When it comes to e-discovery, it all boils down to being prepared. That’s certainly what Matt Berry, president of Lateral Data, a software development and data processing company, says.
With e-discovery solutions, technology used to collect records and data that can be later used as evidence in a case, preparedness definitely comes more easily. And since courts typically take a dim view of companies that fail to manage their records properly, the impact of e-discovery software can be quite tangible.
‘The availability of e-discovery technology solutions and service providers today has somewhat leveled the e-discovery playing field,’ says Berry. ‘Again, regardless of a company’s size, better preparation equals a better e-discovery outcome.’
Recently, e-discovery has been getting a good deal of attention. As businesses have moved from telephone to email as the prevailing method of communication, vast amounts of data have become available for attorneys seeking information that may support their case. This has led to high demand for e-discovery solutions,which reduce the time it takes to identify and manage information through the process.
‘For any company that will be involved in any type of litigation which will require production of electronic documents, e-discovery plays a very important role,’ adds Berry. ‘A key factor is being prepared, as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require parties to meet and confer early regarding the production and preservation of electronically stored information.’
Berry is responsible for strategic planning and technology initiatives at the Texas-based company; and he notes that if a company is not ready to hire internal expertise or spend on its infrastructure, it ‘should likely hire an e-discovery service provider when it’s involved in litigation and requests for the production of electronically stored information.’
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice (DoJ), for example, adopted Relativity, an e-discovery solution, for the review and analysis of electronic and paper-based documents. kCura, Relativity’s developer, says that the system’s capabilities include advanced text analytics through the Relativity Analytics feature set.
‘Relativity Analytics powers functionality such as clustering, the automatic grouping of documents by similar concepts, as well as concept search, and the ability for end users to train the system to group documents based on concepts and issues they define,’ kCura claims.
Currently, the e-discovery platform is being deployed in the executive office for the US attorney’s (EOUSA) Litigation Technology Service centre (LTSC) to provide e-discovery services for all US attorneys’ offices, which include over 6,000 attorneys nationwide.
Additionally, Teris, another litigation support solution provider, added a new e-discovery platform to its Clearwell System product offering last month.
With this new addition, the company’s customers can collect and organise data from Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)/Microsoft Office 365 more effectively. The product, says Teris, will better enable its customers to quickly fulfil e-discovery requests in response to litigation, regulatory inquiries and internal investigations.
Developments like these affect professionals like Shari Savitt, deputy general counsel at the accounting and advisory firm EisnerAmper.
‘E-discovery has now become the norm,’ says Savitt. ‘It is part of our everyday corporate experience. As we are faced with the need to review and compile electronic files on a daily basis, e-discovery, including the monetary costs and time commitment associated with document production, has become a major consideration.’
Maintaining documents in electronic form has made it easier for EisnerAmper to respond to its clients’ requests for documents in connection with lawsuits and regulatory filings, says Savitt, but it’s still expensive. ’The [e-discovery] process requires substantial firm resources, from internal legal personnel to IT specialists,’ she says. It also involves the use of ‘costly outside vendors to image and deliver the files,’ Savitt adds.