How Relativity + StoryEngine Solved My Unexpected Big Data Marketing Challenges

Published on January 9, 2020

Luke Riddle

Luke came to the eDiscovery industry straight out of college in a marketing and client education role. Through that process, he developed thought leadership around AI and alternative data sources that ultimately culminated in him speaking at ILTACON on using remote technology within the legal practice. He has also been instrumental on review webinars speaking on the economics of eDiscovery. Currently, Luke is an Account Manager at Acorn where he works with clients to understand how analytics, budgets, and timelines all fit together so that he can create a perfect workflow for their project.

When I began at Acorn, one of my first challenges was researching all potential previous relations with key accounts, in support of the sales team. StoryEngine

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The task seemed achievable; I had access to a database of all internal emails, approximately 1.7 million, containing every answer I needed. However, without the proper tools, such as Relativty or NexLP’s StoryEngine, to sort and review those emails, all that data was worthless.

Into the Great Email Abyss; Not a Great Outlook

I attempted to search for emails in Outlook to find who had talked to whom. It just led to frustration and disappointment. I either couldn’t find anything related to DCH or the search results were filled with third party newsletters and irrelevant email chains. There seemed no easy solution to reviewing mass amounts of communications, especially those dating back 3-4 years ago.

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Maybe I Don’t Need Email at All

I thought I had figured out a work-around to consulting the emails by just talking to people internally. But, I hit a wall with memory and availability there.

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It felt hopeless, until I talked to my Project Manager – and he gave me hope once again. So, back into the great email abyss, I went, but this time I was prepared.

Getting the Full StoryEngine

Since Outlook was useless in providing the insights I needed, I turned to Relativity with NexLP’s StoryEngine software on top of it. StoryEngine automatically categorized all the emails into people, developed a visual communication network and gave me a bird’s eye view of everything in a way that was easily digestible. Instantly, I was able to already identify my team’s involvement in these communications and also spot numerous people who might be key relationship.

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I used domain searching combined with StoryEngine’s visualizations. I was amazed at how much more efficient this was. I could identify key players in a matter of seconds and eliminate people who were not relevant through a simple point-and-click interface

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I had tried domain searching in Relativity, too. But often I would see a person’s name appear in a disjointed manner across many Relativity documents. StoryEngine’s AI helped me realize that that person was just included in a chain and was a relatively meaningless actor in the greater social dynamic.

The Last Piece of the Puzzle

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The real value I found with StoryEngine was identifying gaps in communications. When searching Dewey, Cheatham and Howe for Keith, I found that we had ample communications with them and had even worked with them on two cases before. But, none of the people Keith was interacting with were the people we had worked with before. The two communication networks were completely isolated from one another. I was amazed from this insight, as I would have never been able to have known this valuable insight without StoryEngine.

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What’s surprised me even more was that if someone at DCH had direct communication with our team – I could quickly see what they talked about. This helped me discern where we had relationships with decision-makers. Typically, these email threads consisted of 5-10 people CC’d and 90% will not be involved in the actual conversation but are just added as a formality. Being able to analyze the communication flows visually allowed me to spot the person who made meaningful contact with our team and quickly review their communications for the history of the relationship.

I Realize This Was Exactly Like the Services We Offer Our Clients

Utilizing the software, we offered clients to solve my sales research needs, allowed me to fully understand the value that software such as Relativity and StoryEngine bring to our industry. Without initially realizing it, I was performing the tasks our project managers offer to our clients every day. Granted, the scale might not be similar but the efficiency, time saving, and precision I was able to achieve utilizing our product offerings (and asking advice from our expert team) is tremendously valuable.

This work was do-able without StoryEngine, but prohibitively time-consuming (and therefore expensive.) Being able to transform a week, if not month, long process to a casual day to day activity has changed the way I work. Without the capabilities and solutions offered from eDiscovery software, such as Relativity and StoryEngine, as well as the processes and expert teams involved with them, I would either still be reviewing documents to this day. Or, more likely, my organization would just be missing out on some key customer insights.

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About Acorn 

Acorn is a legal data consulting firm that specializes in AI and Advanced Analytics for litigation applications, while providing rigorous customer service to the eDiscovery industry. Acorn primarily works with large regional, midsize national and boutique litigation firms. Acorn provides a high-touch, customized litigation support services with a heavy emphasis on seamless communications. For more information, please visit