typing a search into the search box, the engine can almost finish your thought for you, right? That’s because the user has taught the search engine. And when the results come back, how often do you click to page 2, 3 or 4 within the results? Probably not that often because the deeper we review the results, we realize they become less and less relevant. This is exactly how TAR works.
eDiscovery technology, specifically TAR, is used for culling, filtering, clustering, concept searching, de-duping, email threading, and many other tools spanning across the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). These are all considered to be a part of TAR, but typically when there is a discussion around TAR it is related to predictive coding systems, which take your human knowledge and leverage technology to filter relevant documents in a timely matter reducing costs.
Even though TAR seems relatively new to most litigators, it has been around long enough that the courts are accepting it, and there are different workflows associated with the process, TAR 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. When identifying the best workflow, be sure carefully consider the needs of the case and also have a good understanding of the associated terminology. I would say the number one advantage of incorporating TAR into your review is the reduction of cost. Depending on the size of the case, the savings can span from several thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars. And in addition to saving money, you’re also saving time. By using TAR, you’re also in a position to look at the relevant documents much earlier in the life cycle of the case and determine whether or not settlement should be considered. In some instances, it will even alert the team to mistakes, such as documents that have been tagged incorrectly. Can you see how using TAR before they are ever exported to outside counsel by only gathering relevant documents would be beneficial to the client?
In the end, TAR has been established as a much smarter and more effective process than human review. And as you become more comfortable with the different phases of the EDRM, you’ll recognize that this advancement in technology is definitely a game changer.