This interview is part of our new AI in Law series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and the legal industry.
In this interview, we speak with Neil Etheridge, Chief Marketing Officer at DISCO, to understand how his company is using AI to transform the legal industry, and what the future of law holds.
What’s the story behind DISCO? Why and how did you begin?
NE: DISCO was developed at a litigation boutique in Houston, born out of the firm’s frustration with conventional e-discovery tools that were slow and difficult for lawyers to use. Instead of forcing lawyers to adapt their work methods to technology, we wanted to invent technology that works the way lawyers work. DISCO was the result.
Today, DISCO is a leading provider of software-as-a-service e-discovery solutions for law firms, corporations, and government agencies. Our technology and services automate and simplify complex and error-prone tasks that distract from practicing law, and empower lawyers and their teams to effectively manage discovery processes. This lawyer-centric approach to features and design has not only made DISCO the best-funded enterprise legal technology company in the market (our latest funding round in January 2019 brings total investment to $135M) but has also created a solution lawyers love to use.
Please describe your use case and how DISCO uses artificial intelligence:
NE: Discovery is typically a labor-intensive, error-prone process that involves processing and reviewing millions of documents to find relevant information for a lawsuit. DISCO’s software simplifies this by providing fast and accurate review, thanks to cloud-native architecture and tagging predictions from its advanced AI capabilities.
DISCO AI surpasses industry standards in machine analysis by harnessing deep learning for artificial neural networks; this asynchronous learning process complements lawyers’ normal practice and workflow. As document review begins, DISCO AI observes decisions and develops intelligence based on user actions. When the system has relevant learning to share, it presents recommendations in real time. This parallel process allows the review to remain unhindered, surfacing predictive counsel only when relevant.
DISCO AI is extremely accurate not just for responsive reviews, but adaptable for use on constantly changing reviews like compliance or anti-corruption investigations.
Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
NE: DISCO is the e-discovery partner for prominent law firms and high-profile matters (legal cases). In 2018, DISCO increased its Am Law customer base by 35 percent, adding firms such as Kennedys, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and Quarles and Brady. Its plaintiff law firm business grew by 163 percent with customers including Kahn Swick & Foti, Motley Rice and Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley. It nearly doubled its corporate client base, grew its litigation boutique business by nearly 50 percent, and increased the number of matters by 130 percent over 2017.
One example of how a customer is using DISCO AI is the Zostavax shingles vaccine multidistrict litigation. A plaintiff steering committee co-led by Morgan & Morgan and Sadaka Associates selected DISCO, highlighting our AI features as a key differentiator for interrogating adverse party productions. DISCO’s AI brings an unrivaled speed and accuracy to finding the outcome determinative documents that enhance testimony and ultimately improve case results for plaintiffs.
A national credit union also used DISCO after a data breach. The credit union initially conducted a review with 12 reviewers over 5 weeks, finding 95 affected individuals. Looking for a more efficient process, the credit union engaged DISCO and thanks to the speed gained from DISCO’s predictive AI, one reviewer found 33 additional individuals in a single day.