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[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 13, 2016 12:00:00 PM / by Alma Asay

Allegory is a litigation management tool - encompassing not only evidence and transcripts, but the full scope of materials, issues, and work product critical to winning a case. Just as “practice management” software helps lawyers in small firms manage their law firm, Allegory helps lawyers – at firms of all sizes, from two-person boutiques to Vault 10 BigLaw – collaborate and manage their litigations.

Now, you might be asking, isn’t that what e-discovery software is for? The short answer is no. It's easy to be confused; after all, most of the discussion over litigation technology over the past few decades has centered on e-discovery and how to effectively triage the terabytes of data that may be relevant to a dispute down to a “responsive” set of documents that must be produced to the other side. But what else is happening before, after, and during the e-discovery process? This is where Allegory comes in.

Introducing the "Upside-Down T"

To give some perspective, we've introduced the “Upside-Down T” model of litigation (depicted below), where we flip the e-discovery process on its side and show how e-discovery, as a distinct process, intersects with the traditional litigation process:

Allegory Law - Upside-Down T of Litigation.jpg

 

Distinguishing the EDRM

There is, as every lawyer knows, a lot more to litigation than e-discovery. The E-Discovery Resource Model ("EDRM"), developed over the past 10+ years, refers to everything that comes after Production as “Presentation," which is defined as: “Displaying ESI before audiences (at depositions, hearings trials, etc.), especially in native & near-native forms, to elicit further information, validate existing facts or positions, or persuade an audience.”

The EDRM makes no mention of pre-discovery activities, such as initial investigation, drafting the Complaint or Answer, interviewing witnesses, or filing a Motion to Dismiss. Similarly, so-called “end-to-end” e-discovery tools start with steps like Early Case Assessment and Collection, and definitively end with “Production.”

Where does this leave law firms, lawyers, and paralegals with respect to everything else? For most, it leaves them trying to manage and connect the dots across thousands – if not tens of thousands – of “key” documents using shared drives, Excel, or outdated, limited "case analysis" tools designed for a different era of litigation.

A New Tipping Point

For awhile, these methods worked well enough. But just as e-discovery reached a tipping point, we are now seeing a new tipping point – one that directly threatens lawyers’ ability to effectively litigate their cases. As the amount of electronic data has increased exponentially, it is no longer simply the amount of irrelevant data that is unmanageable, but also the amount of relevant - often, critical - evidence and other key information that is impossible to manage and track, even with (or especially with) large teams of people.

For example:

  • Your client comes to you to file a lawsuit. As part of your initial investigation, and in order to draft the Complaint, the client sends you key documents and sets up interviews with witnesses, whose memory is likely to be more fresh now than it will be when their deposition is taken years later. You carefully review these key documents and meet with witnesses, taking detailed notes. How do you ensure that these initial impressions and work product aren’t lost as the case progresses?

  • You are defending a deposition and the attorney on the other side, for reasons unknown to you, introduces a document that you haven’t seen before. On a large case, it’s very likely that this document was used at an earlier deposition, but your team has been barreling through depositions and you haven’t seen every document introduced at every deposition. How do you quickly determine where this (and any other version of this) document has been used before and what other witnesses said about it, in order to understand what point the other side is trying to elicit?

  • Your summary judgment or other pre-trial motion has been sitting with a trial or appellate court for months, or even years. In the meantime, attorneys and paralegals on the matter have left the firm. Suddenly, out of the blue, a decision is issued and the case is set for trial. No one with institutional knowledge of the case is around, so you have to cobble together a new team. How do these new team members even know where to start, and how does the client feel about paying for ramp-up time just to get them up to speed?

  • At some point, you know that someone said something about “riddle,” but you can’t remember if it was in a produced document, a deposition, maybe a letter? You need to find that reference, and you need to find it fast, but how?

  • You are at trial and a witness’s testimony causes you to rethink your approach to the following day’s witnesses. That night, your team meets to discuss the changes and you leave the office, trusting your team to get you an updated outline and set of exhibits you intend to use, which are now in a very different order than they were when the witness exhibits were originally compiled. How do you enable your team to make changes to binders, exhibits, and outlines on the fly, in order for you to effectively make your case, when there are hundreds or thousands of exhibits and ever-evolving testimony to consider?

Litigation Management is No Longer Optional

The examples above are just a few of the kinds of problems that Allegory is designed to solve. As a Senior Associate from a top BigLaw firm recently told us:

“Allegory has been incredibly useful for organizing depos with travel and a lot of exhibits. I might have gone crazy otherwise.”

The fact is, traditional litigation activities present unique challenges, are overseen by a different set of professionals, and require a different tool set than e-discovery. Just as it became irresponsible to conduct e-discovery without the use of e-discovery technology, we are at a new tipping point where it is becoming irresponsible, particularly in large, complex cases, to conduct litigation without the use of litigation management technology like Allegory.

 

Topics: E-Discovery, LegalTech, Litigation Management, Education, Insights

Alma Asay

Written by Alma Asay

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