January 31, 2017

Can Data Analytics after E-Discovery Help with Trial Preparation?

John Austin

Most attorneys conducting e-discovery employ data analytics to expedite the e-discovery process by helping attorneys review documents for responsiveness and privilege issues. But once the discovery is completed, can it help attorneys with trial preparation? If the case involves boxes or even boatloads of electronic documents, then the answer is an emphatic yes.

Once the attorneys have culled the documents for relevance and privilege, they can be left with thousands (if not millions) of relevant documents to be used by them or opposing counsel at trial. Data analytics can add to their utility well after the production period by using the same analytics techniques applied during production. Using the technology, lawyers can quickly identify the key documents which support each element of their case to assist in depositions, deposition preparation, witness preparation and cross examination.

Data analytics can also provide the attorney with a list of documents prepared by or sent to a particular witness. Key facts to assist with preparing for depositions or simply to support court presentations. Data analytics can also assist in terms of assessing potential damages and risk assessment by providing attorneys an overview of the extent of damages and the pool of plaintiffs.

Most excitingly, data analytics can be used in real time during trial. In the event a witness pivots or unanticipated evidence is introduced, attorneys can quickly access an array of documents on the laptops in the courtroom to quickly counter those changes.

Of course, embracing an analytics-based approach requires experts who understand both analytics technology and the legal industry. Third-party vendors with vetted reputations should be considered. If a firm is large enough, it may develop its own in-house data analytics team.

John Austin

Principal at John Austin Law Firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.