A Case of Improved Efficiency, Productivity, and Quality Control

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The Solution
Attenex provided SQ Global the opportunity to address efficiency, productivity, and quality control measures in just one product. SQ Global primarily used Attenex’s Document Mapper. “We provided a visual overview of a large collection of documents,” says Mike Kinnaman, VP of marketing at Attenex. “We show how those documents relate to each other based on the content of the document. We extract nouns and noun phrases in the documents. Then we [show] how these [particular] documents relate to each other based on those nouns and noun phrases.” Williams says that the visual nature of the software allowed the reviewers to quickly identify documents that were coded inconsistently.

The concept clustering feature enabled the reviewers to determine which documents were “false positives,” notes Williams. For instance, in a lawsuit related to a slip and fall case, the word “slip” would be used as a keyword in a word search. “The word search looks for the word, but the concept clustering will allow you to see where the word ‘slip’ materializes in the context of lingerie,” says Williams. “You can immediately say, ‘That’s a false positive.’ We can eliminate those documents as not responsive, which is one of the primary drivers of increased productivity.”

Kinnaman notes how keyword searches are also limited by knowing those keywords. The visualizations provided by Attenex and Document Mapper are a much more efficient way to search the documents, he notes. “The power of visualizing is that we tell you what’s in the documents,” says Kinnaman. “We provide you a visual representation of that so you can quickly zone in to what’s of interest to you.”

Reviewers didn’t have to open every document because they could see document titles before the clusters were even opened. “You get a lot of information before you even open the document,” says Williams. “It’s very common to be able to eliminate 20 to 30 percent of any given document assignment in that way.”

Once reviewers find the similarities between documents, the benefits of the Attenex solution continue. “When you find information that is usable, you can use that document to find other documents that are similar,” says Kinnaman. “You can share that document with other people on the review team so they can find documents that they might be looking at that are similar.”

Getting all members of the review team accustomed to the software wasn’t a challenge. Training typically takes less than 1 hour, according to Kinnaman. “It’s quite intuitive once you begin to use it,” he says. “You’re opening documents, reviewing those documents and making a call on those documents. In this case, they had documents they wanted to mark attention to the economist. The [goal] is to figure out if the document is something of interest and what needs to be done with it next. In a lot of cases, a lot of the documents are of interest, it’s about marking documents as non-responsive and moving on to the next one.”

The software is odate the various ways in which reviewers utilize its functionality—so reviewers can move from one document to the next in a manner that is most comfortable to them without jeopardizing consistency and the overall quality of the project.

Williams says that she noticed reviewers had a different strategy when using the software. Some would try to locate privileged documents first. Others eliminated nonresponsive documents immediately. “Everybody does it in their own way, but it means that everybody can be as productive as they can be because they’re not forced to do it in a specific way,” says Williams. “It’s very positive and it’s good for morale.”

The Outcome
By using Attenex’s software solution, SQ Global completed the first level review of the documents in just more than 4 weeks—2 weeks early. “It meant that we had more than a week to work on quality control, which is rare,” says Williams. The project concluded in June 2007.

In terms of cost savings (without including the software purchase) and man hours, Williams says SQ Global would have used five times as many resources to complete the project if the company didn’t use Attenex’s tools. “Basically, we were able to do it with 20 percent of the staff that one would normally expect to need for a project of this size,” says Williams.

Because of the increased productivity that the Attenex product affords, the SQ Global team created for this project comprised about 25 attorneys. “If we weren’t using Attenex, we would have probably used 100 attorneys,” says Williams. “I’ve done second requests that had up to 150 attorneys on them.” The reviewers averaged about 2,500 documents each per day, which Williams says is five times the number of documents that can be reviewed using other types of linear, traditional review tools.

Because the software helped speed the processes while maintaining accuracy, SQ Global’s staff didn’t feel rushed; more attention was spent on quality control. “In terms of managing quality control on other software, it tends to be more ad hoc,” notes Williams. “You’re forced to rely on objective factors to determine how much quality control you’re going to do. You might not be able to quality control every single person’s work because you just don’t have the resources to do it. It creates other levels of bottleneck in the process.”

Improved communication with the client was another benefit afforded SQ Global by this increased emphasis on quality control. “Because of the way we manage quality control, we were able to leverage the statistical sampling and other processes Attenex allows us to do easily [so we could] report to the client on a regular basis in terms of quality control,” says Williams. “If we identified an issue, we were able to report it to them accurately and promptly. So it also made for good client communication.”

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