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Discovery: The DISCO Blog

Festivus for the Rest of Us

Posted by Tripp Hemphill on Oct 11, 2016 1:00:00 PM

If you were born before 1985, it’s likely that you immediately get the reference to Festivus, the anti-commercial holiday “for the rest of us”, that was invented by George Costanza’s father and celebrated on Seinfeld. Of course, Festivus wouldn’t be complete without an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, a dinner where the guests engage in the "Airing of Grievances" and recognition of "Feats of Strength" as well as proclaiming easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles".

The “Festivus” episode from Season 9 (1997) - ranked as a top fan favorite of the entire series - also popularized the concepts of “two-face”, when someone is not as good looking as first thought due to lighting and other environmental conditions, as well as “The Human Fund”, a fake charity George makes up in order to get out of spending money on his co-workers for the holidays (its motto being "Money For People").

If you have no clue what I’m talking about then I strongly encourage you to stop whatever you’re doing and spend 4:37 minutes in laugh therapy watching highlights from this memorable and much quoted episode. Your life will be richer for it - and you’ll be in a much better position to grasp the balance of this blog post.

The title for this post popped into my head as I perused the agenda and session descriptions for Relativity Fest 2016 . Taking place this week in Chicago, kCura’s annual user conference (referred to by insiders simply as “The Fest”) is 3 days of Relativity-centric content delivered across 138 sessions with 190 speakers and a whole heap of upselling excitement.

For those of us selectively outside of - or the many disenchanted with - the Relativity ecosystem, I’ve officially declared this week as eDiscovery Festivus Week - complete with ‘airing of grievances’ if you’re so inclined.

Digging into the session content, I can’t help but notice some interesting trends as well as a few curiously absent topics.

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Topics: ediscovery, Legal Industry, legal technology

What New Attorneys Often Learn Too Late (Part 2): Thoroughness

Posted by Mike Wilson on Sep 29, 2016 7:11:00 AM


Few words in the English language require that many useless characters. Yet in order to write it correctly you have to go through every single letter -- even if it doesn’t make a sound or sense. Such is life as a litigator.

Part two in our three-part series is about the importance of being thorough and the ridiculous amount of self-discipline it requires to do the job correctly. An answer exists somewhere in the world, and your job, quite literally, is to find it. The trick is to become uncompromising in your pursuit of the answer. There are many places in the practice of law where thoroughness will pay dividends, particularly when finding evidence.

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Topics: ediscovery, Legal Industry, Technology, document review

Whither Predictive Coding?

Posted by Scott Upchurch on Sep 9, 2016 2:08:00 PM

 In my previous post, I identified the principal reasons I believe Predictive Coding or Technology Assisted Review (“TAR”) has not yet caught on in mainstream litigation.  Let me summarize very briefly: complexity, opacity, and cost.  That is, most TAR systems are difficult to set up, difficult to use, difficult to understand, and usually expensive.  

So, what is DISCO’s approach and how is it different?     

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Topics: ediscovery, Legal Industry, technology assisted review, predictive coding, machine learning

The Legal Revolution (and $18.575M to Make It Happen)

Posted by Kiwi Camara on Aug 9, 2016 3:50:36 PM

The legal industry is facing the kind of pressure and undergoing the kind of consolidation that other services industries, like accounting and consulting, went through decades ago. Clients are not satisfied with the results they get when law firms do everything manually, solving problems by hurling bodies at them. Clients deserve, and now are demanding, high-quality legal services, delivered in a predictable and repeatable way and at a cost that reflects both the value delivered and all efficiencies available.

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Topics: ediscovery, Legal Industry, legal revolution

Is Your Technology Proportional?

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Jul 21, 2016 2:30:00 PM

My military background gave me a true appreciation for technology as a force multiplier. If my wingman and I use our two modern aircraft with superior targeting technology to demobilize ten enemy aircraft at once, we have provided the same impact as ten less capable aircraft — two modern aircraft become ten. Great litigation technology can also be a true force multiplier that allows legal teams to be more cost-effective and efficiently manage large amounts of potentially relevant data over the course of any given case. 

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Topics: ediscovery, Technology, proportionality

Happy Anniversary, DISCO Help Center!

Posted by Julia Englander on Jun 10, 2016 9:17:58 AM

I would like to wish a very Happy One Year Anniversary to DISCO’s Help Center! In celebration of this anniversary, I wanted to share the great progress that has been made over the last twelve months. Here are some cool facts to show how much the Help Center has grown since being launched in June 2015.  

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Topics: ediscovery, Disco, help center, resources, tips

What New Attorneys Often Learn Too Late (Part 1)

Posted by Mike Wilson on May 13, 2016 3:00:00 PM

We all get into the law game for different reasons, but regardless of why we signed up, we want to be effective at what we do. Law schools don’t typically teach students how to practice or be effective counsel. Instead, those skills are learned on the job. This blog -- the first of a three-part series on what new attorneys often learn too late when starting out in the practice of law --  is about deadlines.

For months after law school I would periodically wake up in a cold sweat, heart pounding, thinking not only that I was late for class, but that I had missed most of the semester and was about to walk into an exam completely unprepared. This fit right in with the classic dream of showing up for class in underwear.

Shortly after taking the Texas bar -- the following weekend to be exact -- I started working in my first real commercial litigation job. (Some would say I literally just started working there without interviewing or being asked by anyone, but that’s another story for another time.) After being on the job for a few weeks, I started waking up in a cold sweat for reasons other than the fear of missing an exam. The stakes had been raised. Real people and real organizations were relying on my work and I would have to learn to live with the sinking perpetual feeling that I might miss a deadline.

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Topics: ediscovery, Legal Industry, Disco, Technology, legal technology, tips

Post-Judgment Recovery in Federal Court for eDiscovery Costs, aka “Pennies on the Dollar”

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Apr 29, 2016 2:04:00 PM

At the end of litigation, unless the parties have settled and agreed that each party will bear its own costs, the prevailing party may want to seek recovery for its expenses (apart from attorney fees, which is a much broader topic and not within the scope of this piece), such as court reporter fees, document duplication, ediscovery processing and database fees, etc. Typically, ediscovery costs for collection, processing, review, and production of electronically stored information (ESI) are the largest cost component of litigation expense, so it is natural that the prevailing party desires to recover as much of this as it can from the losing party. This piece focuses on recovery of ediscovery expenses under the applicable federal statute and corresponding case law, but your results may vary depending on the laws of the jurisdiction you find yourself in.

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Topics: ediscovery, Disco

What Should the Supreme Court Actually Be Deciding?

Posted by Kent Radford on Apr 14, 2016 3:44:25 PM

DISCO creates cutting-edge software for the legal industry, which means that most of my blog posts end up discussing the finer points of software's role in ediscovery.  However, as DISCO was founded by lawyers, and many of us at DISCO are still lawyers first and foremost, it seems appropriate to talk about a topic currently trending near the top of the public’s perception of the legal world: an evenly split Supreme Court.

With the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court has naturally received a significant increase in media attention.  In particular, there is concern about the possibility of a dysfunctional Court: what happens when major issues can’t be decided because of a tie?  This agitation, at least superficially, seems well-founded since the Court has recently deadlocked on two cases: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Assn. , 578 U.S. ___ (2016) and Hawkins v. Community Bank , 577 U.S. ___ (2016).  

Relax, though.  All is not lost. In fact, I suggest that having a vacant seat provides some much-needed breathing room and an opportunity to determine whether the Court should even be deciding certain contentious cases.  More specifically, some cases may involve political questions (as defined by the political question doctrine) more correctly addressed by other branches of the government.

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Topics: ediscovery, Disco, Supreme Court

Yes, Goose, There Is a Need for Speed.

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Apr 7, 2016 1:18:41 PM

Some of you may remember the 1986 hit movie “Top Gun”, where Tom Cruise’s character, F-14 pilot Maverick, turns to his back seater, Goose, and says “I feel the need . . . the need for speed!”  Having flown jet fighters myself, I know that speed often equates to whether you live or die in the air-to-air combat scenario.  Having flown a desk as a lawyer now for a few years, I find that there is also a need for speed in the practice of law and, in particular, the eDiscovery practice.  The discovery phase of any litigation is almost always the single most time-consuming and expensive phase, so anything one can do to reduce expense and time is going to be beneficial.  

There are some in the eDiscovery space who argue that prioritization of data for review is more important than speed in search, document rendering, etc.  While I think few would argue about the importance of prioritization, it should not come at the expense of speed.  A state-of-the-art platform will do both – prioritize faster as well as search and render documents faster – and be the best of both worlds.

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Topics: ediscovery, Disco