Symantec Adds Transparent Predictive Coding to eDiscovery Platform

By Thor Olavsrud

Symantec Monday promised to help reduce the cost of document review when it comes to eDiscovery with the addition of Transparent Predictive Coding to its Clearwell eDiscovery Platform.

We live in a world of a boggling and ever-increasing volume of electronically stored information (ESI) that has turned eDiscovery -- the process of discovery of ESI in civil litigation -- into a fast-growing industry and an often expensive process for the firms undergoing it. Research firm Gartner has predicted that eDiscovery will grow at a CAGR of 14 percent, and it will be a $1.5 billion industry in 2013.

The volume of data now to be found in the archives of many organizations means that document review often consists of a lead attorney managing teams of 100 contract attorneys as they pore through documents to determine whether they are pertinent to the case at hand. This can make document review the most expensive part of the eDiscovery process.

"It's a little like a game of telephone operator in the room when you were a kid," said Kurt Leafstrand, directory of product management at Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC). "A senior attorney might understand the facts of the case, but they have to relate that to a team of contract attorneys and rely on them."

Leafstrand explained that Transparent Predictive Coding uses expert lead attorneys to train the software so that it can flag relevant documents, reducing the need for large teams of attorneys and streamlining the process.

"The stakes are high when it comes to eDiscovery requests," Leafstrand said. "It is vital for businesses to be able to use advanced technology to support their needs, and also to be able to understand how the technology works so they can defend their process. With Transparent Predictive Coding, Symantec will take the mystery out of predictive coding by providing a new level of visibility into the reasoning behind document decisions, and by documenting the entire process. This can help organizations defensibly and significantly reduce the time, risk and cost of eDiscovery review."

Leafstrand explained that as expert reviewers tag documents in a training set, the software identifies tagging criteria common across the documents, giving it the ability to predict the reviewer's coding across all case documents, requiring fewer documents to be reviewed manually. Because defensibility is essential, the platform automatically documents its workflow with comprehensive reporting tools so legal teams can demonstrate process integrity to the court, opposing counsel or government regulators.

Unlike other tools on the market, Leafstrand said that the Clearwell eDiscovery Platform with Transparent Predictive Coding actually lets reviewers see the criteria used by the platform to make individual decisions about the relevancy of each document.

"You can actually compare it against a control set of human reviewers," he said.

The new features of the Clearwell eDiscovery Platform as part of Transparent Predictive Coding include:

  • Smart sampling, which offers sophisticated analytics by criteria including custodian, discussion, concept and participant to ensure the selection of relevant training samples and provide greater prediction accuracy.
  • Smart tagging, which gives reviewers the ability to highlight the metadata and content relevant to a tagging decision for more granular training.
  • Prediction insight, which provides a prediction probability score for the document under review and highlights content and metadata relevant to the prediction.
  • Prediction Workflow Management, which provides a review management console with step-by-step guidance that automates the predictive coding workflow.
  • Prediction templates, which gives users the ability to import and export prediction models.
  • Prediction analytics, which delivers a set of interactive charts and reports to enable reviewers to measure prediction accuracy and analyze documents by probability score.
  • Review quality control, which provides a comprehensive quality assurance workflow for linear and non-linear review.

Symantec plans to make Transparent Predictive Coding generally available as part of the core Clearwell eDiscovery Platform in the second half of 2012.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

This article was originally published on January 23, 2012