You’ve Been Served. It’s E-Discovery Time

To reduce costs, mitigate risk and maintain control, serial litigants and companies in highly regulated environments are bringing e-discovery in-house, inside the firewall.

Imagine: Company A and Company B each receive notice of litigation and are given 100 days to pull together all documents deemed relevant to the cases being brought against them. Both will undergo the process of e-discovery. Each faces the expense of mounting a defense, and is wondering—perhaps dreading—what the documentation, once gathered, will prove about its guilt, liability or innocence. That is where the similarity ends. One will be anxious about the unknown for longer and is less strategic in its approach, spending significantly more money in the process. The other will be in control, with powerful early knowledge about the case data and maximum time to strategize.

Company A takes one look at the financial implications of being found culpable in this suit, and thinks: "too hard." It will outsource the e-discovery process from beginning to end, brief an external provider and hand over access to all of its confidential data and systems. If its supplier uses e-discovery tools of average power and speed, this considerably costly process will exhaust most of the time allowed for discovery to collect, process and review all of Company A’s electronic information to yield a smaller set of relevant data, which most likely contains more information than is necessary to provide. Then Company A must review this data, at which time, perhaps only days away from the deadline, general counsel must quickly prepare a strategy to meet and confer.

In the face of compliance regulations and implications of the global financial crisis, Company B decides to bring e-discovery in-house. It will require litigation support but will handle the first phase of early case assessment—collection, indexing and first review—internally. Company B will gather and index tens of terabytes of data, run hundreds of targeted searches and yield a relevant subset of documents for review within mere days. Company B will quickly understand where it stands on the guilty/not guilty scale and can negotiate from a position of strength when they meet and confer. Having processed the data, they will know the custodians, have a complete list of sources and developed a relevant word list, even before appearing at the first pre-trial conference.

For a one-time, affordable software spend, Company B will avoid the costly out-sourcing scenario, and process the data from a position of intimate knowledge rather than handing it all to an external supplier who doesn’t know its business well and frankly doesn’t have the same motivation to get it done quickly, or to protect against the release of information unnecessarily. Company B will reduce the time, cost and overall data volumes, have complete control over the information it shares and significantly reduce the downstream review costs.

According to Gartner, corporations are bringing e-discovery in-house because many are facing ever-growing volumes of data and—against those volumes of data—are facing regulatory actions, compliance actions and law suits.

"Traditionally, e-discovery has been something that has been outsourced through outside counsel and has cost companies a lot of money. At the board level we are starting to see visibility of those costs and people are appalled. There are companies that are spending a billion dollars or more a year on outside counsel and are looking for ways to bring costs down," said Deb Logan, VP distinguished analyst for Gartner in a recent IT Briefing Center video.

Large investment banks are among the organizations increasingly understanding the value of e-discovery software to pro-actively manage data for an improved compliance environment. With the right software, they could process and index every email that the company receives or sends, including attachments and embedded information, and potentially even their entire data archive.

Bringing e-discovery in-house, by purchasing powerful, robust enterprise software that can handle very high volumes of data, email and documents, will not only reduce the cost of e-discovery over time but can help a company better manage and govern its data, overall.

Nuix provides a simple, complete and cost-effective platform for in-house corporate e-discovery and investigations. With its fast indexing engine, powerful search and review capabilities and interactive graphics, Nuix enables immediate and effective response to e-discovery, compliance, regulatory and internal investigations. Nuix scales to virtually any size of corporation and works across all languages and character sets, including Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Cyrillic.

The software is used worldwide including the United Kingdom, European Union, China, Australia, Canada and the United States by organizations such as multinationals, government authorities, financial institutions, corporations, professional services firms and national law enforcement agencies.

KMWorld Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues