Why is Audio and Video e-Discovery important for Law Firms?

by | Published on Jul 29, 2022 | Audio Transcription, Legal Transcription

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Audio and Video

In today’s digital world, audio and video content play a key role in the legal arena. Online meetings, for instance, provide lawyers with a reliable channel to communicate with other lawyers and their clients. Legal transcription services allow law firms to document these interactions for reference. However, with the growing volumes and types of electronically stored information (ESI) generated in law firms, manual creation of transcripts to review audio/video content can be a challenge. eDiscovery technology enables law firms to automate audio/video file indexing, transcription, and search.

Law firms of all sizes generate an enormous amount of digital information and audio and video can be subject to legal discovery. The ESI that a law firm holds such as email messages, voicemails, presentations, word processing files, spreadsheets, tweets, Facebook posts and all other relevant communication or information can be useful in litigation. eDiscovery is applicable to any system or device on which ESI is stored, such as servers, desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, backup tapes, and even home computers and other personally owned devices.

With office communication moving to virtual format, law firms make many decisions in meetings held on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or other video conferencing platforms. The amount of discoverable audio/video evidence, including content from dashcams, body cams and security cameras, has increased significantly. According to reports, over 3 trillion minutes were recorded on Zoom in 2021 (backlinko.com). In March, cloud-native investigation and litigation platform Everlaw reported a 250% increase in A/V files transcribed on platform, surging from 35 million in 2020 to 133 million the following year.

Audio and video e-Discovery use AI-enabled tools and help law firms leverage this digital data. According to Deloitte, eDiscovery technology can reduce the time required for transcription by as much as two-thirds, while providing consistent, accurate results. The specific benefits of audio/video eDiscovery for law firms are as follows:

  • Improved management and review of large electronic data sets: ​ With eDiscovery, law firms can easily manage and review large volumes of data, including structured datasets such as spreadsheets, text documents or e-mails, and unstructured data such as recorded phone calls, surveillance footage or other audio or video content. Modern (eDiscovery) technology enables legal professionals to deal with the continually growing volumes of ESI generated on different platforms. Automated transcripts speed up and ease reviewing of audio/video documents.
  • Transforms unstructured audio/video content into discoverable format: Leading eDiscovery platforms leverage automated transcription and video OCR to transform unstructured files into text. This reduces the arduous workload resulting from the volume and complexity of this data.
  • Supports smart decision-making based on facts: Audio and video communications could contain valuable insights that could determine the results of litigation. With eDiscovery, lawyers can eliminate guesswork and bias, make informed decisions based on this evidence, and win the case.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Manually sifting through and reviewing the large volumes of data generated by the increased use of virtual meeting tools can be costly and time-consuming. With their advanced integrated functionalities to transcribe and search these recordings for evidence, eDiscovery solutions help law firms to manage review of audio and video media in a systematic and cost-effective manner. With AI technology, eDiscovery is improving efficiency, cut costs, and promoting better utilization of legal professionals’ time and client resources.
  • Helps maintain compliance: Courts impose many different types of sanctions on discovery violators. Avoidable discovery mistakes lead to client dissatisfaction. To avoid sanctions for discovery violations, legal teams need to be able to review and produce responsive unstructured data files. Efficient use of technology can significantly reduce costly errors and violations by enabling early data assessment, filtering and review as appropriate for each matter.
  • Security: Law firms manage important, sensitive client information and need to ensure that the data remains secure. eDiscovery solutions allow legal professionals to manage their operations remotely from any location and ensure the privacy of sensitive information for long periods of time.

By automating discovery data absorption, file indexing, OCR, document review and generation of electronic evidence., modern E-discovery software solutions allow lawyers to find, organize, and identify critical electronic data easily. Law firms must take care to choose a user-friendly eDiscovery option that can integrate with their practice system. The platform should have proper security controls to ensure confidentiality of private data. It is important for to have legal team work with IT to develop data retention and deletion schedules for all content types, while ensuring compliance with regulatory and statutory requirements.

The ability to handle audio/video files quickly and efficiently is critical for legal teams.
However, audio eDiscovery technology is not a silver bullet and as Deloitte points out, is not a replacement for human review and analysis. At best, it can help cut the time and expense of discovery by determining if the audio in question is relevant and thus needs to be evaluated further. Audio transcription quality depends on audio quality, which can be affected by technical issues, multiple people speaking at once, phonetically similar words and other factors. Legal transcription outsourcing to a reliable service provider is the best option to overcome these concerns and ensure transcription quality. Experts can review AI-generated documents and help law firms meet e-discovery requirements, regulatory compliance, and helps legal professionals focus on their core tasks.

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