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Speeding litigation prep with cloud-based tech

When it came to handling legal documents in complex multistate cases, the Ohio Attorney General's Office needed a way for out-of-state attorneys to review a single dataset. Last year, the office moved its litigation systems support into a cloud-based e-discovery and document analysis platform.

The Everlaw platform allows users to upload and work collaboratively with all file types in a secure environment, and it uses predictive analytics to determine which files will be most useful for attorneys to review.

Through the platform's StoryBuilder tool, teams can build a case strategy by curating relevant documents into a single narrative, creating outlines for depositions and drafting arguments for the courtroom.

The cloud-based platform streamlines and standardizes the review process so the office doesn't have to send a copy of documents "to several different state entities to review it on their separate state systems," Greg Veatch, senior legal technology specialist at the Ohio Attorney General's Office, told GCN. Additionally, expert witnesses "can log in from anywhere in the country to review a subset of documents that we can lock down in the database."

Veatch said the attorneys in his office found the most value in predictive coding tools that help users find relevant documents based on documents they've already rated.

"Once our attorneys understood the basic concepts behind it, they were excited to be able to [only] look at documents rated 80 percent or higher that met their needs," Veatch said. "They have also found a great benefit [to being] able to pull up their whole document set in courtroom situations if things go off the beaten path."

Veatch added that even when litigation was unlikely, colleagues throughout the office had shown interest in taking advantage of the StoryBuilder feature "throughout the entire life cycle of a case -- especially to collect evidence and authenticate items coming from the opposition."

Note: This article was updated on Aug. 7 to clarify how the new platform is being used. The Ohio Attorney General's Office uses a range of discovery and document analysis tools, and does not endorse Everlaw or any other commercial solution.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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