To Find Effective AI Solutions, Look for Four Qualities in an eDiscovery Partner

July 5, 2024



Cassie Blum
Cassie Blum

Technology solutions are only as good as the benefits they provide. We make that point in another post, where we walk through the potential benefits of two types of modern AI.

But how do you find AI solutions with real benefit? How do you know which ones will be effective in the ways you need—and which ones are more “hypeful” than helpful?

One of the best ways to judge a solution is by getting to know the company behind it. A few key questions and focused conversations can reveal whether a partner has the mindset and expertise that lead to highly effective tools.

Of all the characteristics a qualified partner ought to have, the following four have the greatest impact on the AI solutions they develop.

Focus on productivity

While AI is capable of many impressive things, it’s important to find solutions that make a tangible difference and have a measurable impact. To find these products, find a partner with a passion for productivity.

That means taking conversations beyond product and service descriptions and talking to partners about their priorities, along with how and why they work with AI in the first place. Are they both aware of and concerned about the amount of effort required for your team to complete their tasks? Do they show a close understanding of the key components to implementing effective AI—and where it can be truly useful for your organization?

Many partners only skate on the surface of these topics. If they aren’t informed and passionate about your daily challenges and opportunities, how effective can their tech be at addressing them?

Partners who do have deep knowledge and passion for productivity are much more likely to offer strategic and impactful ways of using AI. These include high-volume, routine tasks where technology can reduce costs and the burden on human resources without increasing risk.

Collaborative spirit

A true partner not only focuses on your team's productivity but also collaborates with you to find ways to improve and enhance it. This collaboration is what makes technology most effective.

Collaboration drives effectiveness in two ways:

  1. It helps a partner identify pain points and use cases where AI has the greatest potential to make an impact.
  2. It allows AI solutions to be stress-tested and informed by the people they’re meant to benefit.

Ask potential partners how they develop their tech and what role collaboration plays in that process. When you find a partner who collaborates, together you’ll draw a direct line between your needs and the AI solutions they bring to the table.  

Human-centric approach

Be wary of partners who assert that an AI solution is totally automated, plug-and-play, or hands-off. If the solution operates without some guidance and/or oversight of its performance, the partner either puts too much trust in the solution or designed it for work that is inconsequential.

When the work matters, and AI is expected to play an effective and significant role, it needs to be paired with people. AI is intelligent, but it’s still a tool. It is most effective when it’s combined with—and overseen by—human intelligence.

Look for partners who take a human-centric approach to AI. This means not only designing AI tools with human end-users in mind, but also focusing on use cases and creating workflows that allow a proper balance between human and machine.

Ask partners to map out how the content and predictions made by AI are reviewed and validated. Also inquire about their team: Do they have experts who adjust AI models and work iteratively with you to train and adapt them to the idiosyncrasies of each matter?

A human-centric approach may not be “hands off,” but it’s highly effective—including cost-effective. While a partner with a team of experts may appear to be more costly, the enhanced results these experts can achieve with AI ultimately results in a more effective use of the technology, generating savings of both time and money.

History of innovation

Large language models (LLMs) may be the shiny new object of eDiscovery tech, but they’ve actually been around for years. Before ChatGPT proved to a global audience how powerful LLMs can be, some eDiscovery partners had already studied this area of AI and developed LLM-based solutions to improve the accuracy and speed of privilege and responsiveness detection over the traditional machine learning technology used in the industry.

Some partners may not have extensive experience with AI, and LLMs may be a new concept for them. As a result, their AI solutions may be recently developed, rather than being refined over time and informed by past experiences. This can have a significant impact on their effectiveness.

To find the most effective AI solutions, find someone who has participated in AI’s evolution since the beginning. Talk to partners about their history with AI, their goals, and their perspective on AI’s role in eDiscovery. The deeper their experience with and knowledge of AI’s components and capabilities, the more likely they are to utilize them in ways that truly matter for your team.

Listen closely, and the right partner will stand out from the noise

Everybody’s talking about AI, but if you listen closely, you can tell not all partners are saying the same thing.

Find one who focuses on productivity, collaborates with teams like yours to develop the best solutions, takes a human-centered approach, and has a deep reservoir of experience to draw from.

That’s a partner with solutions you can believe in.

Discover how Lighthouse is helping clients to use and govern AI effectively on our website.

About the Author

Cassie Blum

Cassie is a Senior Director for Review Consulting, and has over 15 years of eDiscovery experience spanning the EDRM as an Attorney, Project Manager, Review Managing Attorney, and Consultant. She has extensive experience supporting global financial services, technology, and pharmaceutical industry clients with workflow consultation and review management, including early case assessment, complex data repository management, multi-district litigation, and second requests. In her current role, Cassie oversees a team of consultants who advise on review-related workflows, leveraging best practices, leading technologies, and Lighthouse offerings to reduce cost and streamline review. Cassie also advises on and develops Lighthouse process standards and best practices, along with steering new product development. She received her J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and is licensed to practice in Missouri.