Editor: Please tell our readers about Applied Discovery's evidence management repository and how it works.
Barton: The repository is an exciting and revolutionary way for companies to manage their electronic information for litigation. Before I came to Applied Discovery I was a litigator and worked on a lot of products liability matters. In that capacity, I used a lot of the same documents over and over for a variety of different cases. The same is true for securities matters, financial institutions, and the insurance industry. As plaintiff requests for information have grown companies have seen that many of their documents used for litigation are not necessarily matter-specific. Companies are finding themselves collecting and processing information over and over again so that it can be reviewed for each of these matters.
The repository is a master set of relevant information and documents that are provided by the client and stored by us in a central location. If a variety of different law firms are working on different cases involving the same information, those records would only have to be processed once. The client can establish individual databases for each of those law firms from the central repository. The repository offers a great cost savings for corporations because it removes the need to process records every time a matter comes up.
Editor: How does the repository fit into Applied Discovery's existing services?
Barton: It provides an additional value to our clients. The new architecture of the repository allows us to move information without having to copy it. That is a tremendous time saving for our clients and enhances the online review application experience. The review process is a lot faster because there is no review downtime when information is being uploaded into the system. This allows clients to manage their litigation costs and the time needed for reviewing documents and producing them.
Editor: What are the key features of the repository?
Barton: One of the best features of the repository is the ability to leverage prior work product. If a firm reviews information for a matter and tags certain documents as privileged, another firm working on a matter involving the same records will be able to see those tags to the extent that the client wants. This saves incredible amounts of time during the privilege and relevance review period. If the second firm decides to conduct its own review, the client will be able to cross check both sets of tags to ensure that the records are being treated consistently. Being able to leverage that work product cuts down dramatically on review time because instead of having to do an intensive review, firms can take more time and be more efficient when engaged in second line reviews. The client also has an enhanced level of security because it can test tags so that privileged information is not inadvertently disclosed. It can ensure that the right privilege calls are being made consistently across different types of documents for different types of litigation.
Editor: What distinguishes the repository from other data management systems?
Barton: The repository is a full service, hosted solution that has security features and ease of use which makes it unparalleled in the industry. We received input and specifications from our clients when designing the repository so it is tailored to the needs of corporate counsel and their outside counsel. We created the system with the corporation in mind to make sure that it facilitated the data collection and review experience every step along the way.
Editor: How is information collected and stored?
Barton: Information can be collected in a variety of different ways. For instance, a client may decide to use either one of our data collection teams or another collection method to collect the information needed for a single matter. The information would be stored on a secured network access storage drive that would be backed up in a central location. The client is then able to establish separate databases for each of its law firms from that one location of data.
The central repository of information is housed by us with each client having the ability to store at least three terabytes of data with an upper limit of no less than six terabytes. On the review side it can support hundreds of concurrent users looking at the same sets of data or multiple sets of data. Allowing us to store the information provides clients with added security. We have gone through several audits by our financial institution clients who have found that our data facility meets the highest standards of data security. Storing information in one central location also removes the burden and expense associated with having information stored on a variety of different servers housed by the corporation or its outside counsel. With the repository, clients always know where their data is. The repository has much more storage capacity than a law firm or corporation so clients can store more information and they know that they can add more records to the system as time passes. Finally, having all the information stored in one place allows companies to better manage document production. When an issue arises, the company can quickly put the proper database in place and immediately begin the review process.
Editor: Is information stored in native format or is it converted into a uniform format?
Barton: It is stored both ways. All the files are converted to PDF but they are also available in native format so you get the best of both worlds. With PDF you get full indexing and searchability of the information. You also get the ease of reading information in PDF format and the ability to search across different file types. The native files are also available if that information needs to be accessed.
Editor: What are the benefits of the repository for a company that litigates multiple cases based on virtually the same set of facts and circumstances?
Barton: The time and cost savings will be incredible. The number one cost of an e-discovery project is still attorney review time. Any product and service that can cut down on review time will lead to a cost savings for the client. It is not only the actual time for the review but the time it takes to collect and process the same information over and over again. That is what often happens with large scale litigation. Being able to leverage the prior work product for review will garner tremendous savings on the review portion of a project.
Editor: How does the evidence management repository facilitate litigation management for companies who face exposure to a broad range of civil suits in the U.S. and abroad as well as the risk of governmental investigations by U.S. and foreign officials?
Barton: By having one central repository companies have better control of their information. The amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require litigants to attend a meet and confer to discuss production of electronic information. With all relevant information stored in one place, clients will be able to go into their meet and confer confident that they can locate all their relevant information for litigation. The ease of keeping everything in one location is monumental. Documents and information will not be stored on a variety of different servers all over the country. There will be more transparency for the client to know at any given moment who is looking at their information, what they are doing with it, and how it is being tagged. That kind of reporting and transparency is invaluable when you are trying to respond to a document request or subpoena. Being able to respond quickly will limit any exposure for fines or sanctions.
Editor: If there are multiple review teams, how can each one be sure that its workspace and work product are secure and private?
Barton: The repository meets industry standard guidelines for security and intrusion countermeasures so the system is secure. In addition, each database that is created from the repository will have its own level of security and access rights. The client can determine whether it wants to control it or whether it wants one of its firm administrators to determine who should have access rights for each individual database. At that point the company can run a search of a particular type of documents and only the law firm that the client wants to see that information will have access to the information. It is customizable with respect to security measures but there are levels of security that clients can put in place to make sure that only those who have access see certain information.
Editor: When will the evidence management repository feature be available?
Barton: The product is scheduled to be released in mid-September 2007.
Editor: Where can readers go to learn more or to schedule a demo session?
Barton: They can find out more about the repository by going to www.lexisnexis.com/discovery. There, they will be able to find information on how to contact a local discovery specialist who can provide more details about the repository and schedule a demo session. The specialist will be happy to talk more about the repository and whether it is right for a particular company.
Editor: Is there anything that you'd like to add?
Barton: The repository will help corporations manage their litigation in ways that they had not been able to in the past. That level of security and ability to keep control of their data while knowing that they are leveraging the work product of their law firms will help corporations control costs. This is one of the biggest control areas for corporate counsel. If they can limit the amount of review that they need to do on documents while feeling comfortable that information is not being produced when it should not be, that is a great value to give our clients.
Published September 1, 2007.