Australia: The importance of having an eDiscovery expert on your side

Last Updated: 5 November 2018
Article by Matthew Hollings

As a company we are incredibly proud of the growth of our eDiscovery & Consulting services since our investment in the technology back in 2004. At that time, we had been operating as a legal process outsourcing company specialising in the production and digitisation of legal documents for our clients (across private practice, government and corporate). However, we realised that the future of legal practice, particularly in the space of legal document review, was going to undergo an extreme amount of change in the short to mid-term. It would face challenges that could not be solved by traditional review practices. As a result, our eDiscovery/electronic team was born.

Since 2004, our services within the electronic review space have expanded in the same exponential matter as the data to which these tools are now applied. There have been significant and amazing developments in the functionality and capability of the tools, with AI and data analytics being a common feature on almost all of our projects. So too has there been an even greater growth in the role played by those people responsible for working with legal teams to utilise these tools. Enter the dedicated eDiscovery/electronic review expert.

As the data structures, working environments, project requirements and time lines become more complex and compounded, and the capacity of these legal review tools expand and grow, the role played by an electronic review expert (like one of our consultants) becomes critical to the success of any legal review project. The involvement of a consultant in the process, both as early and as frequently as possible, can assist in untangling the complex digital requirements of a review project. They can identify potential risks and challenges to enable the design of appropriate review strategies which save you time by implementing workflows that empower you to conduct your review in the most efficient and effective way possible.

In this day and age, the emphasis is on specialisation and niche working markets. Lawyers are not expected to be generalists in the application of the law but instead focus on building a specialist knowledge of distinct area of legal practice. With specialistion comes a depth of knowledge that allows for acute understanding of the issues, swift development of the appropriate solution and, generally, the achievement of a winning outcome for your client. Our consultants operate in the exact same way. Our consultants are not IT generalists, they are legal review experts with countless years of experience working on a range of projects, with a range of teams and an infinite number of individual outcomes. Our consultants are here to provide you with the same level of expertise in relation to electronic review as you do for your clients in relation to the legal challenges. We are always striving to act as an extension of our clients' teams. We work with them to overcome their challenges, ensuring that their review is complete accurately and as quickly as possible so that together, we can deliver a winning outcome for your client.

The current technological landscape makes the availability of relevant information, like the legislation from which you might advise your client, or technology, like those tools that our consultants use to assist you in your projects, open and freely accessible (within reason) to a lot of people. However, to access and read the legislation, or purchase and install the technology, is one thing. To have the expertise and know how to apply it is a different proposition entirely. I ordinarily liken it to me trying to complete a reasonably substantial home improvement. Sure, I can go to a hardware store and purchase the tools, equipment and materials. I know what it is that I want to do and achieve but I certainly have to question whether I really am the best person to complete the job. I might get there eventually, but how long will it take? Obviously, far too long. Do I have the time to wait? Clearly not. What will the quality of my work and the finished product look like? A mess. Could I have been doing something more productive with my time? Most definitely. Could someone else have done it faster and better than me? 100%.

The era of specialisation is upon us and it is incumbent on us all to lean on those with the most experience to help us achieve the most efficient and effective outcome for all involved. You can rest-assured that I will not be doing my own home repairs without a great deal of assistance and you certainly shouldn't have to wade through the complex and ever-changing world of eDiscovery/electronic review without the help of the most experienced consultants!

Law In Order has one of the largest teams of experts across our offices throughout the Asia Pacific region specialising in all manner of electronic review disciplines, from information governance and forensic collection/preservations, through to review workflows and solutions (simple to complex). Our team has worked on a broad range of projects from investigations and regulatory responses through to small, medium and large disputes, across every conceivable jurisdiction.

Should you be about to embark on your on review or are in the midst of one at the moment, reach out to one of our experts for a complimentary matter scoping or health check.

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