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NuLegal promotes the Predictive Coding message in Australia

July 24th, 2013

Australian litigation support provider NuLegal has been hosting a series of lunch seminars throughout Australia promoting Predictive Coding using Equivio Zoom. Yesterday I was fortunate to be able to attend the event they held in Brisbane.

Mark de Bruyn from NuLegal and Jon Prideaux of Clayton Utz joined forces to present the seminar, focusing on a case study of a recent matter that had worked on together. They demonstrated how the Predictive Coding exercise worked and looked to outline the process they followed, highlighting the importance of the workflow around the technology. The seminar itself broadly focussed on – 

  • The Equivio Zoom workflow
  • The role of lawyers
  • Increasing document responsiveness
  • Faster identification of key documents
  • Quality assurance improvement

Dispelling any scepticism – clarifying the Predictive Coding process

For a long time there has been some apprehension from the legal fraternity about the use of Predictive Coding, or more the concern about it reducing the role of the lawyer in the review process. This is not a surprise as often legal teams are comfortable in the processes that they have used for many years. The problem now though is the increasing volumes of information often makes traditional practices unsustainable and requires a more accurate and cost effective solution to these evolving challenges.

The NuLegal seminar helped dispel these concerns and demonstrated how Predictive Coding can be and has been deployed successfully.

Are more traditional methods that accurate and cost effective?

Those questioning the Predictive Coding process, often do not stop and ask questions of the alternative traditional practices. Anyone that has conducted a large scale manual review with numerous lawyers will have experienced the considerable inconsistencies and lack of accuracy in their review – hardly surprising considerable the review team usually have varying degrees of knowledge about the subject matter. Much of the calls made by the initial reviewers have to be corrected by more senior lawyers later in the process – creating additional and avoidable work and cost.

Over the past couple of years I have noticed a considerable shift in the portrayal of Predictive Coding (from the providers) to being more transparent about the process. The leading Predictive Coding products now allow a full ability to audit the calls made. This transparency has helped provide greater confidence to lawyers about the use of Predictive Coding. I think initially it was sold on the basis of being the ‘silver bullet’ or the computer replacing the lawyer – this message probably hindered convincing the legal fraternity.

Reinforcing the importance of the role of the legal team

In the early days of Predictive Coding technologies the focus was too much on the power of the technology and not enough on the role the legal team play in the process. The legal team still have a significant role to play, especially the lawyer or expert that reviews the initial sample set of documents.

Used properly the technology does not make the final calls on documents, but instead prioritises the information for the legal team to review, learning by the calls of the initial set of reviewed documents. This functionality assists the lawyers to get to see the most important information more quickly, allowing them to make more informed decisions about the matter.

I would argue Predictive Coding heightens the importance of the lawyer, especially the lawyer with considerable knowledge about the matter as Predictive Coding allows a more consistent and accurate review of information.

Predictive Coding is actively being used in Australasia

Through the experiences shared by NuLegal and Clayton Utz it was refreshing to hear that Predictive Coding is now being considered as an option to review and find important information more quickly. There are service providers in Australia that are providing Predictive Coding as well as investing in the skillset of their staff to provide effective workflows for their client.

It is important to not underestimate the value of using leading providers and software that have considerable experience with Predictive Coding. Like most technologies and practices, it is the workflow that is essential around a successful Predictive Coding exercise.

I know from recent experience using Predictive Coding on matters for New Zealand clients – it has been a thoroughly successful experience, both through the accuracy, consistency and cost effectiveness for the client. It is now an option that I at least put to my clients to consider for all matters with significant information volumes.

Predictive Coding is perfectly suited to those middle and smaller law firms that do not have the same resources available as those of the larger firms. The use of Predictive Coding can help give these smaller firms a significant competitive advantage over other firms that may persist with traditional manual practices.

Not suitable for every matter

Predictive Coding will not be right for every matter, but it is at least a method that should be considered as you look at the most effective options to suit the requirements of the matter.

The more providers like NuLegal (and others) ‘down under’ can convey the positive Predictive Coding message the better, to demonstrate that the use of Predictive Coding can be a viable option in tackling the review of large volumes of information.   



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