REVIEWER: Mark Karnick, chief information officer at Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP.

BACKGROUND: Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP is a full-service law firm offering a range of legal services to a diverse client base. The firm’s clients include national and international companies and private entrepreneurs. The firm's practice areas include business and entertainment litigation; intellectual property; corporate securities; international business transactions; real estate, land use and government relations; green building; taxation; and environment and energy.

PLATFORMS: Relativity 7 from kCura runs on Internet Explorer 7 and above for end users and is based on Microsoft SQL architecture.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Document review is often the most time-consuming and expensive stage of the e-discovery process. The shift from paper documents to electronic evidence has accelerated in recent years. Consequently, our firm is often tasked with reviewing large volumes of electronic data under strict time constraints while ensuring that relevant documents are identified in the most efficient and cost-effective way. Relativity is a robust, scalable platform that provides a sophisticated Web-based document review tool, along with a repository that can handle massive volumes of data. In addition, Relativity allows users to customize and automate workflows, visualize relationships between documents, and use text analytics to search based on ideas rather than keywords alone. It helps make the document review process fast, flexible and accessible.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Relativity 7 includes several new features that make document review quicker and easier. Relativity’s user interface has been modernized, and native file viewing and email threading have been improved. For increased document review speed, a "Copy From Previous" button lets reviewers easily carry over classification decisions to new documents. Reviewers can also quickly jump to any redaction or annotation in a document, and a new persistent highlight tree lists all of the keywords in a given document along with the number of times each keyword appears, providing a quick overview of each document. This is extremely useful when used alongside Relativity’s clustering feature. Clustering brings similar documents together, allowing users to get into a productive flow as they code the same type of documents in rapid sequence. In addition, Relativity is unique in allowing users to build their own applications in the software, and Relativity 7 includes new features to make developing these applications easier.

STRENGTHS: The main strength for Relativity 7 is the even faster speed at which documents can be reviewed; no other platform is as efficient, in my view. In addition, reviewers can be up and running in Relativity very quickly thanks to an intuitive Web-based user interface. Relativity also has advanced document processing capabilities and can quickly and easily produce document collections for submission to opposing counsel and other parties. Features like clustering and the persistent highlight tree help present a well-rounded overview of each document, increasing reviewer productivity. General improvements to performance and scalability make supporting Relativity 7 easier for administrators.

WEAKNESSES: Relativity is a complex program with extensive customization and security options. Fully leveraging Relativity's features and functionality requires significant back-end support. While our firm chose to deploy Relativity in house, smaller organizations that do not have internal support resources may benefit by partnering with a Relativity service provider. Relativity has a large community of certified resellers that offer hosted solutions and support options that can be scaled to any size organization.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Relativity has the ability to handle the largest and most complex e-discovery projects while offering a range of features that maximize speed and productivity. For us, document review speed was the number one factor, though we also appreciate Relativity’s clean user interface and ease of training.

DELIVERABLES: With Relativity 7, we can efficiently review, analyze and produce e-discovery documents in a number of formats. The output is a customized production consisting of responsive documents that can be redacted, endorsed and numbered as dictated by the requirements of the litigation.

VENDOR SUPPORT: kCura has increased their support hours over the last year and now provide 24-hour assistance though a combination of live and on-call support. We recently called technical support, and the woman who answered the call was the same one who taught our admin class – a very smart idea. They also actively seek customer feedback for new features and product improvements.

DOCUMENTATION: Relativity documentation is extensive and thorough and is available on the Relativity website. 

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