Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

"There is no one I’d rather have leading the fight when our financial future depends on winning."

Alan W. Slepian, Esq. – Formerly Assistant General Counsel of PG&E National Energy Group


Litigants have been wrestling with the cost implications of managing the collection, review and production of the ever increasing amounts of electronic data ever since the 2006 changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which officially made all electronically-stored information (“ESI”) discoverable in US courts.

Today’s typical E-discovery undertaking involves culling client electronically stored information (“ESI”) from the appropriate data-stores, then filtering it according to file types, date ranges and keywords, after which attorneys conduct a linear, eyes-on documents, review.  This linear approach to reviewing electronic production on a document-by-document basis has been the generally accepted method for years, and works well in many varieties of litigation.  However, as clients’ ESI and data volume continue to grow in both size and complexity, this kind of review (on average the most costly and time-consuming aspect of the discovery phase) is no longer practicable or sustainable.  This is the case especially in light of today’s high original data volumes and low proportions of relevant information. 

Attorneys and E-Vendors have been developing search methods that focus on reigning in the increasing costs associated with electronic document review – computer assisted electronic document review.  Over recent years, these strategies have had evolving monikers but they are commonly named “predictive coding”, “machine learning”, “technology-assisted review”, or “analytics”.  These cost reducing technology-driven strategies refer to computer applications that receive input such as coding decisions from human attorneys for a certain subset of documents, and then use that input to help categorize, ‘predictively’ code, or rank the remaining documents in the set.  Predictive coding essentially uses a learning process comprised of a mathematical algorithm to find identical or similar issues or discussion within the rest of the document population.

Attorneys and document reviewers employing such mechanisms on behalf of their clients are able to identify representative document types and then have the software analyze the entire date collection in order to find instances of conceptually related documents (i.e., “more like this”).  Other aspects of technology-assisted review boast being able to:
-    automatically organize entire document collections;
-    automatically prioritize “key” or “hot” documents;
-    automatically categorize documents by key phrases, concepts and names;
-    automatically determine the relevance, responsiveness, and privilege status of any document;
-    locate all similar or related documents irrespective of keywords; and
-    algorithmically reduce the number of documents requiring eyes-on review, which therefore reduced billable hours.

It should be kept in mind that computer assisted electronic document review is just another tool and if used improperly could result in increased costs and headache.  But, if used competently, it can expand the decisions made according to a small sub-set of documents to a wider population of documents and considerably increase efficiency.  It is gaining popularity in litigation involving large amounts of ESI because it can be a powerful document review tool that has the potential to increase efficiency and decrease costs.  The time and expense of predictive coding processes can be a fraction of that of a full manual review, but potential users should always proceed with caution and with good advice from counsel that has significant experience or specialty in this area.

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?