What Is A Subject Matter Expert In The eDiscovery Field?

Posted by Jeremy Greer | Tue, Jan 19, 2021

In the electronic discovery field a subject matter expert (sme) is someone who can (if called upon) validate the veracity and integrity of all eDiscovery practices. A document with “probative value” is essentially a fact that is of-interest and can be used to persuade in a court of law. At the highest level, subject matter experts determine how to find documents with probative value while ensuring that all metadata is maintained.


Why "Bring Your Geek To Court?"

In some cases, a subject matter expert will need to testify in court to explain and defend specific choices and practices. Most sanctions and challenges in eDiscovery have to do with “have you preserved and disclosed relevant documents” Have you failed to locate all relevant documents because you didn’t have the expertise to know where to look? Do you have accurate information about who, what, when and where?


Topics Relevant To A Subject Matter Expert May Include

  • How to create or understand data canonical or IT map to identify which systems are likely to carry data with probative value
  • Preservation practices
  • Forensically sound acquisition of data
  • How to craft boolean searches combined with filters to find relevant topic clusters + being able to demonstrate that attorneys have done all they can to find relevant data
  • Technology-assisted review


Preservation and Forensically Sound Acquisition of Data

Appropriate preservation and collection processes are crucial to ensure that the full range of potentially relevant data can be available to attorneys for review. A term of art used to describe the collection step is “forensically sound acquisition”. There are many different types of metadata, and all of it must be preserved in order to meet legal obligations – eDiscovery processing engines will allow all available data to be viewable and filterable within the software environment. This data could be useless, or the data could be relevant. It is up to the reviewer to decipher the data and find trends.


Technology Assisted Review (TAR)

What is DWR Gist and TAR? GIST is Digital WarRoom patented AI technology designed to learn from your initial review decisions and either mark documents for you or prioritize likely-relevant documents

A subject matter expert can offerr knowledge and expertise to construct searches and particular filters that isolate relevant data. Specific boolean search techniques, as well as specialized AI in the form of TAR, can save time and accelerate the process of meeting review/production obligations in large data sets. Digital WarRoom offers a tool called GIST.  Gist is a specialized product and feature addition that may be added to any Digital WarRoom environment. Our development and project management teams will meet with the customer to discuss the area of need and ultimately build a model to prioritize relevant documents. Gist has machine learning and technology assisted review capability and can rank documents based on the criteria and can be sorted on a scoring system from 1-100. It is important to recognize that even sophisticated attorneys should utilize the support of subject matter experts when operating AI tools. For example, our experts can help you examine questions such as: are you getting the results you expect? For gist – in order for the model to properly rank based on relevance, reviewers must mark every document that’s put before them – and that means both responsive and not responsive marks. Ultimately, it can be hard for for Digital WarRoom experts to tell people how to find processed bias using gist. For any company using GIST, we recommend utilizing technical experts with particular job skills and training to inform legal professionals on the best way to use GIST.


Digital WarRoom Subject Matter Experts Are Standing By To Assist

Digital WarRoom is loaded with subject matter expert geeks, many of which possess decades of work experience in eDiscovery. We often write memos, declarations and have testified in court.

Our ediscovery software allows legal professionals to process, review, and produce documents which may be relevant to litigation. We provide adequate training so that new customers can perform standard functionalities of the tool without the need for a consultant or other authority to intervene. In 2012 the Digital WarRoom team began to migrate its business model to a subscription software company. Our subject matter experts still offer a selection of professional services to our customers, but keep in mind that most eDiscovery capabilities can be handled in-house with in-person training. For more information, our demo calendar is open for a Zoom meeting slot in 30 minute or 1 hour increments.