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Short and Sweet.

“If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.”
– Blaise Pascal (translated from the French: “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.”)

“It is a simple task to make things complex, but it is a complex task to make things simple.”
– Meyer’s Law/author unknown

Distilling a piece of content to its essence is an act of tremendous value. When done well, it accomplishes the often-contradictory goals of ensuring that the reader understands the key points of the content, saving them the time of going through the entire content, and enabling them to make better decisions.

All of us subconsciously use the power of summarization multiple times a day. When you read or write “TLDR” (too long; didn’t read”), what follows is a summary. When you read a one-paragraph movie review on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s a summary. When you write an abstract for your research paper, or a book report at school, those are summaries too.


The Summarization Contradiction

Summaries are intended to save the reader time, but historically, well-written summaries take a considerable amount of time to put together. Which means that the total time between summarizing and reading the summary can be longer than not summarizing and reading the original text! Further, the better-written the summary, typically the longer time it takes to write — as Pascal, the legendary 17th-century French polymath, knew all too well. So if you are a reader with a piece of content that you need summarized so that you can read it quickly to save time, it’s actually going to take a bunch of time to have it summarized well enough for you to save time. We’ll revisit how this contradiction can be broken later in this article.


The Six-Part Framework for a Valuable Summary

We’ve mentioned “well-written” summary a few times. At Threadeo, we use the following six-part framework to evaluate the quality of a summary:
1. Length — keep it short but do not omit critical information
2. Clarity — easy to understand, with simple language
3. Accuracy — faithful to the original meaning and intent of the content
4. Coherence — logically organized, with a consistent structure
5. Objectivity — neutral and unbiased
6. Focus — ensure that the main idea comes across unambiguously

Distilling this even further, we ask one simple question: “Can I read this and have a high-level understanding of what’s going on, and what I should do next, in under three minutes?” If one can honestly answer “yes”, it’s a good summary. If no, it’s not.


Implications for Law

Let’s focus on law, and specifically to the summarization of depositions in legal proceedings. A well-written deposition summary should meet all of the six criteria listed above. That is how the reader — a legal professional — can determine the key points and refine their strategy for winning the case.

Historically, deposition summaries have fallen way short of this goal. They are essentially a shorter version of the deposition. That’s fine if that’s all that can be delivered, but it still leaves a lot of value on the table. We’ve seen summaries that are 50% of the length of a 150-page-plus deposition, where most of the summary is simply repackaged bits of the deposition text.

One of the key purposes of a summary from a legal professional’s perspective is to enable them to make better decisions regarding the matter. This could mean helping them identify key points or issues with the testimony, and giving guidance on what to do next with the issues that were identified.

“Ah,” some might say, “but that’s out of the purview of the deposition summary.” It is true that traditional deposition summaries did not “go there” for a variety of reasons, but we’re in a very different world today. A world where you can go there, fast, and deliver insightful, rich summaries to legal professionals — fast. And where such insights shave hours off of the time of case prep, yielding incredible value for attorneys.

“Quality AND speed?,” the same people might say, “that’s impossible.” That’s where we offer the deus ex machina answer to everything today — AI. Today’s top-tier AI models, working under the guidance of experts in deposition management, can deliver unbelievably insightful & rich summaries that meet all six criteria of our framework, enable legal professionals to make better decisions — and do it all in six minutes. This enables legal professionals to simply upload content, grab a cup of coffee, and jump right into case prep. Unprecedented.


Epilogue: This is Here, Now

We at Threadeo know a thing or two about summarization. We’re doing this right now, and the demand we’re seeing is unprecedented too. Drop us a line at if you’d like to learn more.