A New Hope for eDiscovery: Conquering the Dark Side of Data

Cat Casey
Cat Casey

A New Hope for eDiscovery: Conquering the Dark Side of Data

A long time ago in a galaxy (not so) far away... It is a period of legal warfare in the realm of eDiscovery. A brave alliance of Lawyers and legal tech experts has challenged the tyranny and inefficiency of outdated data management or Information governance methods.

Striking from a cloud fortress hidden among the billion bytes of the digital galaxy, tech-savvy law firms have won their first victory in a battle with powerful traditional databases. The world of conventional eDiscovery fears that another defeat could bring a thousand more firms into the modern age, and old-school control over legal data would be lost forever.

To counter this rising tide of innovation, traditional eDiscovery methods are constructing a sinister new data strategy, ignoring the vast universe of Dark Data. Powerful enough to obscure the truths in entire cases, this exclusionary tactic spells certain doom for the champions of comprehensive and ethical data discovery...unless...



A Galaxy Far, Far Away Known as Discovery

In the beginning, there was paper... and lots of it. Legal warriors were sifting through pages more numerous than grains of sand on the desert planet of Tatooine. Reviews were about as accurate as a storm trooper.

But in 2006... there was “a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

And no, I am not talking about the Death Star destroying Alderaan... this massive shift in the force came in the form of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that added the “E” to Discovery. These amendments fundamentally shifted how legal practitioners uncover the who, what, when, where, and why for their fact-driven case development. Expanding the discovery obligation to include Electronically Stored Information (ESI).

Over the last 17 years... many have become Jedi Masters of navigating email, text messages, and the ever-increasing velocity of new digital communication types. Wielding Analytics to slice through the vast and ever-increasing sea of data and metadata as nimbly as Obi-wan with a lightsaber...

But another dark data force was brewing just below the surface the entire time...

Yoda Says: More Data, There is...

In the expansive universe of eDiscovery, "dark data" is the hidden Force for legal. While Yoda said the Force "binds the galaxy together" in Star Wars, dark data also weaves through our dataverse as well. Invisible but ever-present... posed to blow up your defensible document review more quickly than a Death Star.

Mastering Dark Data, much like the force... takes mastery of your digital discovery skills. Luke Skywalker had to wade deep into the swamps of Dagobah to find wisdom. For legal professionals, we must navigate data sources dark and light. This includes complex databases, archived emails, old document versions, and countless other digital footprints that might not be readily accessible or visible during the conventional discovery process.

Dark data can include:

  • Holograms: Old Emails - Like the holographic messages Obi-Wan received, these emails can carry unexpected revelations.
  • Holocrons: Legal Briefs - Historical legal documents that could hold pertinent insights.
  • Death Star Blueprints: Technical Documents - Schematics, designs, and other technical files that can easily be overlooked.
  • Ewok Scrolls: Handwritten Notes - Non-digital records and memos that are often forgotten in the digital shuffle.
  • HoloNet Logs: Chat Records - Transcripts from various messaging platforms that could contain critical information.
  • Sarlacc Pit: Deleted Files - Files thought to be gone, but still lurking in the depths of storage media.
  • Jedi Comlinks: Voicemails - Audio messages that are often neglected but may contain important data.
  • Imperial Ciphers: Encrypted Data - Secured files that are inaccessible without proper decryption.
  • Alderaan Debris: Orphaned Data - Data disconnected from its source, making it difficult to place in context.
  • R2-D2's Memory Bank: Unsorted Metadata - Miscellaneous information that needs to be sorted for relevance.


The Jedi Masters of eDiscovery

Like a Jedi, legal practitioners today have a host of secret weapons to battle dark data. Sentiment analysis, concept clustering, Social Network Analysis, and active learning algorithms. Oh yes, my friends, with these in your arsenal, you'll be wielding more power than Darth Maul's double-sided saber—and with better outcomes, I hope! Artificial Intelligence is your Force for eDiscovery.

Some of the powerful new technologies Include:

Predictive Coding: The Jedi Mind Trick

Think of predictive coding like your Jedi mind trick—it persuades the system to sort documents based on relevance. Reveal’s predictive coding is your AI mentor, folks. It swiftly categorizes documents, letting you focus on the real issues instead of getting lost in the legal Death Star.

Text Analytics: The Holocron Keeper

Text analytics is the Holocron Keeper of your eDiscovery journey. It holds key patterns and insights. With Reveal, you unlock the Holocron of text analytics. Uncover keywords and trends, and voila—you’re zeroing in on essential evidence like a Jedi Knight!

Sentiment Analysis: Reading Emotions Like a Jedi

Just as Jedi can sense emotions, sentiment analysis gauges the emotional tone behind texts. Channel your inner empathic Jedi with Reveal's sentiment analysis. Pinpoint those emails and texts that could turn the tide in your case.

Social Network Analysis: The Galactic Senate Map

Ever want a map of the Galactic Senate showing who talks to who? That's Social Network Analysis. Reveal's Social Network Analysis is your diplomatic droid, laying out the interconnections between all parties. Think of it as your guide to the galaxy’s social circles.

Natural Language Processing: C-3PO

NLP translates human language into something a machine understands, just like our beloved C-3PO. Reveal’s NLP is the C-3PO to your data translation needs. Say goodbye to those perplexing legal scripts; this droid has got you covered.

Concept Clustering: The Clone Army

Concept clustering puts similar documents into one battalion, like a Clone Army. Reveal's concept clustering is like having a Clone Army that categorizes all your data. Why fight alone when you can have an army?

Active Learning (TAR): The Force Training

Think of active learning as your training sessions with Yoda. The machine learns from your expertise. Reveal’s platform is keen on learning from you, just as Luke learned from Yoda. Every click refines its data-sorting algorithms.

Concept Clustering: The Galactic Map

Topic modeling is your galactic map, highlighting constellations (topics) you didn’t know were connected. Like a space navigator, Reveal’s topic modeling scans through your data universe, identifying star clusters of pertinent topics.

Data Visualization: Your Holographic Interface

Because who wouldn't want a holographic interface to understand complex data? Reveal provides the holograms—er, visualizations—that make you feel like you're in the Rebel Alliance's strategy room. Get ready to say, "This is where the fun begins."

The Unseen Sith: Hidden Liabilities in Your Dark Data

Overlooking these untapped datasets is a lot like disregarding the dark side of the Force. And trust me, that's a risky move that could topple your case faster than you can say "Anakin turned to Darth Vader." Just as Yoda might quip, "Much to learn, you still have," we in the legal tech game have a world of opportunities lurking in dark data.

Don't even think about sweeping it under the rug like the Jedi Council did with Anakin's dark tendencies. We all know how that ended, don’t we?

The Risk of Ignorance: The Jedi Council's Oversight

Dark data is like the Sith hiding in plain sight. Ignoring it, much like the Jedi Council did with the Sith, can lead to catastrophic outcomes. With a tool like Reveal, you can unveil the dark secrets within your data lake, making sure there's no Palpatine scheming behind your back.

Legal Ramifications: Order 66 for Your Case

Overlooking dark data is as risky as leaving Order 66 in the clone programming. When triggered, it can destroy everything you’ve worked for faster than the Clone’s slaughtered the Jedi. If you're not sifting through dark data, you're inviting an Order 66 on your case. One false move and your entire legal strategy can crumble. Costly Sanctions and adverse inferences or data breaches can blow up your case faster than the Death Star.

Spoliation Risks: The Galactic Deletion

If you accidentally or willfully destroy relevant data, that's akin to blowing up Alderaan. It won't go unnoticed, and the penalties will be severe. From big dollars to adverse inferences to reputational destruction to name a few. Reveal helps you keep tabs on all forms of data, ensuring you’re not inadvertently committing spoliation.

Unseen Costs: The Death Star Budget

Let’s not forget the costs of building something like a Death Star, only to have it destroyed due to overlooked vulnerabilities. Ignoring dark data is a budget sinkhole. You think you’re saving by not going through it, but the hidden costs will laser-blast your budget faster than the Death Star taking out a planet.

Do or Do Not, There Is No Try

So, listen up, warriors of the legal universe: In the immortal words of Master Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Ignoring dark data isn’t an option; it's a path leading straight to the dark side. Let Reveal be your Yoda in this journey through the eDiscovery galaxy. May the Force be with you!

So, let's borrow some age-old wisdom from the galaxy's favorite green guru, Yoda. When it comes to navigating the labyrinthine depths of dark data in eDiscovery, remember, "Do or do not, there is no try." Because, let's face it, the future of legal tech isn't in a galaxy far, far away; it's happening right here, right now. Are you in?

By leveraging our understanding of Dark Data, we can hope to bring balance to the eDiscovery force. Whether you are a Padawan or a Jedi Master in legal tech, the evolving landscape necessitates an evolving skill set. May the Force be with you, always.