Data, Data Everywhere

Craig Cannon and his team attempt to make e-discovery more manageable

Published in 2019 North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine

By Rob Kalesse on January 24, 2019


E-discovery is a major upgrade from the days of printing and photocopying documents—“the needle in a haystack” approach, says Craig Cannon of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton—but the sheer amount of discoverable data now makes for one heck of a haystack.

“Some of the largest cases Kilpatrick handles have 20-plus terabytes of data associated with them,” Cannon says. “Estimates have placed the size of the Library of Congress at 15 terabytes.”

That’s why Cannon and his team developed LitSmart, an e-discovery platform. The proprietary tech featured in LitSmart helps integrate the work of data analysts and e-discovery attorneys. The tool is backed by a support group that includes 15 technically trained project managers, analysts and database administrators who help with coding.

“The electronic discovery process entails identifying, collecting, processing and presenting data in a logical, sensible manner,” says Cannon. “But the data can be fraught with issues if that process is not done right. … Through predictive coding, active learning and other automated review processes, we can teach the software what is valuable and leverage algorithms to produce the right information based on an attorney’s search. 

“The goal of LitSmart is to minimize large data sets and present them logically, in compliance with applicable states and federal rules of civil procedure.”

If Target and Facebook are subject to hacking, a law firm’s cache of sensitive information could make for an attractive target. “Security is a concern at all times,” says Cannon. “Kilpatrick’s data centers are located in Equinix facilities that offer the highest levels of security, are ISO-certified, and are regularly audited and penetration-tested.” 

Cannon says a financial institution is the perfect example of a client with a case that involves sensitive data. That client may have robust security, but if the law firm is not, “that info goes right out the door,” he says.

“Law firms assisting clients with e-discovery, cybersecurity and privacy projects need to be able to ensure clients that they’re using a safe platform,” says Cannon. “Since our clients expect us to be tech-savvy, we need the security to back it up.”

Several innovations are featured under the greater umbrella of LitSmart, like Exhibit Sticker, which automates the process of exporting and stamping trial exhibits; and Shipping Tracker, which tracks the movement of sensitive data.

“Most clients will put data on an encrypted hard drive because transmitting it physically can be tricky, but some still feel more comfortable sending physical data,” says Cannon. “With Shipping Tracker, the client can access our secure environment, request a delivery sheet, and the information is conveyed to an account with their carrier, before beginning its journey.” 

LitSmart was named a global finalist for the Relativity Innovation Award for Best Law Firm Solution for the fourth year in a row.

“We foster a highly creative working environment where new ideas are welcomed, and where new innovations are implemented on a regular basis,” says Cannon.



A Byte Breakdown

Cannon says Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton handles cases with 20-plus terabytes of data. But what does that mean? A primer:

1 terabyte = 

3.6 million 300KB images

300 hours of good-quality video

1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica


10 terabytes = 

The printed collection of the entire Library of Congress


20 terabytes = 

The first five years’ worth of humanity’s tweets, from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first on March 21, 2006 (when it was still called Twttr) to March 21, 2011

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