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Taking Control of the e-discovery process

This article appears in the issue July/August 2007, [Vol 16, Issue 7]
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Without good planning, organizations may not be ready for the challenges of the e-discovery process. Among those difficulties are the huge quantities of electronic data, the myriad formats in which the data is stored, and the requirements in the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) to produce any documents that are “reasonably accessible.”

E-discovery involves locating, processing, reviewing and producing electronic information in response to a request from opposing counsel in a litigation matter, a regulatory body or other entity. The request might encompass a particular set of individuals, a time frame or topic.

When consultants from Constantine & Aborn Advisory Services begin working with a client on a litigation matter, the last thing they want to do is interrupt the client’s normal business operations. Constantine & Aborn provides services for
e-discovery, compliance monitoring and investigations, and uses a variety of software solutions in support of its business activities.

One of the products the firm uses to help automate the e-discovery process is the Kazeon Information Server, IS1200-ECS. The appliance locates, indexes and searches documents stored throughout an enterprise. Because it’s a separate appliance and does not need to be installed on existing servers or shared drives, the solution can be up and running within an hour, and has minimal impact on the existing network. The Google Search Appliance (GSA) is tightly integrated with the IS1200-ECS and is used to search Web pages and documents on corporate intranet Web servers. The results of the Kazeon and Google searches are presented in a single interface.

The unobtrusive nature of the appliance is one of the most appealing features. “We liked the fact that it could search all the drives and gather metrics, while leaving all the information at rest,” says Richard Davis, director of litigation risk management at Constantine & Aborn. From the viewpoint of auditing and due diligence, the broad approach is very useful. “We can index documents across a thousand computers or servers and export the results for a large-scale, comprehensive litigation matter without affecting an organization’s daily operations,” Davis adds.

Although the Kazeon IS1200-ECS can be used for e-discovery in response to a specific request, it is also valuable from a risk management viewpoint. “Once the information on the enterprise servers is indexed, we can find out very quickly how much data we need to preserve in the event of a preservation notice,” Davis continues. “This is of enormous value in terms of planning a budget and staffing for document review.”

The Kazeon IS1200-ECS also provides valuable metadata. “Our customers can be in a constant state of awareness,” Davis says. “They can find out immediately what the impact would be of responding to a particular request.”

The Kazeon IS1200-ECS also provides other benefits. “Sometimes while indexing and searching their various repositories, customers find files that should be secured in a different place,” explains Michael Mark, VP of solution marketing at Kazeon. Those files may be related to compliance, privacy or other key issues, and can then be moved to the appropriate repository.
Kazeon also identifies duplicate files, even if the file has been renamed. According to Forrester, processing costs are about $1,800/GB, so reducing the volume of information that needs to be processed is a valuable feature.

Another option for dealing with large data stores is offered by Discovery Mining. Launched five years ago, it was an early entrant into the e-discovery market and one of the first to provide review in native file format (as opposed to having to convert to PDF or TIFF). LINUX-based, Discovery Mining’s software was developed by a group that saw an underserved market.

“We saw a gap between the way in which companies were creating data and the way lawyers were handling litigation matters,” says Matthew Work, CEO of Discovery Mining. “Basically, data was growing at a rate faster than traditional methods of discovery could handle.”

Discovery Mining processes files to remove duplicates, extract metadata, and filter by date and keyword. Its online review tool can search and sort millions of files. Its linguistic semantic analysis provides sophisticated search capability. The data can be exported in a variety of formats, ready for loading into a database. The company offers its service on a matter-by-matter basis, priced according to a monthly hosting fee plus a data processing fee that depends on the volume of data.

On the administrative side, Discovery Mining logs every transaction over time, which, among other benefits, lets the reviewers log their time so that activities and fees can be tracked. “Accounting for documents is very important,” says Work. “Establishing a chain of evidence is imperative to the accuracy and integrity of the data.”

Because data volume has a large impact on the cost of e-discovery, some companies are opting to do their own filtering prior to the review process. E-mail poses special challenges because copies are routinely sent to large numbers of individuals. Trident Pro, from Wave Software, is a low-cost product designed for in-house use. It provides de-duplication and native production for Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, while preserving the custodial information that indicates sender and recipients.

“Trident Pro can handle 70 foreign languages,” says Robert Childress, president of Wave Software, “and can process a gigabyte in 10 minutes or less.” Because it exports the selected e-mails into a separate PST or NSF file, Trident prevents

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