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The Big Picture: Making a Single Platform Work

Shawn Gaines

This morning at Relativity Fest, our founder and CEO Andrew Sieja took the stage with a ton of energy. In front of 2,000 attorneys, e-discovery pros, and Relativity developers, he reiterated our vision to simplify and accelerate the e-discovery process by bringing the entire process and community together in one platform, which he outlined in even greater detail recently on our blog.

Beyond that keynote, the fun of Relativity Fest is getting to hang out with so many brilliant partners, customers, industry veterans, and even a few judges who are leading the growth of this industry. Over the past week on the blog, you saw 26 unique innovations built by some of our most forward-thinking customers and partners, also looking to simplify and accelerate e-discovery (and some related tasks).

For us, the show also means a chance to share how we’ve been advancing our own product toward our vision. We think centralizing your work around a single platform can mean a world of difference, and we’re starting to see it happen.

Take one of our partners—Control Risks—who recently had the gumption to take on a massive investigation in Brazil. It’s complex. It’s messy. A lot of organizations are involved. And this story of corruption is hidden amidst 850 custodians and 225 TBs of data from 2,030 sources. Yet believe it or not, they’re doing it. But how?

For one, they brought all the data into one system, triangulating who did what by reviewing custodian testimony, transactional data, and documents like invoices all together. With Relativity as the hub, multiple parties can come into the system to stay up-to-date and access the information they need, and Control Risks can easily report out to the U.S. SEC and Brazilian government to accurately and effectively deliver what’s needed from regulatory groups.

Put simply, it’s how discovery should be done: in a single platform that brings all your relevant data and sources together.

Discovery, Connected

Hearing stories like these makes you realize that a connected discovery experience has two key ingredients—the technology and, more importantly, the community. Our scale as a community is an important element of solving these problems. Control Risks isn’t alone in their investigation in Brazil, but one system makes it easy for them to connect to the groups that matter most, many of which were already familiar with Relativity.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Relativity Fest without diving into the technology tied into the stories. So, what did Andrew talk about this morning in the keynote?

It Starts with the Core of e-Discovery

Although a single platform includes all kinds of functionality for every stage of the e-discovery process, the core of it is processing data, reviewing and investigating it (often using analytics), and ultimately producing it.

On the processing front, we continued to improve performance and streamlined error handling to make Relativity Processing more resilient. We’re now seeing customers like DTI/Epiq throwing their most heinous processing jobs at it—and we mean heinous. In fact, they recently processed 15.5 TBs of data made up of 82 million documents from 800 different custodians. It’s part of a rolling job, but they’re staying on top of it—two months in, data is still being added weekly, and there have been no missed deadlines.

As for review, we focused on the place reviewers spend most of their time—the document viewer. With a couple recent updates, we believe it’ll provide an even better experience for users than it does today:

  • Native. Viewing file types natively gets easier and easier—most recently with enhanced rendering of iCal and vCard files—and a new email layout includes sleek icons and a cleaner header. Couple that with email thread visualization and you have a powerful email review tool.
  • Intelligent. Identify hidden and embedded content often found in Office files and other common documents with visual indicators. Easily expose that content during review and make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Relativity Viewer

A Leg Up with Analytics

Meanwhile, analytics continues to become more widely adopted and more powerful for turbocharging your review or investigation—and our friends at Cozen O’Connor really know how to take advantage of it. They recently dealt with a case where they had two million documents to review two weeks before a deposition. They got creative, leveraging a sample-based assisted review workflow—taking the files obtained by the FBI during the initial search and seizure for the case as a seed set to get their review off to a fast start. Ultimately, analytics helped them find one key document buried in the two million, which increased the settlement offer they got by ten times.

“We’re taught in law school if you know your case and your documents better than the other side, you’re going to win,” said David Walton, partner at Cozen O’Connor. “Assisted Review is a way to know your documents better than your adversary—even when you can’t do an eyes-on review of everything.”

Now, for customers looking to get a leg-up on their competition, we’ve brought an active learning workflow into Relativity Assisted Review, alongside the existing sample-based workflow. When faced with tight deadlines, fast-paced investigations, or rapidly growing data volumes, active learning is built to serve up the most relevant documents more quickly.

Active Learning Screenshot

What’s that, you say? Active learning’s been part of e-discovery for years? Yes, it has. We’re not going to pretend active learning is brand new. But we believe our approach to it is.

  • Home in on your target. Relativity now provides near real-time intelligence as the system fluidly learns throughout the course of review, serving up only the most relevant documents to minimize the amount that need to be reviewed to home in on a target. Any reviewer jumping into an active learning project will benefit from the system’s most current understanding.
  • Discover the truth, faster. Relativity Assisted Review is part of Relativity’s comprehensive analytics toolkit. The combination of visualizations, structured and conceptual analytics, and technology-assisted review workflows provides the flexibility to pick the tools that fit each case.
  • Do it all in one platform. Ingest data, begin review, and start identifying key documents via active learning within minutes. Remove the risk inherent to transferring data between systems, and keep downtime to a minimum.

The Heart of the Matter

One of our law firm customers—Chris Haley, director of legal technology at Troutman Sanders—knows e-discovery inside and out, and has shared with us an astute observation that the two key pieces of it have been treated completely differently. Document discovery and case strategy are often conducted in disparate systems, even though legal teams would benefit from a single source of truth where they can check out their data and build their case—where they can focus on the heart of a matter and easily share that knowledge for collaboration.

“Document review and discovery is too often treated more like a chore and something that does not offer significant value. Instead, it should be treated as an opportunity to learn and leverage information. It should be given equal or more value than other activities during litigation,” said Chris. “Having a platform like Relativity where the document discovery, fact organization, and case strategy can all be brought together can be key to bringing all litigation matter efforts and activities into alignment.”

Centralizing case strategy in the same platform as document discovery is something we’ve always hoped to achieve with Relativity Fact Manager, and feedback from folks like Chris has helped us do that. We’ve now built out the application even more to deliver a more consistent experience—including an outlines feature where you can assemble your case in real time and link to important documents, as well as a comprehensive timeline builder.

Another large piece in the case strategy puzzle, though, is dealing with transcripts—an area that Relativity, in the past, admittedly hasn’t handled all that well. You can now search, annotate, and highlight transcripts in Relativity, in addition to linking key transcript passages directly to other relevant case information.

Tie that together with Fact Manager, and there’s now one place to act on deposition learnings, aggregate and review attorney notes, and keep everyone on the same page as the case evolves.

Earning Trust (and ISO Certification)

Security has always been important in discovery. We’ve always had extensive auditing as part of our process, and first built Relativity with a granular security model to make sure the right folks are always seeing the right data at the right time. There’s been a lot more added to the platform since then—and to how we operate as a company—to ensure that security isn’t just a checklist, but part and parcel of our existence.

Now, we’ve validated our approach to information security with ISO 27001 certification for the security of RelativityOne, the global standard for managing information security risk. This approach encompasses the breadth of our security focus, which comes through in multiple areas:

  • Product features that elevate security are always prioritized, like Relativity’s granular security model or single sign-on. A new free, easy two-factor authentication app will be available soon.
  • Our engineering process includes strict code reviews, penetration testing, and extensive reviews of third-party components.
  • RelativityOne is built on Microsoft Azure, benefiting from Azure’s lofty compliance and privacy standards.
  • Security is top of mind in all our operations, from incident management programs to proactive monitoring of system events, analyzing them for risk, performance, and availability around the clock.

We like to call this Relativity Trust, and we’re excited that we can share that promise with our customers.

Of course, let’s be honest, Andrew explained all this (and more) much better in this morning’s keynote. If you missed it, it’s available right now. Check it out: