Power

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.

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