Tips for Paralegals and Litigation Support Professionals

Tips for Paralegals and Litigation Support Professionals – February 2023

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2/4/2023: Regular Expression Search to Get the Line Count in a Text File

Running the regular expression search:

. . . in a text editor like NotePad++ will generate a count of the number of non-empty lines in a text file. The number of hits will be shown in the results pane below the transcript.

regular expression search to get the line count in a text file

In order to get a count of the number of empty lines you can run this RegEx search: ^\s*$

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2/11/2023: Getting Litigation Support Tips From ChatGPT

The open source artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT has been in the news quite a bit since it was released late last year. Whether you work with computers for your job or not, it’s really something that you need to check out. If you’re familiar with the range of assistance that AI devices like Alexa or Google Assistant can provide, you’ll be in for quite a surprise at how much better ChatGPT is. It’s really a game changer, and is pretty close to a substitute for attempting to find answers to problems by running Google searches.

You can create an account for ChatGPT and begin using it very quickly. See this link:

It does require that you provide a phone number, and comes with the disclaimer, “the system may occasionally generate incorrect or misleading information and produce offensive or biased content. It is not intended to give advice.” It has limited knowledge of the world and events after 2021. The information that you provide it with will not be protected from disclosure.

Getting litigation support tips from ChatGPT_1

I decided to begin testing ChatGPT usefulness to litigation support professionals by asking this question: “Can you explain the electronic discovery reference model to me?”

Getting litigation support tips from ChatGPT_2

That’s not a bad response, but including identification, collection, and preservation as part of information management is an odd choice, and I’d really wonder about how experienced someone was in electronic discovery if they chose to answer this way. It also would have been more impressive if ChatGPT provided an image of the EDRM.

I next decided to ask ChatGPT a more specific technical question. I wasn’t really expecting it to provide a good response to a request for even a basic Regex script, but it surprised me.

Getting litigation support tips from ChatGPT_3

There’s no doubt about it, ChatGPT’s answer, \b\d{9}\b , does work.

Getting litigation support tips from ChatGPT_4

My next question asked the AI bot to craft a more complicated regular expression search:

Getting litigation support tips from ChatGPT_5

It even gives the option to copy the Python code. I engaged with ChatGPT further asking for guidance on how to actually run the Python script, and it didn’t let me down.

Getting litigation support tips from ChatGPT_6

This is correct, although figuring out how to get Windows to recognize Python in Command Prompt after I installed it was a whole other problem that I decided to work out on my own. The solution should be part of an upcoming tip of the night. After I got Python to be recognized in Command Prompt I was able to successfully test out ChatGPT’s script.

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Getting litigation support tips from ChatGPT_8

I don’t like to promote the replacement of litigation support professionals, or this blog for that matter, but there’s just no ignoring what a useful tool this is. I think we’re at an inflection point. It will not be possible to work without AI tools like ChatGPT going forward, any more than it was possible to ignore the need for internet service in the late 90s, or the need for a smartphone after the introduction of the iPhone by Apple in 2007.

ChatGPT generated answers to my questions in a few seconds, and archived its responses. I can’t imagine anyone in our field doesn’t regularly expand upon their knowledge of Excel, document review platforms, or electronic discovery in general by running Google searches. Now, you’ll be doing this with an AI tool that will provide more specific answers to your questions than Google or the whole world wide web ever could.

2/18/23: Regex Search to Find Files Not Containing a String

You can run a regular expression search which will find any files which do not contain a word or phrase that you designate.

In this example we have a set of text files, only one of which contains the word, ‘panda’.

regex search to find files not containing a string_1

Using a text editor like NotePad ++ we run the following search to locate any files which do not have this string:


. . . use the option to Find All using the Find in Files tool, and only the files in the folder in which you search which do not contain the string will be listed in the results pane.

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2/25/2023: AWS Kinesis Data Firehose

Kinesis Data Firehose is an Amazon Web Services data transfer service which can move streaming data to data storage. It will extract data, transform it, and load data in the cloud. When data must be imported from multiple sources that are generating data in realtime and ingested for processing before ending up in a data store, Kinesis Data Firehose acts as the conduit. So as data is generated by user inputs on the web (clickstream data), enterprise applications, smartphones, or other sources KDF can compress and encrypt the data before transferring the data to Amazon cloud storage, such as an Amazon simple storage service (S3) bucket or an outside location.

KDF can transfer the data at several GBs per second, and will backup the data at three different locations in an AWS cloud data region. (Amazon has 6 regions in the United States – Northern Virginia; Ohio; Northern California; Oregon; US-East; and US-West). AWS only charges for the data that is ingested via KDF – there is no minimum fee.

KDF may convert JSON data to other formats in order to save storage space, and it can also convert .csv files or data from structured databases to the JSON format.

So for example financial transaction data can be sent automatically through KDF to a S3 bucket in its raw state, or KDF can transform the data , summing up sales to a particular entity, and then store the data in the bucket.

KDF is designed to ensure that data collected on servers from hundreds of sources does not get lost when the servers go down. It will scale up as more streaming data is generated. Data is actively backed up in the cloud as it is generated.

Sean O'Shea on Email
Sean O'Shea
Sean O’Shea began working as a litigation support analyst at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP in 1998, near the dawn of the electronic discovery era. From assisting clients with the implementation of information governance policies, to conducting electronic presentations for attorneys at trials, he has been involved in all aspects of litigation support work. Sean is a Relativity Certified Administrator and an ACEDS Certified E-Discovery Specialist. He’s currently employed as a litigation paralegal in New York City, and continues to advise attorneys on legal technology. Look for a new tip on each night on

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