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Bringing (More) eDiscovery In-House

Jim Shook, Director, E-Discovery and Compliance Practice EMC Corp

Jim Shook, Director, E-Discovery and Compliance Practice EMC Corp

Companies large and small continue to grow the size of their in-house departments to manage litigation.  The recent 8thAnnual Litigation Trends report from international law firm Fulbright and Jaworski found that 53% of larger companies have 5 or more in-house attorneys managing litigation, up from 46% last year.  The growth is far more significant in smaller companies, where 16% now have at least 5 litigation attorneys, more than triple the number from last year.

Why are companies increasing the size of their in-house litigation departments?  The survey does not try to answer the question, but our anecdotal evidence shows that companies are trying desperately to better control their costs and risks in litigation, particularly in the area of electronic discovery.  Although it’s been almost five years since the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, eDiscovery remains a difficult and expensive process for most companies.

As companies add in-house lawyers, they often look to have them handle more of their eDiscovery, slowly but surely evolving ad hoc eDiscovery into a standard, mature business process.  To accomplish this task, counsel needs more capabilities from their technology solutions.  We’ve seen a number of needs resulting from this process, including:

  • Better early case assessment capabilities.  The term “ECA” (early case assessment) can mean many things, but at its core is about delivering information to inside or outside legal, very early in a matter, to better assess the cost, risk and value of a matter.  In ECA, because earlier is better, the best solutions will provide access to the most common ESI in its native state, before the collection process; and provide tools to rapidly understand that ESI.
  • Access to More ESI Repositories.  In the “old” days, eDiscovery focused almost exclusively on email messages.  More recently, as noted in IDC’s “Corporate eDiscovery Technology Trends Survey” (2010), the most common repositories include file archives and collaborative applications (e.g. Sharepoint).  As the number and size of ESI repositories grows, the ability to easily connect to and search these varied ESI repositories becomes more critical each day.
  • Enhanced Regulatory Response Capabilities.  While eDiscovery normally focuses on US litigation matters, the Fulbright survey identified a strong increase in regulatory investigations.  Such investigations tend to mirror the eDiscovery litigation process in many ways – finding, collecting and handing ESI over to a third party.  In addition, many of these regulatory agencies are outside the US and may have complex privacy requirements.  Tools that work with languages other than English and also enable precise collection capabilities are critical to meeting the needs of regulatory responses.

EMC is leading the way in enabling more eDiscovery processes to be managed by in-house counsel, in partnership with their law firms.  In our Kazeon 4.6 release, announced this week, you’ll see a number of enhancements that meet these and many other requirements.

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One Response

  1. […] As companies add in-house lawyers, they often look to have…. Discover the Full Article! […]

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