Document Hosting & Review

Cornerstone offers a flat-fee eDiscovery software with a relentless focus on speed and ease of use. It is a feature-complete platform for the processing, review, analysis, and production steps of the EDRM.

Our platform is a web-based software that can be used in any modern web browser, including the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox, as well as on mobile devices, including the iPad and other tablets. Try a demo with the complete Enron database at

Cornerstone hosts all data in data centers in Austin and Kansas City with NEBS Level 3 physical security and SSAE No. 16 SOC 1 certified electronic security. Cornerstone can also host offshore data in Ireland or Hong Kong. No additional hardware or software, and no integration with existing systems, is required.

Cornerstone users include law firms like K&L Gates, Morgan Lewis, Adams & Reese, Winstead, Gibbs & Bruns, Beck Redden, Diamond McCarthy, Dobrowski, Camara & Sibley, Pierce O’Neill, Stafford Rosenbaum, and Cokinos Bosien & Young, and large corporations like AIG, Cameron, and Westlake Chemical.


1.  Processing

Users send native files or scanned images for ingestion and processing either by secure FTP or by sending a physical hard drive containing the data to Cornerstone. No preprocessing or load file is required. Once Cornerstone receives the data, Cornerstone automatically processes and ingests it so that it can be reviewed in Cornerstone.

Our platform supports most common native file formats, including Microsoft Office documents, Outlook email and PST files, Lotus Notes email, and the like as well as all image formats, including TIFF and PDF. The platform also recognizes and unpacks container files such as PDF portfolios and ZIP archives.

Processing includes:

  1. text and metadata extraction;
  2. OCR, including recognizing scans of previously printed email as email;
  3. imaging all documents to PDF to facilitate fast review (instead of imaging on the fly or TIFF on the  fly during review, which can slow down the review process, Cornerstone images all documents up front during ingest)
  4. unpacking and uncompressing container files to arbitrary depth (e.g., a PDF portfolio containing a ZIP file containing four Word documents)
  5. family creation for emails and attachments
  6. conversation creation for emails
  7. time-zone normalization so that documents appear in the correct order to the reviewer
  8. removing system files (“deNISTing”)
  9. detecting duplicates
  10. detecting near duplicates and related documents, for example, multiple drafts of a contract
  11. creating or updating a comprehensive search index and review database
  12. generating an ingest report providing statistics about the data that was processed and identifying files that could not be processed (for example, because they are password-protected and the password was not supplied) or that are missing (for example, emails collected without the corresponding attachments).

All processing features are handled automatically by Cornerstone and are included for every case at no additional charge.

By default, processing occurs at a speed of about 50,000 documents (not pages) per hour. But processing is fully parallelized, meaning that Cornerstone automatically breaks large data sets up across multiple machines working at the same time. By adding machines to a particular processing job, Cornerstone can make processing of even terabytes of data arbitrarily fast.


2.  Review

  1.  Search and Results Screen

When a user logs in to the platform and selects a case, the user sees the search and results screen shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Search and Results Screen

The single, simple search box at the top of the screen controls all search features in the platform. Using this search box, a user can run any combination of keyword, Boolean, field, wildcard, fuzzy, or proximity searches. The search syntax is Westlaw or Lexis-style so that lawyers used to searching for cases in Westlaw or Lexis can run searches in platform without any special training. Clicking “advanced search tips” drops down a list of search types and example searches. Searches take about 1/3 of a second to run. Search history shows a user’s personal search history and lets a user run old searches again by clicking on them.

Results appear immediately below the search box. The user can edit the search while looking at the results to narrow, expand, or otherwise refine the search results. For each document, the results grid shows the type of the document (e.g., email or PDF or Excel), the document’s ID and any Bates numbers that have been assigned to it, selected metadata fields, and an excerpt of the document. The user can sort the results by any metadata field and can mass tag or un-tag the entire result set or selected results by using the mass tag drop-down in the top right corner of the results grid. All search results are available through an infinite scroll bar on one page, which eliminates delays from navigating through paginated search results.

Underneath the document type, up to three icons and numbers can appear. The first one indicates whether an email is part of a conversation and, if it is, how many other emails are part of the same conversation. The second one indicates whether a document has any attachments and how many there are. The third one indicates whether a document has any related documents. Related documents, or near duplicates, are found by doing a paragraph-wise text comparison and are useful for identifying, for example, different drafts of a contract or different updates to a spreadsheet.

To give assignments to other reviewers, a user can save a search and assign it a name, for example, “Sally Beck Documents.” This saved search will then be available to all other users through the drop-down on the right side of the search box. If multiple reviewers run a saved search with “search untagged only” selected, then, as they navigate through documents during their review, they are guaranteed to see only those documents that no other reviewer has already tagged. This eliminates the need to create review buckets for individual reviewers, and eliminates the situation where one user’s bucket is full of spam and takes much less time to review than another user’s bucket, which is full of complicated contracts.


  1.  Review Window

When a user clicks on a document in the results grid, the document will appear in a review window like the one shown in Figure 2.

The review window shows a near-native rendering of the document. This is exactly how the document will appear in a PDF or TIFF production. The user can navigate through documents in the result set using the left and right arrow buttons on the screen or the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard. Document navigation and rendering takes about 1/10 of a second, even for complicated Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. The user can navigate through emails in a conversation using the up and down arrow buttons on the screen or the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard.

The left side of the review window shows metadata, allows the user to tag the document and apply document notes (for example, to explain claims of privilege), lists attachments and parents and allows the user to navigate to them, allows the user to download the original document in native format as well as any Bates stamped versions, and allows the user to apply redactions to the document. When a document is redacted, it is automatically tagged as redacted and, on production, the document is re-imaged and re-OCRed to prevent any redacted information from escaping.

All tags can be applied using keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts are created automatically when tags are created and are shift plus the first unused letter of the tag’s name. For example, the keyboard shortcut for responsive is Shift-R and the keyboard shortcut for attorney-client is Shift-A. By using these keyboard shortcuts to tag and the keyboard arrows to navigate through results, a reviewer can review and tag an entire results set without using the mouse — making the experience both easier and much faster.

Documents with a privilege tag applied appear in an automatically generated privilege log. The user can review these documents, with privilege tags highlighted with red text, by clicking on “privilege log” and can export a privilege log to Excel containing the metadata fields (to, from, etc.) required by the rules. The user can make changes to this Excel file before producing it to the other side.


3.  Production

Cornerstone users can run unlimited digital productions from their desks. The production screen shows a list of all productions that have been run, the tags that were used to generate them, the Bates stamps that were applied, any confidentiality or other stamps, and the date of the production. The user can download any of these prior productions from this screen. To create a new production, the user clicks Create New Production, which displays a production window.

In the production window, the user can select what tags to produce and what tags to withhold, can specify a Bates prefix and starting number (these default to the last prefix used and the next-highest number), can add confidentiality stamps with custom text, and can select a production format. By default, the platform produces documents in PDF with one PDF per document and an industry standard EDRM load file. Cornerstone can also produce documents in legacy Concordance or SEC format, including type 4 single page black and white TIFFs and color JPEGs with an Opticon load file.

Once a user clicks produce, the new production will appear at the top of the list and a status bar will indicate the progress being made on the production. When the production is complete, the user will receive an email and can download the completed production from the production page. For very large productions, Cornerstone can also ship one or more drives containing the production to the user for no additional cost other than the cost of the drive and shipping.


4.  Administration and Analytics

The gear icon in the top right corner of the platform takes the user to administration pages where the user can add and remove tags, add and remove users, and set the privileges of users. By default, there are two levels of users: administrators and reviewers. But the platform can be customized to create any number of levels of users, each of whom have access to different features or different parts of a case database.

The chart icon to the left of the gear icon takes the user to analytics. Every action in the platform — every search that was run, every document that was reviewed or tagged, who tagged it, whether it was tagged individually or as part of a mass tag, etc. — is logged. Analytics can be used to extract information from this log, for example, records of what documents each reviewer reviewed on an hourly or daily basis and records of who applied or removed certain tags from certain documents.


Fast, Focused eDiscovery

Cornerstone’s competitive advantage is its relentless focus on speed and ease of use for the features that reviewers and litigation teams use most.

Cornerstone offers the simplest and fastest way to search, review, tag, and produce documents, giving access to all this functionality through three easy-to-understand screens and leveraging lawyers’ existing familiarity with services like Westlaw and Lexis. Search and document navigation speeds in the platform are literally 10x faster than competitors (e.g., 1/3 of a second search v. 3 – 4 second search; 1/10 of a second document navigation v. 1 – 2 second document navigation) providing a more efficient and enjoyable review experience.

Our platform has been successfully used in litigation in state and federal courts around the country and in connection with investigations by or productions to government agencies like the SEC.

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