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The application of eDiscovery tools in Latin America

3 September 2020 | Luminance

Latin America represents a major legal market, with high growth rates and strong competition between local and international firms. Despite this, the uptake of legal technology, particularly in the eDiscovery space, has often been slow. Many lawyers continue to believe that such tools are not relevant for civil law jurisdictions, where codified statues rather than published judicial opinions predominate and where lawyer-led discovery is not part of the discovery process. At a recent webinar, Luminance spoke with Juan Di Luca, Founder and Operations Director at Data Analysis Services Ltd a global group of lawyers, jurists, accountants, forensic and data analysts who provide firms with discovery services, on how eDiscovery tools can help Latin American organisations save time and cost, why certain LegalTech myths persist around the applicability of AI in Civil Law countries and how some markets are missing out on the real value AI solutions can offer.

Growing demand for technological solutions

With many years’ experience of practicing law in Latin America and beyond, Juan was clear that “civil law countries and Latin America in particular are behind with legal technologies.” While the adoption of legal technologies has grown in recent years, it is still below the level of comparable firms in other markets. In Juan’s view this was partly explained by a legal culture which was less familiar using technology. The other key factor was the misconception that eDiscovery technologies were not relevant for lawyers working in civil law jurisdictions, where the concept of discovery is not a part of the legal process.

However, this traditional lack of interest in eDiscovery tools is rapidly changing. Latin American lawyers are increasingly finding themselves involved in common law litigation. As Juan noted “Latin America is one of the largest trading partners with the EU and USA. With growing trade always comes growing litigation and therefore a need for legal technology”. In an ever more globalised economy, Latin American lawyers need tools that allow them to advise their clients dealing with common law jurisdiction, for instance Juan pointed to the fact that “local laws increasingly have international arms such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which collects huge amounts of data in Latin America each year.” Latin American lawyers are also turning to legal technology as they see the utility of tools with applications beyond common law discovery processes, such as compliance with GDPR-style data protection regulations which are being implement across the region. Finally, there is a growing acceptance that legal technology represents the future as “new generations of legal professionals are becoming more familiar with these technologies and the results of these technologies”.

The value of AI for Latin American Lawyers

Faced with these trends Juan sees lawyers in Latin America increasingly to advanced eDiscovery tools, highlighting Luminance’s Discovery platform as holding much potential for lawyers in the region. To empower lawyers in an increasingly complex, international and unpredictable legal environment, Luminance has created the Legal Inference Transformation Engine (LITE), a unique blend of cutting edge supervised and unsupervised machine learning developed by mathematicians from Cambridge University which can read and form an understanding of all documents within a dataset. Luminance enhances lawyers’ review, allowing them to cut through large data sets to rapidly identify key documents pertinent to the matter at hand.

In Juan’s view the reasons for adopting Luminance in an increasingly globalised economy were clear as “the technology can be used in any jurisdiction and is language agnostic which is important for multi-jurisdiction investigations”. For Latin American lawyers who may not have a long experience with technology, it was important that with Luminance “It requires little training to start working in an investigation”.

Further, Luminance is not only a useful tool for Latin American lawyers working on common law litigation who need to cut through growing data volumes to find the key information, it also delivers value for lawyers across a range of use cases. As Juan pointed out, Luminance can enhance Latin American lawyer’s work across data protection compliance, business intelligence, internal investigations, arbitrations and a range of other legal work that firms might undertake in the region, thus providing a practice-wide tool to enhance document reviews across a multitude of areas and use cases.