Farrah Pepper, Executive Council, Discovery
The GE Discovery Center of Excellence (COE) is a team within GE Legal that develops enterprise strategy and policy related to data lifecycle and document discovery. The GE Discovery COE is keenly focused on leveraging technology to maximize efficiency, cost savings, innovation and value. Particularly in litigation and investigations, the legal team’s success or failure hinges on the quality of the underlying data and the ability to reconstruct the truth. Given GE’s large size (300K+ employees) and global footprint (180+ countries), the volume, burden and associated costs can be immense.
Faced with this challenge, the GE Discovery COE team embarked on an initiative to reimagine the traditional legal model (i.e., broad swaths of data collected, processed and “eyes on” review by large teams) and modernize it for a new era. The new GE model fights fire with fire. The paradigm shift begins at the outset of the matter, when there is an initial phase of intense analysis, referred to as Early Data Assessment (EDA). Using analytics blended with human ingenuity, this phase includes timeline analysis, data gap analysis, search term refinement, communication pattern analysis and predictive grouping of like documents. The result? GE has a more intimate understanding of its data and a much smaller and precise set of documents.
The GE Discovery COE has successfully overseen a decrease in the costs of processing data by 38 percent and an 80-90 percent reduction in the volume of data that requires review. With just a fraction of the data set surviving rigorous applications of analytics, GE is able to greater control its costs and get to the critical data faster, driving smarter and better substantive results for the company. This has not only reduced the technical cost per gigabyte of data but has also reduced the downstream legal fees by at least 25 percent.