It has become increasingly common for both in-house and defense counsel to find themselves confronted with the task of analyzing a large incoming document production. Incoming collections always present special challenges. The team may be less familiar with the language of the other side’s documents. Or perhaps many of the original players in the events may no longer be readily available for questioning. In spite of these difficulties, counsel must answer four fundamental questions:
- Did we receive the documents we asked for?
- Based on what we received, did we ask for the right things?
- What do these documents actually say about the issues?
- Which documents will become exhibits?
Examining large incoming collections can be very time-consuming and expensive, and most attorneys tend to have a low tolerance for these costs. This task is also not well suited to the various AI solutions that focus on determining what subjects a document is about, but not what the document actually says about the subject. In this article, I want to demonstrate an amazingly effective workflow for examining incoming collections. The workflow is based on the mathematical consequences of the Poisson distribution as applied to the observance of rare events.