Redactions Done Right: How to Avoid the Manafort Fiasco

The attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort appear to have made a rather significant mistake in a court filing earlier this week, allowing redacted portions to be revealed by copying and pasting the text to a new document. The filing reveals alleged campaign communications between Manafort and Russian operative in which he shared polling data during the campaignan allegation that Manafort earlier denied to federal investigators.

While an essential component of litigation review, redaction mistakes are easy to make, as it’s cumbersome and time-consuming to go through a document and draw black boxes over individual words and phrases. When redaction missteps occur, it can mean trouble for attorneys and their clients—including running afoul of various applicable rules including the American Bar Association’s rule on confidentiality. Continue reading

What to Expect from Technology-Assisted Review in 2019

This article first appeared in Law360 on January 3, 2019.

2018 will be remembered as a transition year for technology-assisted review. The battle over whether we can use TAR has all but disappeared, and our attention has turned to how we will use TAR — an inquiry with two clear dimensions. In litigation, the question is whether, and to what extent, we will put TAR under a microscope and force the discussion of parameters surrounding the implementation of the technology-assisted review process. Outside of litigation, the focus has shifted to identifying alternative techniques and other applications for TAR technology within the legal space. Continue reading

Where There’s Smoke… Look for Fire! Using Internal Investigations to Protect Your IP

Trade secrets are immensely valuable, and warrant every ounce of protection that can be mustered. And some industries—such as pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and software development—are particularly at risk for trade secret theft. Years of effort and investment in research and development can simply walk out the front door on a mobile device or thumb drive, or be transferred or disclosed to outside parties through email or personal cloud or social media accounts—in either case, directly winding up a competitor’s hands. Continue reading

High-Efficiency Review Enables Client to Meet Short Deadlines; Significantly Reduces Costs

Catalyst Managed Review + TAR 2.0 Finds 94% of the Relevant Documents

Our client, a global corporation, was facing an investigation by a government agency into alleged price fixing. The regulators believed they would find the evidence in the documents and issued a broad request—with just four months to get the job done.

This wasn’t a case of finding a needle in a haystack. Rather, a wide range of documents were responsive. A sample of the initial collection suggested that as many as 45% of the documents would be responsive. One option was to produce everything but the client had a significant amount of confidential and proprietary information that it did not want to be inadvertently exposed. Thus, they needed to produce responsive documents, but only responsive documents. Continue reading

Breaking Up the Family: Reviewing on a Document Level Is More Efficient

Lawyers have been reviewing document families as a collective unit since well before the advent of technology-assisted review (TAR).

They typically look at every document in the family to decide whether the family as a whole (or any part of it) is responsive and needs to be produced, or withheld in its entirety as privileged. Most lawyers believe that is the most efficient way to conduct a review. Continue reading

Can You Do Good TAR with a Bad Algorithm?

Should proportionality arguments allow producing parties to get away with poor productions— simply because they wasted a lot of effort due to an extremely bad algorithm? That was a question that Dr. Bill Dimm, founder and CEO of Hot Neuron (the maker of Clustify software), posed in a recent blog post, TAR, Proportionality, and Bad Algorithms (1-NN) and it was the subject of our TAR Talk podcast.

This question is critical to e-discovery, and especially relevant to technology-assisted review (TAR). Listen to our short podcast led by Bill, with participants Mary Mack from ACEDS, and Catalyst’s John Tredennick and Tom Gricks, in a discussion on whether one can do “good” TAR with a bad algorithm. Continue reading

Are People the Weakest Link in Technology Assisted Review? Not Really.

In mid-October, our friend Michael Quartararo wrote a post for Above the Law asking whether people were the weakest link in technology-assisted review (TAR). Michael offered some thoughts around whether this may be the case, but he didn’t really answer the question. So, we have to ask:

Why aren’t more people using TAR?

One answer is that there is still a lot of confusion about different types of TAR and how they work. Unfortunately, it appears that Michael’s post may have added to the confusion because he did not differentiate between legacy TAR 1.0 and TAR 2.0. Our first thought was to let the article pass without rejoinder or correction. To our surprise, however, it has been cited and reposted as authoritative by several others. To that end, we want to help clarify a number of Michael’s points. We will quote from his post. Continue reading

Catalyst Releases New eBook on Legal Operations Strategies for Effective Oversight and Control of Discovery Spend

Gone are the days when corporate law departments could fly under the radar, operating outside of budgets (or without budgets) because litigation was deemed too capricious and unpredictable to effectively manage like other business units within the company.

Today’s corporate law department is expected to run like any other high-performing business department: on budget, with measurable results. In-house counsel and e-discovery teams, increasingly led by legal operations professionals, thus need to learn how to accommodate and work within shrinking budgets, controlling costs without sacrificing outcomes. Continue reading

Using TAR for Asian Language Discovery

In the early days, many questioned whether technology assisted review (TAR) would work for non-English documents. There were a number of reasons for this but one fear was that TAR only “understood” the English language.

Ironically, that was true in a way for the early days of e-discovery. At the time, most litigation support systems were built for ASCII text. The indexing and search software didn’t understand Asian character combinations and thus couldn’t recognize which characters should be grouped together in order to index them properly. In English (and most other Western languages) we have spaces between words, but there are no such obvious markers in many Asian languages to denote which characters go together to form useful units of meaning (equivalent to English words). Continue reading

Was It a Document Dump or a Deficient TAR Process?

TAR TalkThat’s the topic of our recent TAR Talk podcast.* We talked about the recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia In Re Domestic Airline Travel Antitrust Litigation, 2018 WL 4441507 (D.D.C. Sept. 13, 2018), an antitrust class action lawsuit against the four largest commercial airlines in the United States—American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

The declarations around this decision prompted much discussion in the e-discovery world, particularly for those using technology-assisted review (TAR) in the review process. The argument was based on United’s core document production. The plaintiffs called it a deficient TAR process and complained that they were forced to review mountains of non-relevant documents (aka, a document dump). Continue reading