If 90% of the world’s data was created in the last 24 months alone and 80% of that data is unstructured, how can any legal professional, let alone any human, possibly keep up? With the explosive growth of data showing no signs of slowing, lawyers are left figuring out how to leverage e-discovery to use this huge volume of data to gain a competitive advantage for their clients.
Grappling with the most effective ways to conduct e-discovery, now a $10 billion market, has long plagued the legal industry. Today’s expanding legal and regulatory demands, along with growing compliance costs, are combining to bring audio and video electronically stored information (ESI) to the forefront as a discovery concern. Manual transcription of audio is tedious and reactionary, not to mention expensive and time-consuming, taking thousands of reviewer billable hours. In addition, manual transcription of audio suffers major accuracy challenges, particularly with voicemails. Even many of today’s technology tools are limited by their inability to reduce the volume of audio and video files to a more manageable level for review.
That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in as a better alternative for managing e-discovery processes. Legal teams are using AI today to transcribe, translate, redact, and find objects—all with structured and conceptual analytics—with higher accuracy results by blending and orchestrating multiple cognitive AI engines, pulling in the strongest AI engine to address specific areas.
In doing so, AI technology transforms every second or frame of audio or video content into a format that can be discovered, produced, searched, and analyzed for words, phrases, faces, sentiment, and voice identification. Legal teams are able to take that unstructured data and produce an index, or structure, within a matter of minutes, automatically culling data and identifying only the most relevant content. This dramatically compresses the time and effort required for e-discovery and frees attorneys to do what they do best: litigating.
Just as importantly, AI can help maintain compliance by scanning content across various forms of communications. Using AI engines, firms can check employee interactions conducted via media including emails and recorded phone calls to check if their language and conduct comply with legal regulations. By leveraging AI, legal groups can implement a proactive approach to communications compliance monitoring, constantly and thoroughly reviewing material in near real-time with a level of efficiency that would be impossible using traditional manual techniques.
But it’s not enough to just review audio and video files. One should also look at the data about or beyond the data – the metadata from each frame, which like audio and video ESI itself, must also be produced and discovered to meet legal requirements. On a frame-by-frame basis, AI is able to extract metadata about whatever is happening in that frame of data or second of audio. Through this extraction, AI allows someone to make better sense of that information and take action. In this way, the technology is not held back by a person’s biological limitations or inherent bias; it’s constantly watching over everything a human can’t possibly see.
AI will not replace human lawyers, who will always play the central role in the practice of law. Rather, AI technology can help a people-powered legal team become smarter and more productive—enabling them to swiftly meet e-discovery, regulatory compliance, and business intelligence requirements. With AI on the job, legal professionals will be able to focus their valuable time on crucial tasks that make the best use of their education and experience.
E-discovery as we know it is changing. AI technology has the power to improve efficiency, cut costs, and make better use of legal professionals’ time and client resources.