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Behind the Scenes: Epiq's New Regulatory Risk Insights Service

  • Regulatory & Compliance
  • 4 Mins

In January 2024, Epiq launched Regulatory Risk Insights™, the antitrust and white collar compliance solution that empowers corporate legal departments to identify, measure, and act on organizational risk as it happens. For a behind the scenes look into how and why this solution was developed, we interviewed Erin Toomey, Vice President and Managing Director at Epiq, who leads Epiq’s Global Investigations Practice Group and oversees Epiq’s Regulatory Risk Insights and compliance offerings.   

To start off, please give us a 10,000 foot view of Regulatory Risk Insights – what is it and what problems does it address?

Erin Toomey:  Epiq’s Regulatory Risk Insights solution (RRI) allows companies to implement a real-time, data-driven antitrust and white collar compliance program that empowers their team to identify, measure, and act on organizational risk. The RRI solution leverages AI and substantive expertise to gain real-time critical intelligence about communications that may create antitrust or white collar liability. Companies can make strategic decisions to address potentially harmful situations and, when appropriate, evaluate early applications for leniency and voluntary disclosure. 

Why are companies interested in this solution now?  

Erin Toomey: Increasingly, we see regulators include communication compliance obligations as part of settlement and deferred prosecution agreements. In a recent agreement, a company was ordered to monitor communications for 10 years as a term of the settlement agreement. Additionally, in 2023 the DOJ provided updated leniency guidance as part of the Corporate Enforcement and Voluntary Self-Disclosure Policy that provides companies with increased incentives when they come forward to disclose potentially illegal behavior early. These incentives include significant reductions in penalties for companies that self-report and cooperate, a presumption of declination, and declinations for repeat-offenders who exhibit extraordinary cooperation. Utilizing data- and AI- driven solutions to meet these compliance obligations proactively or in response to settlement agreements will assist compliance teams in their risk assessments and allow for credit for cooperation with those regulators. At the recent ABA White Collar Institute in San Francisco, US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco emphasized the importance of having compliance programs in place that can detect how disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, might be used to implement or augment criminal activity. 

What technology underlies RRI?  

Erin Toomey: Regulatory Risk Insights is built upon large language models (LLM) that have been trained on documents indicative of conduct or communications that could signal potential antitrust and white collar criminal violations. The AI engine is developed by WorkFusion, who develop AI digital workforce solutions that you can hire, configure, or build to automate complete and complex job roles within the compliance organization. The engine was built upon LLMs that Epiq trained based on its subject matter expertise and experience over many investigations. These models can be stored within the Epiq Service Cloud or a company’s cloud tenant.  Through application programming interface (API) connectors, emails and chat messages are evaluated by the LLM in cloud memory and documents identified for review are presented in the RRI interface for further evaluation.

What types of conduct does RRI identify? 

Erin Toomey:  The models used in the compliance solution are specifically tuned to identify problematic communications related to Price Fixing, Bid Rigging, Price Discrimination, Abuse of Dominance, Group Boycott, Market Division, Mergers, Kickbacks, and No Poach agreements.  Further model tuning is deployed at the outset of each project leveraging client examples of specific antitrust or white collar violations and weighting those to specific use cases such as bribery, corruption or other issues.

How are these AI models created?  How did you verify the accuracy of the results? 

Erin Toomey: Epiq created synthetic data specifically designed to indicate patterns of behavior, communication styles, and issues identified during white collar and antitrust investigations to train these AI models. Additionally, publicly available exhibits from DOJ investigations were used to test and train the models, to ensure that documents which had been identified as key to a regulator’s theory of harm were appropriately considered. For testing, large sets of publicly available communication data were also submitted for scoring and evaluation.  Given that no “off the shelf” training alone can be sufficient to adequately train a model, Epiq will further train models on client use cases and exemplar documents when available to ensure they are performing to appropriate statistical results.

Regarding the team that worked on this project, what types of disciplines do they come from and how did the team work together?

Erin Toomey: The team at Epiq that built this model are experts in technology, as well as lawyers.  We approached the development of this tool with a multi-disciplined approach to ensure a comprehensive approach was taken. The core team building the tool includes linguists, data scientists, AI experts, lawyers, investigation consultants, analysts, and former litigators.

Did you work with any third parties to develop the RRI program? If so, who are they and how did they contribute to the process?

Erin Toomey: We partnered with WorkFusion, a provider of AI digital workforce solutions, to create this custom digital worker. WorkFusion has created a suite of digital workers that address compliance issues such as AML compliance through adverse media and sanctions screening. We found that having not only a best-in-class approach to leveraging AI, large language models, as well as a platform to easily build these digital workers, allowed for a much shorter development window. Extending our depth of expertise to include additional compliance, linguistic, AI, and computer programming experts will add value to each client through increased offerings and more effective deployment.

What in your experience got you interested in developing the Regulatory Risk Insights offering at Epiq? 

Erin Toomey: Over the last three years, Epiq has built a successful and industry leading global investigations practice providing best-in-class eDiscovery services for antitrust and white collar matters, from merger reviews to criminal investigations.  It was clear that when our work was completed at the substantial compliance stage of an investigation or at the conclusion of trial, our clients still had significant needs that the market was not yet able to fully meet. In discussing with clients and other providers, we saw a number of reactive or partial solutions to ongoing compliance obligations resulting from our work. Developing robust and well-rounded compliance solutions was a natural response and met a need our clients face.

Do you expect any hurdles implementing this product in countries that have strong data privacy protections?

Erin Toomey:  Data Privacy considerations will be part of the calculus large corporations will need to make in determining how to balance the business need to comply with agreements with government regulators or proactively manage risk through a robust, data-driven compliance program. To help meet the business need, RRI can be deployed within the company’s cloud to ensure that data stays within the client tenant. Further, Epiq can assist with the Legitimate Business Interest applications by providing workflow documentation and use case details to our clients.

What is your prognosis about how AI is going to change the legal market?

Erin Toomey: AI will affect the legal market in profound ways. For antitrust and white collar matters, in particular, the use of disruptive technologies can be deployed to fuel a wide variety of illegal activity, whether that is price fixing, bribery and other types of corporate malfeasance. The DOJ has made it clear that companies must incorporate robust solutions for handling these types of technologies into their corporate compliance programs. Similarly, judges frequently admonish attorneys to develop the requisite understanding of how these types of technologies operate and how they can impact the outcome of legal cases.  

Tools such as AI will also have a significantly positive impact on the productivity of attorneys who must evaluate increasing amounts of data. AI will help to eliminate the mundane aspects of an attorney’s work and allow them to be more productive. Additionally, these changes will likely take time and provide everyone new opportunities to grow and tackle the ever-expanding data requirements.

In the next few years, we will likely see significant reductions in cost, surrounding the benefits of AI, and honed use cases.  In the short term we will likely see feature sets developed to expand on existing technology. By embracing this change and continuing to anticipate new disruptive technology to replace rote tasks and generate new opportunities to enhance, not replace, human intellect, the industry should see a force multiplier through the use of AI.

Erin ToomeyErin Toomey has over 19 years of experience in eDiscovery and Compliance, with specific expertise in antitrust and white collar investigations. During her career, Erin has managed client services and delivery for complex eDiscovery matters, including strategic advising for document collection and processing, technology assisted review (TAR), complex multi-tiered review workflows, and productions. She has advised and partnered with antitrust and global investigation clients in negotiations directly with the DOJ and FTC related to productions standards, provisions for TAR compliance, foreign language translation, and timing agreements. In addition to US Second Requests, subsequent litigations, and enforcement actions, Erin has consulted on white collar crime investigations into fraud, bribery, corruption, kickbacks and False Claims Act violations.  In recent years, she has worked with clients to assist them in meeting their  compliance obligations as a result of these antitrust and white collar violations with data-driven solutions to address regulatory requirements. Erin received a B.S. Management Information Systems from Wake Forest University.

Today, Erin leads the Global Investigations practice group at Epiq. In addition to assisting clients in their compliance goals, this includes Epiq’s Antitrust and White Collar Practice Group. The practice includes teams of subject matter experts experienced in supporting clients in their response to regulatory investigations related to merger control, antitrust litigations and investigations, and both criminal and civil white collar matters such as fraud, anti-bribery and corruption, FCPA, False Claims Act, and export control investigations among others. In the last 3 years, Epiq’s antitrust team has supported over 65 merger reviews, and the white collar team has supported nearly 50 investigations.

The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.

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