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Why We Need the Human Touch in eDiscovery Automation

Sep 11, 2019

Automation and artificial intelligence are continuing to bring significant improvements to the whole EDRM process – from information governance through collection, review and production. By eliminating many tedious manual tasks, these tools have enabled companies and law firms to focus their resources on more strategic and analytical concerns that are not easily handled by machines. However, regardless of how routine a task may seem, it still requires some form of human intervention.

A recent client issue is a good example of the problems that can arise. The client had automated their legal hold management. A list of custodians who were subject to the legal hold would be created and flow from Human Resources into the database which would send out hold notifications by email to the appropriate parties, gather information via questionnaires, automatically follow up with unresponsive custodians, track responses and generate reports. The process worked as intended except that no one confirmed that the right custodians were identified, necessitating a great deal of time and effort to correct this long after the fact.

To avoid these mistakes, before you rush to assign a task to machines, ask these questions:

  • Have you mastered the job you are automating? If you do not fully understand how that task is done manually and where the limitations and problems exist, your automation tools will not work as intended.
  • Did you check the accuracy of the information that goes into the process? Sometimes people spend so much time figuring out how to get information to flow from one place to another that they forget to check that the right information went in. Garbage in, garbage out.
  • How do you know your process is working correctly? Quality control is essential at each stage. Every process needs a manual check – a point sometimes forgotten in our haste to automate everything.
  • Are you analyzing results? Even if your automation is working as intended, you need to assess the time, cost, and quality of your results compared to other solutions.

While automation and AI can achieve remarkable results, the best results come when lawyers and technologists work together to develop the right processes and the necessary quality control behind them. eDiscovery service providers have an important role to play here by advising companies and firms regarding the most effective use of technology resources. As noted in a recent survey by Ari Kaplan Advisors, the ideal service provider “is someone who is going to proactively think about their matters and offer specific tailored solutions” that fit their client’s unique business needs. This requires close attention to detail that only human intervention can provide.

Contact the CDS Advisory Services team to discuss how we can streamline your next eDiscovery project.

About the Author

Evan Benjamin

Evan Benjamin

Evan Benjamin is a Senior eDiscovery Strategist at CDS and enjoys sharing his wisdom and passion for blockchain technology, GDPR, and many of the more in-depth processes that make eDiscovery work behind the scenes.