Bringing the legal industry into the digital age: How Everlaw is advancing ediscovery and the search for truth
By Jesse Wedler, Partner at CapitalG
Originally posted on March 11, 2020
CapitalG seeks out visionary founders. We partner with entrepreneurs who are transforming industries and help them accelerate their growth. This search led us to AJ Shankar.
While getting his PhD in computer science, AJ saw first hand the difficulties lawyers face. His advisor asked him to help on a side project for a law firm and he built a simple tool that applied machine learning to legal discovery. He was blown away by the value he could add to the legal process by introducing a small dose of modern technology.
So in 2011 he started Everlaw — to bring cutting-edge technology to the legal system, with the belief that both lawyers and society at large will benefit from having better access to the truth. We are thrilled to support Everlaw’s approach and believe they have a huge opportunity to help modernize the legal industry.
The cost of finding the truth
To understand Everlaw’s opportunity, it’s important to look at how the legal industry operates today. At its core, any legal case or investigation is about collecting information and forming a perspective on the truth.
A critical part of this process is ediscovery — gathering large amounts of data, organizing it, and piecing together a timeline. This is often a tedious process and missing even one piece of information can alter an outcome, sometimes with life-changing consequences.
To ensure accuracy, legal teams spend material time and energy in the ediscovery process, resulting in $14B in annual spend and growing.
The challenges of timely ediscovery are intensifying as discoverable data is doubling every three years, and being generated across fragmented formats. The solution to date has been to hire more people to manually review and piece together sequences of information. As a result, nearly 75% of ediscovery spend today is on services. The existing tools and services heavy model is no longer scalable at the rate that discoverable data is growing.
We believe that human judgment will always be required for forming legal opinions, but the processing of data and workflows associated with ediscovery can greatly benefit from modern technology.
Transforming the way litigators work
Enter Everlaw. Everlaw’s mission is to promote justice by illuminating truth. To do this they built a cloud-based platform that uses AI to enable legal teams to process data more easily and efficiently. It pieces together huge datasets, uses modern search algorithms to surface relevancy, and automates processes that were previously manual.
Across conversations we had with current and prospective customers, it was obvious that Everlaw has product love. Customers rave about Everlaw’s intuitive interface, speed of search, and transparent pricing.
Everlaw’s cloud architecture supports materially faster processing times: 8x faster at document uploading and 67% faster at document review compared to competitors.
This material improvement in document review is enabled by a combination of machine learning to more accurately surface relevant information, and a modern workflow designed to continually learn from reviewer decisions.
Another critical requirement for legal teams is security, given the constant handling of sensitive information. Everlaw’s security is second to none, it is the first cloud-native ediscovery software to earn FedRAMP Moderate Authority to Operate with support from the Department of Justice. Security is built into the DNA of their product and we see this as a testament to Everlaw’s deep understanding of challenges litigators face.
Everlaw started with ediscovery and has already launched products to address case story building and deposition workflows. This is just the beginning of an exciting product roadmap that will leverage intuitive design, collaboration, and best in class security and cloud technology to modernize how legal teams work around the world.
CapitalG’s Series C Investment in Everlaw
We are thrilled to be embarking on this journey with AJ, the remarkably talented Everlaw team and their existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Menlo Ventures, and K9 Ventures. AJ and the Everlaw team have the deep technical expertise and product vision that will enable them to transform the legal industry and we are excited to be long-term partners in supporting this mission.
Special thanks to Rose Yuan and Jeremy Zhu for their contributions to this article.