Ropes & Gray has a unique and robust E-Discovery, discovery strategies & data analytics practice, led by Band 1 Chambers-ranked and Tier 1 Legal 500-ranked global practice head Shannon Capone Kirk. Our team also includes discovery attorneys who speak a number of languages, and more than 20 global litigation technology professionals, many of whom are active, client-facing technology consultants.
Known as industry leaders in international E-Discovery strategy, our team leads E-Discovery aspects of major international investigations, data breaches, and civil litigation across all industries and jurisdictions, and is a key participant in many global legal industry think tanks focused on the adoption of new technologies. Our cutting-edge E-Discovery team leads strategy for “virtual firms” and acts as national E-Discovery counsel for multinational clients located across Asia, North America, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Our multinational focus has given our team a wide range of experience in various privacy, blocking, state secrets, banking and other laws that impact E-Discovery strategy.
Our team manages electronic discovery projects ranging from minimal to extensive, often involving terabytes of data and hundreds of custodians. We have extensive experience working with clients that have large data sets located all over the world, so we are sensitive to data privacy laws restricting the transfer of data beyond borders. Our team often strategizes on litigation readiness programs, protocols to collect and review data in foreign countries, and on the most efficient, practical and cost-effective document preservation, collection and review plan for any given matter, managing stakeholders involved, including legal, IT, privacy, information security, information management, and business groups across global locations.
Given the enormity of data volumes at issue in modern litigation, as well as the sheer volume of data sources to consider and the attendant complexities that these involve, nearly 80% of a litigation’s budget and time can be spent on important pretrial discovery strategy. It is no longer the case that lead trial counsel can rely on associates to review boxes of documents in a warehouse.
Today’s complex litigation requires serious consideration of strategy around discovery motion practice, interactions with magistrates and special masters, 30(b)(6) preparation on IT, technology and preservation issues, complex privilege review and logging, consideration of an enormous, and sometimes conflicting, body of law on the topic of E-Discovery, as well as strategic considerations around review scoping and methodology, including advanced technology assisted review and technology-based, interactive cross-team project management. Our team has a wealth of experience successfully managing all discovery aspects of complex litigation, which is as critical to the success of a trial, or settlement posture, as is who lead trial counsel may be.
Our E-Discovery team is recognized globally as industry leaders in the use of Technology Assisted Review (TAR) by leading publications and organizations, including Chambers, Financial Times, Georgetown University, Legal Marketing Association and the Electronic Discovery Institute (EDI). Notably, Shannon Capone Kirk is a contributing author to EDI Judges’ Guide to E-Discovery, in which she co-authored the TAR chapter for use by the Federal Bench.
Ropes & Gray is not only a power-user of TAR, but also leads advancements in TAR design with the development of a new, technology-assisted approach to investigative reviews: the Bifurcated Time-Based Technology- Assisted Investigative Review (BAT). The BAT methodology, when applied to traditional TAR, harnesses predictive coding and concept analytics to improve service to clients facing internal audits or governmental investigations.
Ropes & Gray continually examines the experience, security, cost containments and reliability of its legal outsourcing providers. We evaluate pricing and fees to identify the most cost-effective document review and technology options on a case-by-case basis. Our experience using a range of vendor-hosted ESI processing and review services allows us to implement efficient and cost-effective document review and production processes, with the focus on reducing the number of legal hours required for document review while meeting our discovery obligations.
We utilize market-leading technology, both internally and through third-party vendors, for matter management. Time and time again, clients come to Ropes & Gray for our real-world and practical experience with these tools. Because we are not tied to any one E-Discovery provider, and instead use a range of providers based on costs, expertise, and other considerations, we are able to flexibly provide the most appropriate, cost-effective resources for each matter.
In any investigation, given the wide variety of data sources in which relevant information might exist, it is typically necessary to hold witness interviews early in a matter in order to ascertain where witnesses might have created, received or held relevant electronic and paper information. In an effort to streamline the witness collection interview process, as well as ensure we zero in on areas for necessary inquiry during virtual, preliminary interviews, Ropes & Gray’s award-winning litigation technology team developed an automated (but guided) form. In tracking metrics on the use of this form, we note a 50% decrease in time spent gathering such information, while also decreasing time spent in virtual collection interviews, and increasing the reliability of preservation and completeness.
Due to the evolving technology landscape and the recent shift to a global remote work environment, the platforms on which business interactions occur have expanded to include text and app-based messaging. This movement towards using mobile communications platforms for business purposes has led regulators to re-emphasize their record-keeping expectations that employers control and maintain employees’ mobile data related to business communications, often located on their personal devices.
Ropes & Gray has developed market-leading expertise in advising clients on the regulatory risks associated with text trends and app-based communications. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked with a network of globally capable forensic engineers to refine and perfect our virtual data collection techniques so that all important data sources, including app-based communications, are collected, preserved and analyzed over the course of an investigation.
Our team strives to reduce E-Discovery costs by utilizing a combination of targeted collection strategies, data processing, early case assessment tools, concept analytics, TAR, and reasonable and reliable search methodology to cull the preserved ESI collection into a narrower set of potentially matter-relevant documents for review. In some instances, our approach with review project management and use of technologies can drastically reduce the cost for E-Discovery by as much as 60 to 70% and reduce time in review from months to weeks.
Ropes & Gray’s experienced E-Discovery team partnered with our award-winning anti-corruption and international risk attorneys to create a project management dashboard that is uniquely suited for virtual government and internal investigations. Having modified Smartsheet technology to our proven workflow, the dashboard captures complex and constantly evolving workstreams in one centralized location, accessible and updated in real time for cross-team and client visibility on the status of various tasks. The dashboard tracks multiple workstreams—including interviewing, document collection, forensic accounting, computer forensics and technology-assisted document review—by providing updates upon the completion of key milestones, reliably tracking a multitude of deadlines and escalating any outstanding tasks. The customizable nature of the dashboard means that work plans can be adjusted in real time to meet the ever-changing needs of the investigative process.
Ensuring that complex, global investigations stay on track, particularly in a virtual environment, requires the highest level of organization, and Ropes & Gray’s project management dashboard accomplishes just that in an efficient and cost-effective manner.