e-Disclosure Services – Thinking Big to Work Small

IT Group has developed a range of e-Disclosure services for litigators which includes forensic data collection and a fully web-based e-Disclosure service to assess, search, review and disclose documents. The service is based on the powerful Intella Connect platform but is aimed at cases with ‘normal’ document volumes.

In our work as IT expert witnesses and gatherers of electronic data and documents, one issue arises time and again. It revolves around the cost of e-Disclosure, particularly for smaller document volumes, where a more affordable and predictable e-Disclosure pricing model is vital.

Charges for the use of our Intella Connect service are not based on volume or complexity. But equally important in keeping the cost under control is a solution that allows litigators to conduct early data assessment, search, review and disclosure within a single platform. This is crucial to keeping e-Disclosure budgets from escalating, particularly in avoiding the costs and disruption that arise when moving data backwards and forwards between different tools, with e-Disclosure consultants running re-processing and data exports; processes that can contribute to slowing things down and increasing cost.

With the vast majority of documents starting life electronically, lawyers will increasingly see the use of e-Disclosure as the most sensible way to work through a set of case documents. An immediate brake on doing this can be cost, but if that is sensible and proportionate then the logic of deploying e-Disclosure services for the more everyday document volumes becomes irresistible.

Cases with large document volumes are the ones that reap the e-Disclosure headlines and can start out with 10 million documents or more and of course, you need electronic assistance. But why would you not use similar tools for 100,000 documents, 10,000 or 1,000 documents. Who is keen to wade through 10,000 emails on paper?  Particularly, when insights from the metadata into who sent, received and forwarded those emails, and when, often reveal useful clues but are lost in the paper alternative and at best are much harder and time-consuming to assimilate from printed copy.

Many other issues arise. IT Group has had recent involvement with IP cases where software source code has been emailed out to other organisations and plagiarised. IP cases tend to have fewer documents than, for example, fraud cases. But, how much time and expense should you spend trawling through several thousand emails, trying to spot programming code, when search tools can find such things within seconds?

It is still common for lawyers to work through ten or so lever arch files of printed documents, all of which started life electronically. This may still be normal practice, but there must be a point where the review costs of doing an exercise ‘by hand’ itself creates disproportionate expense.

A continuing issue is persuading the client that these e-Disclosure tools are necessary, but they will often see the benefit when they understand the trade-off between searching for and reviewing relevant documents electronically and doing this exercise on paper.

It is also important to select a service that fits. IT Group’s hosted e-Disclosure service targets smaller document volumes and we put in place a notional ceiling of around 5 million documents. Recent cases include one of 30,000 emails and another of 10,000. Running these cases was very cost effective, providing full electronic search, review and disclosure. There is little point deploying a system designed to manage dozens of paralegals reviewing huge numbers of documents when your case is going to involve you and a couple of assistants.

IT Group offers a completely web-enabled platform to search, review and organise disclosure of electronic documents and data. This provides significant wins in the time it takes to load and run a case. With no software to load ‘locally’, this ‘zero client’ approach means no installation costs or lengthy system compatibility issues.

Access is through any standard HTTPS Web browser. Lawyers can work from different offices, as needed, with no uplift in cost and work is easily shared with the client, barristers or other experts.  If you can use Google you can use our Intella Connect service.