Customer stories

Phillips Lytle

Phillips Lytle makes innovative use of AI to expedite legal review. OpenText Axcelerate enables a lean legal team to conquer 600,000 documents in just two weeks


  • Large amounts of data requiring accurate legal review
  • Expedited deadline that moved the case timetable up from months to just weeks


  • Targeted the review universe with advanced analytics

  • Adjusted the workflow on the fly to accommodate surprise data

  • Automated the review of over 500,000 documents with AI


Phillips Lytle is a premier law firm, recognized nationally for its legal excellence, passionate attorneys and thoughtful approach to client objectives. As a technology-forward firm, Phillips Lytle created an eDiscovery and Digital Forensics practice group to counsel their clients through the legal discovery process and offer end-to-end eDiscovery services, leveraging OpenText™ Axcelerate™. Led by partner Anna Clark, the team are experts in the intelligent application of advanced analytics and machine learning to cull data, reduce review costs and find the key facts that shape legal strategy sooner in the process.

Our attorneys outperformed client expectations by leveraging OpenText Axcelerate’s predictive coding in conjunction with intelligent sampling to categorize and predict the relevancy of documents with far more precision than typical TAR 1.0 workflows.

Anna Mercado Clark
Partner, Phillips Lytle LLP

Expediting a routine case turned urgent

In this matter, Phillips Lytle represented an employer in a discrimination case involving a universe of over three million documents. Initially, a traditional workflow of linear review and search terms was anticipated given the straightforward nature of the project. Culling with search terms reduced the universe from millions down to a more reasonable half-million and the team then began the manual review. However, just a few thousand documents into the review, the team was hit with an expedited deadline that moved the timetable up from months to just weeks. Relying on a linear review process was no longer an option.

Sampling for intelligent and defensible project planning

The Phillips Lytle team engaged OpenText™ Discovery to leverage Axcelerate for the review with support from the OpenText Professional Services team lead by Walker Hartz and his client services group. The unanticipated change in circumstance necessitated an innovative approach, combining statistical sampling, search terms, AI and validation testing to complete the review in time. Axcelerate’s continuous machine learning algorithm, predictive coding, was crucial to the process. It learns from human reviewer decisions, identifies the common characteristics of relevant documents and then finds similar content automatically, categorizing it and prioritizing the most likely relevant documents for human review. First, the team needed to understand the scope to craft an appropriate attack plan. Using Axcelerate’s integrated random sampling tools, the team was able to identify a reliable responsive rate of around 1.5 percent. In other words, the team knew they were looking for approximately 10,000 documents.

Repurposing existing work product and review decisions

To kickstart the machine learning process, the team repurposed roughly 5,000 decisions from the manual review. Additional documents identified through pattern-recognition and phrase analysis were added to the training cycle. This data was more than enough to generate reliable training for Axcelerate’s predictive coding engine. The initial training round ranked the potential relevance of the entire corpus of data on a scale of 1-100, and the team began carving up tranches for further investigation. Axcelerate’s unique approach to predictive coding enables user control when the system retrains and re-ranks documents. This functionality provided the team with the freedom to experiment and identify the sweet spot for highly relevant batches.

Applying predictive coding for expedited production

The team designed a unique workflow that hybridized two of the most widely used and judicially approved TAR approaches. Instead of coding a single training iteration, such as a seed set, entirely in the dark, the team leveraged TAR 2.0 to continually learn and suggest potentially relevant documents throughout the process, generating a far more accurate seed set than is possible under traditional TAR 1.0 workflows. After several rounds of targeted training, informed by statistical samples at each stage, the team used AI to categorize the remaining documents and bucket them into discrete confidence levels (e.g., 60 percent confident, 70 percent confident).

We’ve helped clients develop and implement every kind of workflow under the sun, from linear to continuous prioritization. When the case team brought us in we were able to adapt the workflow on the fly and leverage AI to hit the new deadlines.

Anna Mercado Clark
Partner, Phillips Lytle LLP

Validating success with empirical data

After using AI to automatically categorize potentially relevant documents, the team used validation testing to assess the accuracy and completeness of their review. They drew a sample of the non-responsive documents that were machine reviewed and categorized by Axcelerate. Less than 0.5 percent of the documents were miscategorized. Axcelerate’s machine learning had accurately categorized 99.5 percent of the data and it was clear that the review was hugely successful. Armed with objective data points, the Phillips Lytle team made a defensible and proportional decision to stop the review.

Innovating eDiscovery workflows with AI for efficient, rapid review Phillips Lytle distinguishes itself as a premier law firm with their remarkable approach that strategically combined Axcelerate’s continuous and supervised machine learning technology to minimize eyes-on review efforts. Phillips Lytle’s innovative process delivered better client satisfaction through intelligent application of technology. The team was able to minimize staffing obligations on a project that would have otherwise required a large team of review attorneys working around the clock. By leveraging Axcelerate’s industry-leading predictive coding, the Phillips Lytle team produce results that few firms can match.

About Phillips Lytle

Phillips Lytle is a full-service law firm headquartered in the U.S., serving clients around the globe since 1834. Phillips Lytle takes great pride in delivering the highest level of client service with over 190 attorneys working across eight offices on behalf of multinational organizations in complex litigation.

Learn more about Phillips Lytle LLP.