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Discovery: The DISCO Blog

Trevor Jefferies

Trevor is Associate General Counsel for CS Disco, Inc., a legal technology company based in Houston, Texas. Prior to going in-house, Trevor worked for litigation boutiques as well as AmLaw 50 firms. He represented major multi-national companies in the fields of aviation and aerospace, transportation, energy, insurance, and manufacturing in a wide range of litigation matters, including commercial, intellectual property, product liability, premises, and mass-tort. Trevor earned his J.D. with honors from the University of Houston Law Center in 1994. Before law school, he was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a T-38 Instructor Pilot and an F-15 Flight Commander.
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Recent Posts

Maximizing Attorney Intelligence: Solutions Towards a Just, Speedy, and Inexpensive Case Resolution

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Jul 20, 2017 3:12:00 PM

The December 1, 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and robust new technology have ushered in a new age for attorneys to benefit from artificial intelligence in the ediscovery practice. No longer should practicing attorneys be required to always explain and justify the use of technology-assisted review (TAR) methodologies to courts, but instead courts should measure practitioners’ discovery conduct by the time-tested dictates of proportionality and reasonableness.

This new age threatens some in the ediscovery space who have made their living consulting about the less-understood nuances of TAR. They are worried because they feel that newer TAR technology is a black box that can’t be explained to a judge. However, in truth, the discovery process from the court’s and the requesting party’s perspective in most cases has always been a “black box,” even well before the days of ediscovery. Before the advent of ediscovery, the process of collection, review, analysis, and production was done in paper form (and I’m old enough to remember those days). Courts did not usually interfere with the means or methods by which a producing party went about its discovery obligations, so long as the party complied with the Rules: the document production was timely, reasonably responsive to the requests, and was organized in a fashion allowed by the Rules (e.g. by individual request, or as kept in the usual course of business). There was little or nothing the producing party needed to explain to the court, unless the producing party ran afoul of the Rules.

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Topics: ediscovery, Legal Industry

Practical Advice on How to Run a Predictive Prioritized Review

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Jun 29, 2017 6:30:00 AM

In this post, we outline a simple review process using DISCO Artificial Intelligence (AI) that may provide some insight for any particular case.

In summary, the process includes conducting a macro review to determine which documents can be safely culled and/or mass tagged as nonresponsive to winnow down the potential set of responsive documents, randomly sampling that set to obtain a prevalence estimate of particular tags and quality control (QC), performing the review using a combination of DISCO AI and more traditional keyword searching, followed by a final sampling to ensure the results are acceptable. The following hypothetical case will provide more detail to this process...

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Topics: legal technology, best practices

Is Your Technology Proportional?

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Jul 21, 2016 3:30:00 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

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

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Apr 29, 2016 3:04:00 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

Yes, Goose, There Is a Need for Speed.

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Apr 7, 2016 2:18:41 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

How to Control Your eDiscovery Spend With Subscription-Based Software

Posted by Trevor Jefferies on Dec 10, 2015 9:20:00 AM

If you are like most attorneys facing pre-trial document discovery, you must decide on an ediscovery processing and hosting solution, both for your clients’ documents as well as for the oppositions’ production.  Typically, you will need to review your client’s documents prior to production, then review the opposition’s documents when produced to you.  You would even prefer a solution that you can apply not just for one case but for your entire docket of cases – big or small cases – or even for your entire firm.  

Many firms have an in-house ediscovery software solution for smaller cases, hosted on the firm’s IT servers.  This solution typically requires a dedicated IT infrastructure and support team for the software and security of the clients’ data.  For larger cases, attorneys often turn to a vendor for a hosted solution.  There, the attorney faces a complicated a la carte menu of vendor service fees and charges for each task performed by the vendor.  This pricing model makes it difficult to compare different vendors on an “apples-to-apples” basis, as no one vendor uses the same menu of tasks.  And because this pricing is task-based, it makes any estimate of the total ediscovery spend difficult to predict, because your ediscovery needs in the case may change substantially during the life of the litigation.  

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Topics: ediscovery, Legal Industry, Technology, discovery, discovery cost