E-Discovery Thrives in Tough Times

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This week’s LegalTech conference in New York is witnessing a host of e-discovery product offerings, and why not? In a down economy, lawsuits are one of the very few growth markets.

As Gartner put it in a research report last month, “Litigation is counter-cyclical, and with more trouble in the economy, there will be more litigation.”

Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) senior analyst Brian Babineau cited a few reasons for e-discovery’s enduring popularity.

Last August, Babineau said, the American College of Trial Lawyers released the results of a survey of about 1,500 trial lawyers. About 60 percent had cases that raised e-discovery issues, and 86 percent of those had issued or received a discovery request for electronically stored information (ESI) since the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) went into effect in December 2006. And more than 75% of the respondents said that discovery costs as a share of total litigation costs “have increased disproportionately due to the advent of electronic discovery.”

“The investigation of Bernie Madoff may literally support a portion of the market for the next couple of years.”

— Brian Babineau

And last year’s Wall Street meltdown is only adding to the trend. There were 255 securities-related class action lawsuits filed in 2008, up from 131 in 2006, Babineau said. “The investigation of Bernie Madoff may literally support a portion of the market for the next couple of years,” he said.

ESG has studied the value of e-discovery technologies and found that content archiving (e-mail, files, and so on) generates a fast payback because it centralizes data for easy identification and collection, and companies can also use it to enforce legal holds.

“The savings is measured in the corporate counsel time spent trying to gather relevant data as well as the avoidance of paying external counsel and consultants to perform e-mail and file collection,” said Babineau, adding that an archive solution can also offer storage and data protection benefits.

“Onsite review tools are also a great investment because of a quick ROI,” he said. “Customers use these to preview all of the data collected and cull the information before it is sent to a legal service provider. Most legal service providers charge per gigabyte, so the less data you send them, the lower your bill.” The tools also help make “settle versus argue” decisions faster, he said.

E-Discovery from Data to Audio

Iron Mountain Digital (NYSE: IRM) cited Gartner to support the need for its new IP Litigation Discovery Escrow Service unveiled at the conference. The company will also showcase its Stratify solutions at the show.

And Procedo will come out of stealth mode today with technology that promises “any-to-any” data archive migration while protecting chain of custody. Procedo says its offering supports automated migrations between popular storage, archive and cloud computing platforms and applications, and supports the migration of archives between on-premise storage systems and the cloud.

i365, a Seagate company (NASDAQ: STX), unveiled a new release of its e-discovery product, MetaLINCS E-Discovery Suite 5, which the company says integrates processing, review analysis and production while adding new capabilities for search, review and early case assessment.

Index Engines said it now has the ability to index and extract ESI across offline tape, network storage, file shares, forensic images and hard drives through a single platform and interface.

Autonomy, which recently announced plans to acquire Interwoven (NASDAQ: IWOV), said it has added support for audio recordings to its e-discovery solutions. The company claims its technology can “automatically understand the concepts and identify speakers in hundreds of hours of audio recordings, as well as its ability to link audio with other data types, including e-mail.”

Audio, Autonomy said, “has become one of the most common forms of evidence requested” by the SEC.

Clearwell said its e-discovery platform can minimize the cost of cross-border litigation. Mobile Clearwell, the company said, “is the first processing and review platform that can be transported to the data where it resides — versus transferring data internationally and leaving it subject to regulation — eliminating the complexity of international e-discovery and reducing the cost and risk associated with processing and exporting electronic evidence across multiple countries.”

Mimosa Systems announced its end-to-end e-discovery solution, the NearPoint eDiscovery application suite, which the company says automates information management to identify, collect and preserve content based on policies.

Kroll Ontrack announced the launch of Ontrack Prepview, a Web-based trial preparation platform that the company said helps attorneys “collaborate and strategically organize all case information in one central location.”

Kazeon Systems will discuss its new “pay as you go” pricing scheme that gives users an easier way to tap into the company’s e-discovery offerings.

CaseCentral plans a new SaaS and cloud computing e-discovery offering, and Fios Inc. unveiled Fios On Request “to help legal teams quickly and affordably process, analyze, cull and review potentially relevant electronically stored information (ESI) associated with small litigation matters, internal investigations and early evidence assessments.”

StoredIQ said its solutions support Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) Enterprise Vault as a recognized data source during the legal discovery process, automating collection, processing and preparation of data for litigation review.

FTI Consulting (NYSE: FCN) said its Ringtail Legal solution has gotten a big boost, thanks to the acquisition of Attenex’s visual analysis and rapid review capabilities.

Recommind tightened the ties between its Decisiv Email categorization product and offerings from Interwoven and Open Text (NASDAQ: OTEX)

.And LexisNexis announced the release of EL Native Review for Concordance, a native file review capability for customers using Concordance software version 9 or higher. Concordance “makes it easy for litigation professionals to identify, organize and analyze case-critical information for electronic discovery, litigation document management and litigation support,” the company said.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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