Project Management

Four Inefficiency Traps to Avoid in Your Legal Document Review Process

For every time-saving, cost-cutting efficiency available in legal document review lives an equal number of challenges and pitfalls which can consume your productivity and budget. For LSPs and law firms, a thorough and effective legal review will depend on more than just data size and solution speed. Navigating successfully through the review process means knowing where you can expedite and streamline your project with efficiency and how to avoid costly mistakes.

Read on to learn about four potential inefficiency traps you can avoid in your next legal review to save time and money:

  1. Document format and storage
  2. Inefficient upload speeds
  3. Duplicate data
  4. Single-user access to documents

Trap 1: Document Format and Storage

One of the first challenges to overcome is determining the best method to consolidate and convert collected data into searchable content. From digital emails and websites to printed letters and hand-written notes, different document formats are collected and stored across several disparate systems. While you may have some stored in Outlook, others could be kept in a binder on your desk.

A legal document review system digitizes and stores every document in one place, allowing you to search and review all documents at the same time. This enables you to apply a search strategy to locate relevant documents quickly and efficiently. It also provides you with the flexibility to view data in different, organized layouts to easily see document attributes such as:

  1. Source
  2. Type
  3. Origin date
  4. Author
  5. Recipients

With all case documents organized and stored on a single platform, LSPs and legal departments can locate and produce responsive content, ranging from scanned documents to email to spreadsheets and more.

Trap 2: Inefficient Upload Speeds

Initiating your review project will be determined by the speed of your initial data import. This phase can make or break the rest of your project timeline making it essential to start off strong.

Scheduling and staying within the time budgeted for your project will equally affect the efficiency of your whole team. The faster your team can scan and import documents, the faster you can start your document review.

While we can’t control your connection speed, we can manage the resources and technology on our platform to ensure the application performance is optimized for maximum efficiency.

Time equals money; having an eDiscovery tool capable of moving as quickly as you do allows you to work on the next step of your case faster.

Trap 3: Duplicate Data

Nearly 30% of email data is duplicated which directly impacts hosting costs if not removed prior to promotion for review.  Duplicate data occurs when the same file originates from multiple sources and in different formats.

For example, if you have two people engaged in an email exchange and both become custodians in a legal case, both sets of emails are collected for discovery. Now you have the same exchange from both people and you have to determine which set of emails you’re going to use. The complexity of duplicate data increases when the matter is shared across email distribution groups.

By cutting out duplicative documents, you save storage space and reduce the chance that two copies of the same document will be reviewed differently.

To prevent duplicate data from costing time and money, you need an eDiscovery tool to:

  • Centralize your data in one place
  • Eliminate duplicative data
  • Track how data is being reviewed in real-time
  • Prevent conflicting tags by different reviewers

Trap 4: Single User Access to Documents

Remote document review should be an easy and convenient option for you and your staff. However, documents still need to be digitized and uploaded to a shared system. This can be problematic for a number of reasons:

  • You don’t have anyone in the office to upload documents.
  • You don’t have the infrastructure in place to share working documents across multiple users at the same time.
  • You don’t have the ability to review, redact, and produce documents electronically without affecting the originals.

This forces the organization to spend time and money building new infrastructure. Or, they could use a private cloud-hosted system like CloudNine Review.

 

How CloudNine Review Helps You Avoid Inefficiency Traps

CloudNine Review is a safe, robust, and cost-effective solution that simplifies the eDiscovery review process and keeps you more productive.

We offer a single spot repository for all your discovery documents. Whether they are electronic or paper documents, you can load them into CloudNine Review to make them searchable. This allows you to access all the data at the same time giving you a consistent search strategy.

By utilizing a search strategy, you create an efficient way to review your data without wasting time by:

  • Showing search-term history
  • Filtering out previously reviewed documents
  • Setting up preview sets

With incredibly fast upload speeds on our end, installation is simple and straightforward. If there’s a slow connection speed on your end, we can help you identify the source of the problem while offering alternative solutions to upload heavy data loads.

To prevent duplicate data from slowing down your legal document review process, our processing engine detects duplicates and suppresses them before the data gets advanced for review.  Plus, all documents are hashed during the import process, so you can set up automation to identify and review specific documents from the searchable and reviewable records.

Hosted on a private cloud, CloudNine Review is a web-accessible, legal document review platform providing secure access to every approved member of your team. Every document is locked down so nothing can be deleted, altered, or sent to anyone without access. Even metadata like the author and timestamps are protected.

To protect sensitive or confidential data from being exposed, CloudNine Review will redact images of documents. Redacted files are copied and saved as a single-layer file so the redaction bars can’t be removed by outside parties.

 

CloudNine Review is designed to help your eDiscovery services be more efficient and productive.

To avoid the pitfalls of inefficiency traps, click banner below to request a free demo and see how CloudNine Review can help you today.

Export Review Documents Using Self-Serve Productions

#DidYouKnow: You can export your own documents for production from CloudNine Review, with or without support from the CloudNine Client Services team?

 

Document production sizes can range from one document to tens or even hundreds of thousands of documents.

Some platforms require legal teams to work with their project managers to coordinate productions, regardless of size or complexity. This can lead to delays and risk as instructions are handed off to teams, unfamiliar with the case.

 

Self-service productions provide complete project control with 24×7 access to export case documents independently.

  • Control your data to ensure important, relevant documents are not missed.
  • Control your project cost by paying only for what you need and, nothing you don’t.

CloudNine Review empowers clients to export documents themselves, including native files and emails, searchable text, and static images of documents containing confidential language, unique identifiers, and redactions.

Ready to Get Started with Self-Service Productions?  

To start a self-service production in CloudNine Review, select the Tools menu in the upper right corner then, click the Self-Service Production option.

Next, select whether you would like to produce images, native files, text, and metadata, or any combination of these.

If your documents do not yet have static images, they can be created during this process.  Annotations and redactions can be permanently applied to images, and there are several Excel imaging options, including using slip sheets instead of generating images.

The fielded metadata associated with the production records can be exported in a variety of formats including the common .DAT file, a .CSV file, or XML.

Users running a production can select and deselect fields to include in the production metadata file.

View Productions As They Progress in the User-facing Dashboard:   

This screen also allows users to clean up old productions and exports they no longer need to access.

Stay informed of software updates and browse training documentation in the CloudNine Review Knowledgebase (login required).

To learn more about CloudNine Review and Self-Service Productions, click the button below to schedule a demo!

Chain, Chain, Chain – Chain of Custody: eDiscovery Throwback Thursdays

Here’s our latest blog post in our Throwback Thursdays series where we are revisiting some of the eDiscovery best practice posts we have covered over the years and discuss whether any of those recommended best practices have changed since we originally covered them.

This post was originally published on June 24, 2013 – over six years ago.  Back then, we referenced both baseball player Ryan Braun and legendary singer Aretha Franklin in a single post(!).  Braun ultimately did receive a suspension from Major League Baseball for his involvement with a clinic associated with performance enhancing drugs, but has resumed a successful playing career.  And, of course, the Queen of Soul is no longer with us, sadly.

As for chain of custody tracking, it’s as important as ever.  But technology has helped us out here with some mechanisms to automate the delivery of files.  The use of File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for transfer of files has become commonplace for even fairly large document sets and the use of secured FTP protocols (such as SFTP and FTPS) have become commonplace.  At CloudNine, most of the data we receive from clients today for loading into our CloudNine Review platform is received via secured FTP – either directly or through our Discovery Client that automates the loading of data into the platform.

However, our Client Services team still receives some data from clients via media transportation, especially when it’s a lot of data (we’re often talking terabytes, not gigabytes) and needs to get to us quickly and securely.  In those instances, we still follow the same chain of custody procedures described below to document that transfer.  When it comes to those types of transfers, ensuring proper chain of custody tracking is also an important part of handling that ESI through the eDiscovery process in order to be able to fight challenges of the ESI by opposing parties.  An insufficient chain of custody is a chain, chain, chain of fools.

Information to Track for Chain of Custody

ESI can be provided by a variety of sources and in a variety of media, so you need a standardized way of recording chain of custody for the ESI that you collect within your organization or from your clients.  At CloudNine, we use a standard form for capturing chain of custody information.  Because we never know when a client will call and ask us to pick up data, our client services personnel typically have a supply of blank forms either in their briefcase or in their car (maybe even both).

Our chain of custody tracking form includes the following:

  • Date and Time: The date and time that the media containing ESI was provided to us.
  • Pick Up or Delivery Location: Information about the location where the ESI was provided to us, including the company name, address, physical location within the facility (e.g., a specific employee’s office) and any additional information important to note where the data was received.
  • Delivering Party: Name of the company and the name of representative of the company providing the media, with a place for that representative to sign for tracking purposes.
  • Delivery Detail (Description of Items): A detailed description of the item(s) being received. Portable hard drives are one typical example of the media used to provide ESI to us, so we like to describe the brand and type of hard drive (e.g., Western Digital My Passport drive) and the serial number, if available.  Record whatever information is necessary to uniquely identify the item(s).
  • Receiving Party: Name of the company and the name of representative of the company receiving the media, with a place for that representative to sign for tracking purposes. In our form, that’s usually somebody from CloudNine Discovery, but can be a third party if they are receiving the data from the original source – then, another chain of custody form gets completed for them to deliver it to us.
  • Comments: Any general comments about the transfer of media not already addressed above.

I’ve been involved in several cases where the opposing party, to try to discredit damaging data against them, has attacked the chain of custody of that data to raise the possibility that the data was spoliated during the process and mitigate its effect on the case.  In these types of cases, you should be prepared to have an expert ready to testify about the chain of custody process to counteract those attacks.  Otherwise, you might be singing one of Aretha Franklin’s most famous songs (but not as well as she did).

So, what do you think?  How does your organization track chain of custody of its data during discovery?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Six

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Monday, part two was last Wednesday, part three was last Friday, part four was this Monday and part five was this Wednesday, here’s the sixth and final part.

Conclusions

So, where do we go from here from a legal technology standpoint?  Let’s take a look at some current developments.

Current Developments

Much of the momentum that I saw gathering at ILTACON17 led to the establishment of the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium. Members of the consortium include the law firms Baker Hostetler and Orrick, as well as IBM Watson Legal. Their goal is to explore how blockchain technology can solve real-world legal problems as well as drive the adoption and standardization of blockchain in the legal industry.

The consortium is not the only such effort. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a cross-industry collaborative blockchain consortium aiming to leverage open-source Ethereum technology for enterprise solutions, has a” Legal Industry Working Group”. Members of that group include CooleyDebevoise & Plimpton, GoodwinHogan LovellsHolland & KnightJones DayLatham & WatkinsMorrison & FoersterPerkins CoieShearman & SterlingCardozo Law School, Duke Center on Law & Technology, and the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

The consortium held a kick-off event called the MIT Legal Forum on AI + Blockchain in the fall of 2017. Although that effort appears to have slowed in 2018, ongoing efforts can be monitored on the EEA site. For a more in-depth report on the subject, see  Bob Ambrogi’s “Law Sites” blog post

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that blockchain has become a breakthrough topic and I expect to see much more development for legal applications in the near future. One of the challenges is how middle market clients which do not have the extensive systems that a large company might have can effectively leverage this technology and Grant Thornton is one of the players focused on this market.

Proponents will have to continue their efforts to lower uncertainty about blockchain systems stability and increase its profile as a serious business tool.  I expect to see both of those occur as the year continues.

So, what do you think?  Do you better understand blockchain now and how it can impact the legal profession?  We hope so!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Five

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Monday, part two was last Wednesday, part three was last Friday and part four was this Monday, here’s the fifth part.

Blockchain in Legal Technology and eDiscovery

Sure, those are a couple of great examples and there are a lot of general use cases for blockchain.  But, this is also an article about its impact on legal technology and electronic discovery.  How does it impact those areas?

General Legal Technology Impacts

Because blockchain is secure, immutable and transparent, it enables attorneys to record and authenticate many types of legal matters including contracts, real estate, corporate filings, intellectual property rights, or any other activity conducive to being ledger-based.

Contracts, in particular, are starting to benefit from blockchain.  We have smart phones, smart watches, even smart thermostats and smart appliances, right?  With blockchain, we have smart contracts which not only define the rules and penalties contained within an agreement, they also automatically enforce those obligations.  This article by Caitlin Moon in Law Technology Today goes into considerably greater depth into various implications of blockchain for legal professionals.

Impacts on Electronic Discovery

With regard to eDiscovery, blockchain has several potential significant impacts, some of which are priorities even today:

Source of ESI: One obvious impact of blockchain is that it is another source of ESI that needs to be addressed and you need to have a plan to account for it.  This includes a strategy for preparing and responding to discovery requests.  Just as you need to expand your eDiscovery strategy to incorporate data from mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and social media (and other cloud-based platform) data, you now need to include blockchain in that strategy as well.

Investigations: In some respects, blockchain can aid in investigations since every transaction is immutable, verifiable and open to examination.  However, because identities are protected, blockchain also complicates the process of tying monetary transactions to specific entities.

Document Preservation: Because blockchain records are immutable, blockchain is more verifiable, easier to authenticate, and more reliable than other data sources.  Blockchain’s immutable nature would certainly reduce the potential of ESI spoliation since potentially relevant information can’t be erased.

Document Production: Blockchain could also be an improved, more-technology focused method of labeling productions than the Bates numbering system still used so widely today, in that it could make discovery productions more secure.

Chain of Custody: Because of its immutability and reliability, blockchain can provide an indisputable chain of custody.

Forensics: Even forensics can benefit from blockchain.  Forensics expert Johnny Lee of Grant Thornton related in the article mentioned above that “…the ability of blockchain to replace the need for a centralized trust authority to authenticate transactions is perhaps its greatest promise for the forensic community.”

The Epiq blog has more information about impacts to eDiscovery here.  And, HaystackID conducted a two-part webcast series that discusses the basics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain (part one) and gets into the impact on legal technology and eDiscovery (part two).

We’ll publish Part 6 – Conclusions – on Friday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Four

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Monday, part two was last Wednesday and part three was last Friday, here’s the fourth part.

General Use Cases for Blockchain

Several actual examples may show the actual utility of blockchain.

Searching

In 2001, Microsoft researchers, Banko and Brill, released a paper Scaling to Very Very Large Corpora for Natural Language Disambiguation,  which described how most work in the area of natural language processing was on small data sets of less than a million words. Error rates for algorithms such as Naive Bayes and Perceptrons were 25%, while newer memory-based algorithms achieved 19% error rates.

But as they added MORE data — not just a bit more, but orders of magnitude more — and kept the algorithms the same, then the error rates kept going down. A dataset which was three orders of magnitude larger had an error rate of less than 5%.  Even more surprising, the best-performing algorithms were the simplest and always outperformed more state-of-the-art systems.

Then, in 2007, Google researchers, Halevy, Norvig and Pereira, published a paper called The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data  showing how data could be “unreasonably effective” across many AI domains. Hence, the rise of deep learning systems and the reemergence of backprop neural networks from the ’80s which are equally effective in massive datasets with more recent technologies.

So decentralized and shared control typically leads to better performing  models.  And since the decentralized nature of blockchains encourages data sharing, it works better whether the network is local or worldwide.

Security

Blockchain eliminates the risks that come with centralized data because it stores data across the network. Thus, it doesn’t have centralized points of vulnerability that computer hackers traditionally exploit. No more “username/password” systems, but rather encryption technology and constantly updating audit trails

A blockchain, as the name implies, is a chain of digital “blocks” that contain records of transactions. The records on a blockchain are secured through cryptography and network participants have their own private keys that are assigned to the transactions they make and act as a personal digital signature.

However, despite inherent properties that provide security, known vulnerabilities in your infrastructure can be manipulated by hackers. Any system supporting blockchain should have these capabilities at a minimum:

  • Be able to prevent anyone, up to and including administrators, from accessing sensitive information
  • Ability to deny illicit attempts to change data or applications within the network.
  • Use highest-grade security standards to protect encryption keys

We’ll publish Part 5 – General Use Cases for Blockchain – on Wednesday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Three

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was Monday and part two was Wednesday, here’s the third part.

Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain

So, why is blockchain becoming more popular and what advantages are associated with it?  And, if it’s so great, why aren’t more people using it?

Advantages of Blockchain

Blockchain has several structural advantages:

  • Establishes a definitive record for a given transaction
  • An organization can embed the verification for the transaction within the transactional record itself,
  • It is readily accessible
  • It is easily verifiable
  • It is immutable
  • It is transparent
  • Offers assurance across all transactions subject to the blockchain.
  • Allows full testing of the population in its entirety
  • Allows reliable spot-checks at any time
  • No need for third party audit to sample a portion of transactions and extrapolate from the sample based upon statistical probabilities because blockchain exposes the full population of transactions

Challenges to Blockchain Adoption

At the same time, Blockchain faces several distinct challenges to widespread adoption, including:

  • Business leaders want practical solutions and blockchain is still considered by many to be an esoteric solution
  • Are their blockchain standards to which businesses can refer?
  • Are distributed ledgers actually slower than centralized ones?
  • Are distributed ledgers easily available to all users?
  • How secure are distributed ledgers?
  • Can privacy be assured in a blockchain scheme?
  • How does security differ in public vs private blockchains?

We’ll publish Part 4 – General Use Cases for Blockchain – next Monday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Two

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was Monday, here’s the second part.

Understanding Blockchain and Bitcoin

To understand blockchain and bitcoin better, let’s take a look at the background of how they were created and discuss how blockchain works.

Background on Blockchain and Bitcoin

Credit for bitcoin creation is given to an anonymous person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto who claimed to be a Japanese citizen.  Much speculation centered around the name being based on a setting in the 1996 movie Rising Sun; however, it was believed the true authors were several cryptography and computer science experts of non-Japanese descent.

What is not disputed though is that bitcoin was based on the first blockchain database which allowed digital information to be distributed, but not copied. Once established in bitcoin, it was not long before blockchain came to be used for any transaction that needed a trust factor among all parties and a verifiable audit trail. Areas such as financial services, technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and energy industries all needed systems with these two factors.

How Blockchain Works

Blockchain is a digital ledger that can be programmed to record multiple transactions.  Think of a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network, updated on a regular basis as people access it, in a distributed database that is not in one location, but rather is shared by potentially millions of users, accessible to anyone on the internet.

Or think of it as a document in Google Docs that is being seen by multiple people simultaneously. Instead of waiting for one person to make changes and circulate the document, it can be worked on by everyone, with extremely short times for document “lock down” while updates are being made.

This completely digital system self-audits and reconciles all transactions every ten minutes. The audit trail itself is visible to all participants yet allows encryption of individual transactions. Since both the components (blocks) and the blockchain (ledger) are fixed, participants can review the entire history of transactions from the time the ledger is created.

Commentator Bob Ambrogi, in a 2017 article in LawSites, quotes the executive of a blockchain company as describing it this way,  “With a blockchain, every transaction is digitally signed, every transaction is chained together, and it’s replicated on hundreds of computers around the world with digital signatures…”.

The system is what Johnny Lee of Grant Thornton, in his 2017 article Beyond Bitcoin: Leveraging blockchain for forensic applications, refers to as a “ …consensus-based proof of validity [which] replaces the need for a centralized trust authority.”

It reminds me most of the early days of networking with dumb terminals.  Now it is a network of “nodes” which constitute a blockchain, and every node is an administrator of the blockchain. It’s a hacker’s nightmare.

We’ll publish Part 3 – Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain – on Friday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Here’s the first part.

Introduction

I first started paying attention to blockchain at ILTACON17 when I noticed how often it was cited in security sessions.  Like many people, I had associated blockchain only with bitcoin, and thus tended to dismiss it as a one trick pony.

Even thought Don & Alex Tapscott described it in their 2016 book, Blockchain Revolution , as “ … the next generation Internet.”, I also had trouble seeing it as a solution for day to day business problems.  It didn’t seem to me be the practical sort of tool with solid standards that business people would deploy and I was concerned about the security of recording transactions in public ledgers while at the same time being able to protect privacy.

The ILTA session helped me overcome some of those concerns as I learned how blockchain tools were dealing with these issues.  And I’ve continued to monitor the growth of the tool since then. This paper is an attempt to give an overview of where blockchain is at the onset of 2019.

In this paper, we will look at several topics related to blockchain and legal technology:

  1. Understanding Blockchain and Bitcoin
  2. Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain
  3. General Use Cases for Blockchain
  4. Blockchain in Legal Technology and eDiscovery
  5. Conclusions

We’ll publish Part 2 – Understanding Blockchain and Bitcoin – on Wednesday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Tomorrow’s Webcast Will Help You Get a “Clue” Regarding Your eDiscovery Process: eDiscovery Webcasts

Why am I promoting our monthly webcast today instead of the actual day of the webcast (like I usually do)?  You’ll see tomorrow when we publish our ninth(!) annual Halloween list of eDiscovery “frights”.  Do you scare easily?  Then, don’t read tomorrow’s post!  :o)

As evidenced by some high-profile recent eDiscovery disasters, managing eDiscovery projects is more complex than ever. Not only have the volume and variability of ESI data sources increased dramatically, but there are often more stakeholders in eDiscovery projects today than characters on the board game Clue©. Successful eDiscovery today means not only meeting your obligations, but also making sure that each stakeholder in the process succeeds as well.  Tomorrow’s webcast can enable you to get a “clue” regarding your eDiscovery process – with a special guest!

Tomorrow at noon CST (1:00pm EST, 10:00am PST), CloudNine will conduct the webcast Get a “Clue” Regarding Your eDiscovery Process. In this one-hour webcast that’s CLE-approved in selected states, we will discuss the various participants in the eDiscovery process, what motivates each of them, and best practices on how to avoid becoming the next high-profile eDiscovery disaster. Topics include:

  • The Process: Managing the Project from Initiation to Close
  • The Phases: Managing the Flow of ESI Before and During the Process
  • The Players: Goals and Objectives of Each eDiscovery Stakeholder
  • Whodunnit?: Lessons Learned from a Large Financial Institution’s Mistakes
  • Whodunnit?: Lessons Learned from a Government Entity’s Mistakes
  • Whodunnit?: Lessons Learned from a Medical Center’s Mistakes
  • Recommendations for Avoiding Your Own Mistakes
  • Resources for More Information

I’ll be presenting the webcast, along with Tom O’Connor as always.  But, this time, we will have a special guest — Mike Quartararo!  Mike is the founder and managing director of eDPM Advisory Services, a consulting firm providing e-discovery, project management and legal technology professional services to law firms, corporate legal departments and service provider organizations. He is also the author of the 2016 book Project Management in Electronic Discovery, which merges project management principles and best practices in electronic discovery.

To register for the webcast, click here.  Even if you can’t make it, go ahead and register to get a link to the slides and to the recording of the webcast (if you want to check it out later).  Three guys with beards on the Wolfman’s favorite day, what could be better!

So, what do you think?  Do you have a “clue” about how to avoid your own eDiscovery disaster?  If not, please join us!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Clue Board Game Image Copyright © Hasbro

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.