LFD 6 – Consistent interface across all Disco projects

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Disco prides itself on its lack of customization.

Regardless of the matter you’re working on or the firm you’re working at, Disco looks and works the same. Once you learn Disco for one matter, you’ve learned Disco for all matters. Because of this consistency, using Disco quickly becomes as much second nature as using Word.

And because there is nothing to configure or customize in Disco, there is no “pre-work” — believe it or not, this is a real term from Relativity’s documentation — to be done in setting up Disco for a new matter. Or, as we like to say, “no pre-work required, but a post-work beer recommended.”

LFD 5 – Three simple screens

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

One screen for search: this lets you run and refine any search; displays results in a summary grid that shows key information about each result; allows you to download an index of search results; shows a search builder, search examples, search history, saved searches, and assignments; and lets you mass tag all or selected results.

One screen for review: this lets you view, add, and remove tags; navigate to related documents; see a near-native rendering of the document; see document metadata; apply, remove, or change redactions and document notes; click through search-term and global-highlighting hits; and download the original or any stamped copies from productions

One screen for productions: this lists and shows you details for all prior productions; lets you download, delete, or search within productions; and lets you create new productions with all production options.

Learn three screens and you can run a review in Disco. We don’t bury features behind endless wizards or separate sections. Everything you need is right in front of you.

LFD 4 – Productions are stored and searchable

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Never again will you be forced to contact a vendor or litigation support to find documents from a prior production.

All productions are stored in Disco under “Produce” for the life of the matter. You can download the complete production, including an automatically generated index, any time.

When you run a production, Disco adds the stamped production images to the produced documents in your database. You can search for these images using Bates numbers. You can also filter searches by production and search within productions using Disco’s complete search syntax. And when you view a document that has been produced, you can download any of the Bates-stamped versions of that document in addition to the clean copy. What you see is exactly what opposing counsel received.

In multidistrict litigation, for example, antitrust or product-liability cases with multiple groups of plaintiffs in different forums, you may want to review a collection once but produce separately in dozens of different cases. In Disco, you can do this easily by running multiple productions from the same database with different Bates prefixes. Disco keeps track of the different productions and prefixes, lets you search within any of them, and lets you download the correct stamped version of any particular document for the case you are working on.


Tools for finding evidence trade off mandatory workflow against raw power. All tools in the market other than Disco lean extremely toward mandatory workflow. Disco as it currently exists leans equally extremely toward raw power.

Lawyers focused on winning cases generally prefer raw power. They care about things like instant search and rendering and the ability to do everything themselves. Staff, including both staff attorneys and lit support people, focus on supporting lawyers in defensible ways, not on winning cases, and generally prefer mandatory workflow and process to raw power.

This is why the closer a legal team is to the paradigm of senior trial lawyer + trusted team of associates, the more perfect Disco seems to them. People like this hate cumbersome, slow tools; they want something powerful and fast that lets them get right at the evidence without jumping through any hoops.

The closer a legal team looks to a giant contract review shop, the more fearsome Disco seems to them — at least initially. People like this want safety, repeatability, defensibility, procedure, and workflow into which they can feed armies of essentially fungible users. They want software that minimizes mistakes, not maximizes the output of great lawyers. Disco can help teams like this too, but it is a tougher sell because the real benefit is not to them, but to their bosses.

A primary law search analogy is helpful. Westlaw is designed for lawyers. If you were to design a legal research tool for “contract lawyer researchers” you might ask it to do things like force them to explicitly design, test, and have searches approved; to make initial, recorded calls about whether cases or statutes warrant further review; to pass potential sources through multiple levels of escalation, each working to winnow sources down by content, whether they help or hurt, and useful excerpts for briefs; and to have the results then reviewed by the real lawyer. But you can see how horrible this would be for lawyers like us to use! The hypothetical product is designed to prevent bad lawyers from making mistakes, not help great lawyers win.

All this is not to say that Disco is against workflow features. Many of them are great; we have added many of them, including the detailed ingest logging and the audit logs of reviewer activities; and many more are on our roadmap. The point of this is to explain the design thinking behind Disco, who we are building the product for, and what we are trying to avoid. The goal is to help great lawyers find evidence faster, not help staff lawyers find evidence safer.

LFD 3 – Do everything from your desk

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Lawyers shouldn’t need help to do ediscovery.

Disco lets you create and delete tags; run and save complex searches; tag and mass tag documents; set up, distribute, and monitor review assignments; check the overall progress of the review; create and delete users; and run productions yourself.

Gone are the days of sending these projects off to litigation support or a vendor to be done, getting something wrong back, sending the project off again to be fixed, and so on while deadlines loom or are missed. Disco puts you in complete control.

And if you ever do need help, Disco provides 24–7–365 support through tickets, in-Disco chat, and telephone. Since so many Disco employees, in all departments, were partners or associates at law firms before joining Disco, we understand your deadlines and work your hours.

LFD 2 – Westlaw- and Lexis-style search syntax

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

The same search syntax you learned in law school works in Disco:

  1. space for Boolean or;
  2. & for Boolean and;
  3. % for Boolean not;
  4. quotation marks for phrases, for example, “signed agreement” to find that exact phrase;
  5. ! for stemming, for example, guarant! to find guaranty, guarantee, guarantor, guaranties, guarantees, etc.;
  6. /n for proximity searches, for example, lunch /40 shred to find lunch within 40 words of shred; and
  7. fieldname(terms) to search a field, for example, custodian(Holcombe) to search for Holcombe in the custodian field.

A lawyer fluent in Westlaw- or Lexis-style search needs no training to begin finding evidence faster in Disco.

LFD 1 – Speed

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Disco delivers 1/3 second search and 1/10 second document navigation, even on the largest multiterabyte datasets. That is search literally in the blink of an eye and document navigation faster than a Ferrari shifts.

Waiting for searches to run and documents to load, especially on large datasets, is the number one cause of lawyers’ frustration with other ediscovery platforms. Customers switching from Relativity, Kroll, Viewpoint, Concordance, Summation, and similar products have reported instant search speeds in Disco for datasets that took seconds, minutes, or, in one case, overnight to search in these other platforms. Disco solves this speed problem.

Speed benefits lawyers in two ways: first, lawyers complete reviews and find evidence faster; and second, lawyers’ quality of life is better when they can focus on practicing law instead of waiting on slow software. As important as these benefits is a third: responsive software puts evidence directly in the hands of senior lawyers. The litigator trying a case or arguing a summary-judgment motion can pull evidence from Disco as quickly and easily as he can pull cases from Westlaw or Lexis.