Building a New eDiscovery/ Disclosure Model at White & Case

Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer, White & Case
Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer, White & Case

Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer, White & Case

Over the past two years, the Knowledge team at White & Case has built a new model for handling litigation technology in-house—one that is saving our lawyers time, saving our clients money and producing better results. Our work was recently recognized by the Financial Times in its 2018 North America Innovative Lawyers report where we earned the number two spot overall.

The challenge

In most disputes, whether commercial litigation, arbitration or white collar, reviewing an ever-increasing amount of electronic data is one of the most expensive parts of the discovery/disclosure process. It is an area where clients frequently push for a more efficient, more cost-effective approach.

In response, White & Case has developed an ambitious in-house program for our disputes technology; hired a director of Practice Technology; and implemented a solution that includes AI tools, flexible licensing arrangements and enhanced staffing.

  In most disputes, whether commercial litigation, arbitration or white collar, reviewing an ever-increasing amount of electronic data is one of the most expensive parts of the discovery/disclosure process​  

Bringing this function in-house with the help of a managed services partner has given us a level of control and agility that we had previously lacked, in a way that makes financial sense.

The technology

At the heart of our in-house technology portfolio are hosting platform Relativity and advanced analytics tool Brainspace, which is used to parse huge volumes of data and visually cluster topics and communication threads. With these tools, what used to take months to do in some cases can now be done in hours, informing litigation strategy early on.

We also offer specialized tools such as EDT, a tool optimally used for international arbitration that handles processing, hosting, review and disclosure and, soon to come, Opus 2 Magnum, an AI-enabled tool for trial and arbitration preparation.

While we continue to facilitate clients’ use of vendors for various aspects of the discovery life cycle, more and better options are now available in-house. And we have developed a creative arrangement that allows our licensed technology to be deployed to clients in a way that complies with their individual data hosting and security requirements. The firm’s solutions can be provided to clients on their own premises, on a White & Case server, or even hosted in the cloud.

The team

For us, hiring the right experts was key. At the end of 2016, we brought on Janet Sullivan as the firm’s eDiscovery counsel and global Director of Practice Technology. She has 20+ years of experience as a trial attorney and over a decade of internal and client-facing technical consulting in eDiscovery. Janet shaped a team that has grown to 20 members, including certified data analysts and project managers. We recruited professionals from the Big4 accountancies who had data science or computer science backgrounds, advanced analytics certifications, processing certifications, or project management training.

This group works closely with our lawyers and clients to advise on the best use of technology for a given matter, as well as best practices related to data preservation, collection, processing, review and disclosure.

Having an accomplished team has helped build our credibility and quickly grow competitive.

The results

Initial results in the United States have been impressive, with case teams seeing an immediate benefit that translates into real savings for the client. In addition, our suite of tools and project managers have helped improve efficiencies and produce defensible and risk-appropriate work product.

The White & Case approach to licensing has put control of matter-related data firmly in the hands of the firm’s clients, meeting their complex regulatory and security needs, and demonstrating an ability to be more nimble than competitors. It also addresses the complexity of data management in the 21st century, with measurable success in accelerating the pace of document review, defensibly culling data sets, and predicting relevancy based on machine-learned criteria (predictive coding/TAR).

We are proud to have been able to move so fast over the past two years, and this success is not just due to embracing new technology, but also marrying it with the right talent— experts who know the tools and know the industry and can help our lawyers deliver the best service to clients.

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