It’s no secret that the most valuable information is always the most well-hidden—either by unfortunate chance or by design. Luckily, Adam Candeub, professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law and director of the Intellectual Property, Information, and Communications Law Program, and his team of law students led by Christina Micakovic have finished designing the FCC explorer, the latest breakthrough in e-discovery.
This program, inspired by Relativity, facilitates searches of documents contained in the Federal Communications Commission database. The need for this program arose when Candeub (pictured) found that litigation associates spend too much of their valuable time poring over the FCC’s vast database, hoping to find some trace of the quickest ex parte meeting between a lobbyist and a congressman. Too often these mandatory notes are made in a PDF or otherwise unsearchable format on the agency’s database.
This is where the FCC Explorer comes in. A search that would take hours can be shaved down to just minutes when the user inputs a few key search items into the system.
The FCC Explorer is expected to go live around December 2018. But it is not just aimed at litigation associates. This program was designed with watchdogs, lobbyists, reporters, and students in mind. Tracking issues such as net neutrality just became easier.
Recently, the FCC Explorer has proven more versatile than initially expected. FCC attorneys have expressed interest in using the program to search for themselves and other attorneys to see in which conversations they have been involved and with whom. It is very possible that this system can eventually be used to measure attorney competency in niche areas.
The thought process behind this being that the more often an attorney’s name pops up in a search about net neutrality, for example, the more competent the attorney is in that area. Candeub and his team have been exploring the idea of creating a type of scoreboard that will show which attorneys have been speaking with which bureaus most often in a period of time.
The future of the FCC Explorer is bright. Candeub hopes to have the program funded by a non-profit organization so the program can be made available to everyone. However, commercial development is another option. Optimistically, the program could be adapted to many other government agencies as well. If this occurs, it will not only force transparency in agencies, but it will streamline e-discovery, potentially cutting litigation time significantly and saving clients thousands of dollars.
For more information on Candeub’s revolutionary career and recent publications, please visit his faculty page on the Michigan State University College of Law’s website.