The disclosure process is a necessary but often time consuming part of many legal cases. And in disclosing the necessary documents to the other party of the case, it’s important to be meticulous. This thoroughness of detail, and the disparate nature of the documents pertaining to the case can often make it a long and complex process. But it doesn’t have to be, and OCR technology and e-disclosure can play valuable roles.
What is disclosure
In law, disclosure is a collection of documents and evidence that is gathered by the opposing party which is disclosed to the defendant because they have the constitutional right to see what evidence will be used against them before trial.
Though disclosure is an age-old process rooted in law, many lawyers and others in the legal industry are today using modern high-tech solutions to make the process quicker and more efficient, and there are also a number of non-tech strategies that you can use to ensure things go smoothly. Here are four tips that you can use to streamline your legal disclosure process…
This might seem a little obvious, but the sooner you get the necessary components of the disclosure process kick-started the better. If you need to request detailed documents from your client to present to the other party of the litigation then this may take time for them to retrieve or even request copies from another third party.
With an ever-growing to-do list and a constant stream of emails, it can be easy for even the most dedicated of legal professionals to put off following up on a disclosure request by the courts, but making it a policy to send these requests the moment they become pertinent can make a significant difference.
Utilise OCR technology
The legal sector is often regarded as one of the most traditional of professions, but at the same time a growing number of lawyers and legal professionals are using modern optical character recognition (OCR) scanning technology to really reinvent their implementation of the disclosure process. OCR solutions such as those offered by Nuance’s OmniPage can enhance the process in a number of ways:
All documents can be reliably digitised, securely stored, and instantaneously shared as needed
Because scanned documents are converted into text which a computer can read, these can be searched through using specific pertinent words or phrases
Documents can be easily converted into all common digital formats
Use predictive coding when handling large volumes of records
One of the greatest current innovations in the field of e-disclosure is ‘predictive coding’, a process which is the next logical step on from manually searching through digitised documents for specific keywords. It works via machine learning, and combines the power of keyword searching and data sampling techniques to automate significant swathes of the disclosure process.
Essentially, when combined with accurate and secure OCR text recognition , predictive coding makes it possible to identify automatically the documents from within a large bulk of documents which are relevant to the case, by first analysing a small sample of those which are relevant, analysing their common characteristics, and then identifying similar documents based on those characteristics.
Back in 2016, in the Pyyrho Invs. Ltd. v. MWP Prop.Ltd case, the High Court effectively approved the use of predictive coding in the legal disclosure process, by ruling that it ‘can and should’ be used where appropriate to fulfil e-disclosure requests.
Keep good records of the disclosure process
Particularly during long and complex legal cases, it’s important to keep accurate records of which documents have been disclosed, which have been requested, and any correspondences relating to these. Again, the use of OCR solutions such as OmniPage will enable you to compile, securely store and share these documents digitally, whether they’re emails or printed letters and forms.
If you’d like to explore how digital solutions and OCR character recognition technology can take the pain out of your disclosure processes, take a closer look at Nuance’ s OmniPage.