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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another Reason Fraud Has Skyrocketed in Legal Community

Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software
The New York Times by John Markoff - March 4, 2011

When five television studios became entangled in a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit against CBS, the cost was immense. As part of the obscure task of “discovery” — providing documents relevant to a lawsuit — the studios examined six million documents at a cost of more than $2.2 million, much of it to pay for a platoon of lawyers and paralegals who worked for months at high hourly rates. But that was in 1978. Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, “e-discovery” software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. In January, for example, Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, Calif., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000. Some programs go beyond just finding documents with relevant terms at computer speeds. They can extract relevant concepts — like documents relevant to social protest in the Middle East — even in the absence of specific terms, and deduce patterns of behavior that would have eluded lawyers examining millions of documents. “From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out,” said Bill Herr, who as a lawyer at a major chemical company used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end. “People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.” Computers are getting better at mimicking human reasoning — as viewers of “Jeopardy!” found out when they saw Watson beat its human opponents — and they are claiming work once done by people in high-paying professions. The number of computer chip designers, for example, has largely stagnated because powerful software programs replace the work once done by legions of logic designers and draftsmen. Software is also making its way into tasks that were the exclusive province of human decision makers, like loan and mortgage officers and tax accountants. These new forms of automation have renewed the debate over the economic consequences of technological progress. David H. Autor, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says the United States economy is being “hollowed out.” New jobs, he says, are coming at the bottom of the economic pyramid, jobs in the middle are being lost to automation and outsourcing, and now job growth at the top is slowing because of automation. “There is no reason to think that technology creates unemployment,” Professor Autor said. “Over the long run we find things for people to do. The harder question is, does changing technology always lead to better jobs? The answer is no.” Automation of higher-level jobs is accelerating because of progress in computer science and linguistics. Only recently have researchers been able to test and refine algorithms on vast data samples, including a huge trove of e-mail from the Enron Corporation. “The economic impact will be huge,” said Tom Mitchell, chairman of the machine learning department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “We’re at the beginning of a 10-year period where we’re going to transition from computers that can’t understand language to a point where computers can understand quite a bit about language.” Nowhere are these advances clearer than in the legal world. E-discovery technologies generally fall into two broad categories that can be described as “linguistic” and “sociological.”

The most basic linguistic approach uses specific search words to find and sort relevant documents. More advanced programs filter documents through a large web of word and phrase definitions. A user who types “dog” will also find documents that mention “man’s best friend” and even the notion of a “walk.” The sociological approach adds an inferential layer of analysis, mimicking the deductive powers of a human Sherlock Holmes. Engineers and linguists at Cataphora, an information-sifting company based in Silicon Valley, have their software mine documents for the activities and interactions of people — who did what when, and who talks to whom. The software seeks to visualize chains of events. It identifies discussions that might have taken place across e-mail, instant messages and telephone calls. Then the computer pounces, so to speak, capturing “digital anomalies” that white-collar criminals often create in trying to hide their activities. For example, it finds “call me” moments — those incidents when an employee decides to hide a particular action by having a private conversation. This usually involves switching media, perhaps from an e-mail conversation to instant messaging, telephone or even a face-to-face encounter. “It doesn’t use keywords at all,” said Elizabeth Charnock, Cataphora’s founder. “But it’s a means of showing who leaked information, who’s influential in the organization or when a sensitive document like an S.E.C. filing is being edited an unusual number of times, or an unusual number of ways, by an unusual type or number of people.” The Cataphora software can also recognize the sentiment in an e-mail message — whether a person is positive or negative, or what the company calls “loud talking” — unusual emphasis that might give hints that a document is about a stressful situation. The software can also detect subtle changes in the style of an e-mail communication. A shift in an author’s e-mail style, from breezy to unusually formal, can raise a red flag about illegal activity. “You tend to split a lot fewer infinitives when you think the F.B.I. might be reading your mail,” said Steve Roberts, Cataphora’s chief technology officer. Another e-discovery company in Silicon Valley, Clearwell, has developed software that analyzes documents to find concepts rather than specific keywords, shortening the time required to locate relevant material in litigation.

Last year, Clearwell software was used by the law firm DLA Piper to search through a half-million documents under a court-imposed deadline of one week. Clearwell’s software analyzed and sorted 570,000 documents (each document can be many pages) in two days. The law firm used just one more day to identify 3,070 documents that were relevant to the court-ordered discovery motion. Clearwell’s software uses language analysis and a visual way of representing general concepts found in documents to make it possible for a single lawyer to do work that might have once required hundreds. “The catch here is information overload,” said Aaref A. Hilaly, Clearwell’s chief executive. “How do you zoom in to just the specific set of documents or facts that are relevant to the specific question? It’s not about search; it’s about sifting, and that’s what e-discovery software enables.” For Neil Fraser, a lawyer at Milberg, a law firm based in New York, the Cataphora software provides a way to better understand the internal workings of corporations he sues, particularly when the real decision makers may be hidden from view. He says the software allows him to find the ex-Pfc. Wintergreens in an organization — a reference to a lowly character in the novel “Catch-22” who wielded great power because he distributed mail to generals and was able to withhold it or dispatch it as he saw fit. Such tools owe a debt to an unlikely, though appropriate, source: the electronic mail database known as the Enron Corpus. In October 2003, Andrew McCallum, a computer scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, read that the federal government had a collection of more than five million messages from the prosecution of Enron. He bought a copy of the database for $10,000 and made it freely available to academic and corporate researchers. Since then, it has become the foundation of a wealth of new science — and its value has endured, since privacy constraints usually keep large collections of e-mail out of reach. “It’s made a massive difference in the research community,” Dr. McCallum said. The Enron Corpus has led to a better understanding of how language is used and how social networks function, and it has improved efforts to uncover social groups based on e-mail communication. Now artificial intelligence software has taken a seat at the negotiating table.

Two months ago, Autonomy, an e-discovery company based in Britain, worked with defense lawyers in a lawsuit brought against a large oil and gas company. The plaintiffs showed up during a pretrial negotiation with a list of words intended to be used to help select documents for use in the lawsuit. “The plaintiffs asked for 500 keywords to search on,” said Mike Sullivan, chief executive of Autonomy Protect, the company’s e-discovery division. In response, he said, the defense lawyers used those words to analyze their own documents during the negotiations, and those results helped them bargain more effectively, Mr. Sullivan said. Some specialists acknowledge that the technology has limits. “The documents that the process kicks out still have to be read by someone,” said Herbert L. Roitblat of OrcaTec, a consulting firm in Altanta. Quantifying the employment impact of these new technologies is difficult. Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, is convinced that “legal is a sector that will likely employ fewer, not more, people in the U.S. in the future.” He estimated that the shift from manual document discovery to e-discovery would lead to a manpower reduction in which one lawyer would suffice for work that once required 500 and that the newest generation of software, which can detect duplicates and find clusters of important documents on a particular topic, could cut the head count by another 50 percent. The computers seem to be good at their new jobs. Mr. Herr, the former chemical company lawyer, used e-discovery software to reanalyze work his company’s lawyers did in the 1980s and ’90s. His human colleagues had been only 60 percent accurate, he found. “Think about how much money had been spent to be slightly better than a coin toss,” he said.

35 comments:

court insider said...

You see the lawyers used to be able to just crank out billable hours. And the amount of billable hours would just happen to equal how much money they believed they could extract from you. So when advanced technology came along, less billable hours followed, so the lawyers turned up their other methods of extracting your monies into their bank account. Family Court matters and the Trust and Estate area were hit the most.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can get Watson to run for Supreme Court Judge.

I'd be willing to have him decide the facts in my case.

Justice for all said...

Puff, all the swine are sent directly to Hell. Our present court system is costly, unjust, corrupt, filled by evil men and women, without respect and obsolete.
Since we have a system of laws and not men, we can scrap all the judges and lawyers and enter the data into a program and have real justice, not the whim or bribe induced decision of a judge.
Both sides examine all the facts and eliminate all conjectures on intent, since intent is subjective and a system of laws is ojective. All he said, she said is eliminated, unless corroborated by video or other witness.
Justice, then blindly, acts. A 1000% improvement.

Anonymous said...

Where are the feds on all of this?

Anonymous said...

About those Feds:


Has anyone noticed that it seems that pro se cases and cases attempting to address misconduct/corruption by judges/lawyers/courts, always seem to get thrown out by Judges before it ever gets to where a trial can be held?


Wasn't one of the functions of the Federal Courts to be to guarantee access to the Courts and to prevent "procedural barriers" from denying citizens their right to have their complaints tried in a real Court?


It doesn't seem that anyone can get further and filing papers and possibly a preliminary hearing. There always seems to be some reason or other that it's never good enough.


Maybe if some of these cases actually were able to go to trial, it would actually make less work for the Courts because the crooks would have something to fear. Right now, they can get away with anything they want.


Just askin'.

Anonymous said...

The lawyers have had a lock on litigation by manipulating the costs and thereby controlling the outcome in many cases. Anything that prevents this from happening in great. Of course the lawyers play both sides of the street and would sell out 'their' clients in favor of the other side with the deeper pockets after all it's only business after all and that's the name of the game with the oldest profession in the world!

Anonymous said...

by the time a case gets to pro se, some lawyer probably already committed fraud and they are on a mission to deny, discredit and defame your name behind your back...this transfers over to the judges and you've already been denied your right to speak!

Anonymous said...

by the time a case gets to pro se, some lawyer probably already committed fraud and they are on a mission to deny, discredit and defame your name behind your back...this transfers over to the judges and you've already been denied your right to speak!

Anonymous said...

You can say that again.

Oh, you already did.

Anonymous said...

No bag of money you say. Forget any hearing in the Feds unless your cousin is a Ex Federal Judge. Skadden Arps the mega law firm has plenty of cousins for sale.

Anonymous said...

How long will it take the lawyers to manipulate the software to their own ends? This way they windup in control once again. It's all about money and that's what these predators and their friends want.

Anonymous said...

What you are referring to is GIGO.

Garbage In Garbage Out.

But this is what goes on everywhere to hide the truth. Courts, financial information and newspaper reporting. The list is endless.

Anonymous said...

Agree with all of the above.

On a practical level, however, would like and request and respectfully ask the operators and owners of the within website, www.exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com

to post a copy of the Certified Mail delivery of the Lippman FBI Correspondence that allegedly was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This would go a long way to establishing credibility of the process.

Also, due to the utmost serious nature of the allegations Weekly updates at minimum should be posted by the Website owners and operators.

Also, recent news claims that US District Judge Scheindlin's Financial Disclosures indicate ( allegedly ) that the US District Judge has Direct Financial Interests in both the Intel Corp and IBM.

Yet, this is the same US District Judge where ALL of the "Related" Cases ( Anderson, Iviewit, Capogrosso, Esposito, Mc Cormick et al ) were personally taken to by an operator of this site and thus far all cases have gone into the "tank" and were dismissed.

Did this Operator at this site know of the Financial Interests in Intel and IBM that would be impacted by the Iviewit case in advance?

In the interests of integrity these disclosures are now requested.

Respectfully,

krh of hvr

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, after all of these request I will for the person responsible for this site to take me out to dinner, buy me drinks, and pay my rent. I really love people who DO NOTHING yet, go after those doing something to expose the massive corruptiion. These pedophiles Judges and attorneys deserve the death penalty by hanging. Go get a life krh of hvr or better get your own website.

Anonymous said...

So hey mr or mrs anonymous, why not be non - anonymous? funny how you make personal attacks but don't show yourself?

all the issues raised are meritorious and legitimate and if there are meritorious and legitimate explanations and responses bring em forward.

or continue to be a part of the anonymous crowd that lured people in to doing things and made representations about actions that never came while hding in the dark

maybe just look up the terms "reasonable reliance" and "integrity" would be a good start

krh / hvr

galison said...

To "Anonymous" above,

KRH's request is absolutely valid and reasonable, in contrast to your nasty, sarcastic, personal swipe at KRH.

If this website purports to write a letter to the FBI and Cuomo, it is logical that they should confirm that the letter is actually delivered and any response (or lack of response) should be reported to the readers.

With all your talk of courage and integrity, you look pretty silly hiding behind anonymity.

Will Galison

Anonymous said...

once they have violated your rights, they continue to do so to keep you in and out of courts your entire life and make it cost you.......the corrupt tell each other how to do this so they do not get caught
the only thing our complaints do is allow some to follow the path of corruption and maybe if they choose & can make a few changes in our system........

Anonymous said...

at least the Attorney Grievance admitted my lawyers were ...
but the time it gets to the Attorney Grievance it is too late, they already did it and will continue to cover their butts anyway they can!

Anonymous said...

so the lawyers turned up their other methods of extracting your monies into their bank account

yeah, they make up laws(lie cheat steal) as they go along as they are extracting money to the exact amount they agreed on when they took your case

Anonymous said...

Some are fighters...

There was a guy who called himself
Lawyerdude... He was disbarred by the State, but represented clients in Federal..

He found a way...

Anonymous said...

Will Gallison if you believe my comment made anonymously was an attack to you, krh and any other. Please take notice I don't run the site, I don’t know who runs the site, I don't know you all, and really don’t care if Pee Wee Herman runs the site. I am just tired of seen a whole bunch of winning people DOIN NOTHING and demanding those who are at least exposing the truth to run by your rules. I have a big case yet, I haven't been able to do anything because I don't know how much the Judge received on pay off's and kick backs to do a counter offer for the judge to rule in my favor.
So, instead of winning do something about. What have you been doing?? You people have some serious issues and Kleenex does not make enough tissues to deal with all of your issues at the same time.
So, I suggest that Instead of having your “secret” “Breakfast Pity Club” meetings, to talk about getting royally screwed. Get together and be productive, I suggest you follow the PETA approach and use your funds and energy to wall paper the entire state with pictures of the criminals ruining the legal system and destroying individuals, children, and their families. Instead of attacking anybody and everybody who makes a comment that differs from yours.
If you so wish to have the original papers walk in to an FBI office and demand your own copy, I am sure they will welcome you with open arms. That way you can be certain that the information is valid. If not then open your own website and take your followers with you. I heard your “secret” meetings are very productive from the point view of a “Breakfast Pity Club” objectives.
Trust me you don’t know me and you will never have the pleasure of knowing me, because I only search for like minded people, willing to stand up and grab the bull by the cojones.

Anonymous said...

Will Gallison if you believe my comment made anonymously was an attack to you, krh and any other. Please take notice I don't run the site, I don’t know who runs the site, I don't know you all, and really don’t care if Pee Wee Herman runs the site.

I am just tired of seen a whole bunch of winning people DOIN NOTHING and demanding those who are at least exposing the truth to run by your rules.

I have a big case yet, I haven't been able to do anything because I don't know how much the Judge received on pay off's and kick backs to do a counter offer for the judge to rule in my favor.

So, instead of winning do something about. What have you been doing?? You people have some serious issues and Kleenex does not make enough tissues to deal with all of your issues at the same time.

So, I suggest that Instead of having your “secret” “Breakfast Pity Club” meetings, to talk about getting royally screwed. Get together and be productive, I suggest you follow the PETA approach and use your funds and energy to wall paper the entire state with pictures of the criminals ruining the legal system and destroying individuals, children, and their families.

Instead of attacking anybody and everybody who makes a comment that differs from yours.

If you so wish to have the original papers walk in to an FBI office and demand your own copy, I am sure they will welcome you with open arms. That way you can be certain that the information is valid. If not then open your own website and take your followers with you.

I heard your “secret” meetings are very productive from the point view of a “Breakfast Pity Club” objectives.

Trust me you don’t know me and you will never have the pleasure of knowing me, because I only search for like minded people, willing to stand up and grab the bull by the cojones.

RRR said...

jeesh..

if I had 124,650 tips/names/complaints

i'd certainly organize them and make a lot of noise..

HeyHoney said...

Where's your pot???

Anonymous said...

RRR open your own website get tips and go play the banjo...

Anonymous said...

The reason 'Fraud' has skyrocketed is that all lawyers are gangsters - and they believe that they have a license to steal with their law licenses.

Anonymous said...

To 6:42

lol..no receipt then eh?

124,000 tips.. really??

http://www.bioteams.com/2011/02/25/personal_management_software.html

The Guardian reports on the growth in "Persona Management Software" which individuals use to engage in web conversations using multiple identities on forums and social sites. The aim is to create the perception of a (fake) upswell in sentiment on a given topic (a practice is known as astroturfing). The most disturbing revelation is that the US Air Force have tendered for such software.

PMS said...

No wonder why they've been asking for evidence of mailing..


US Government Software Creates 'Fake People' on Social Networks to Promote Propaganda

http://www.seankerrigan.com/pms.html

PMS said...

124,000..

that's like 1/2 of a 1/4 of a million people!!!

Anonymous said...

to 5:43

Tips do not equal people.

Anonymous said...

To anonymously just askin:

ur just finding out that NY judiciary protects itself first and most times only? And we tax payers were suppose to fund the terror trials in NY state. No congressman wanted to fund that beast. Now lets c what the next fiscal ax job does to those judges we never liked. Lets start flooding the NYS website w/ our favorite picks and watch the behavior of the ones that stay change to one deserving a judciary merit award.....such pricks!

Anonymous said...

I hav a relative thats a former NY judge...i've should've asked him for advise during my deplorable experience in Queens Family Court. But now that i'm thinking about it, does he consider me family or the courts family?

WeWillWeWill said...

http://judgepedia.org/index.php/Judgepedia:WikiProject_New_York

Anonymous said...

They the lawyers can get away with fraud, no one will rat them out so that's why they do it

Tax Accountants in New York said...

Pretty interesting piece and blog, thanks for sharing.

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