Financial Data Compliance

An In-Depth Look at the 2022 eDisclosure Systems Buyers Guide

Recently on eDiscovery Today, I covered Andrew Haslam’s annual eDisclosure Systems Buyers Guide, which was published a few weeks ago on Rob Robinson’s ComplexDiscovery site here. Back then, I covered it briefly. This time, I’m taking a more in-depth look at the guide and the other benefits of it.

Educational Resources

While the bulk of the terrific 450-page guide is dedicated to a detailed look at service and software providers (what Andrew calls “Suppliers” and “Software”), the first 70+ pages is mostly dedicated to educational and purchasing resources. Here are the educational resources Andrew discusses:

eDisclosure – An Introduction: This is the very basic definition of eDisclosure, which as Andrew states, is “The definition of eDisclosure then becomes the process of identifying, collecting, processing, analysing, reviewing and presenting ESI for legal proceedings.” Sounds familiar! Oh, and “[b]ecause so much of the software in this area comes from the United States, it is as well to recognise the synonym eDiscovery, which is the American term for eDisclosure.”

EDRM Model: Andrew follows up on his definition of eDisclosure with a detailed discussion of the EDRM model, going through each box of the model and looking at three things: Description-The official description of the individual process/procedure; Legal Implications-What you as a lawyer might become involved in within this particular process; and Who can help-A brief overview of the types of services and/or software products you might need to support you in this process.

Andrew also uses his terrific conventions of “Note”, “Best Practice” and “Warning” to illustrate important points throughout. For example:

  • In his discussion of Information Governance, Andrew provides a Note that says: There’s a BD opportunity here – Why not approach your clients (possibly with a technology partner by your side) and engage them in conversations about becoming litigation ready. You supply the detailed legal and business specific knowledge and the client is better prepared for the “evil day” of litigation.
  • In his discussion of Identification, Andrew provides a Best Practice that says: Build a “Data Map” as soon as possible – Should be a single piece of A4 that describes where the data is stored and any issues surrounding it. Print it out and have it on the front of the Matter file. The overall concept of a “Data Map” is embodied in Section 2 of the DRD (Disclosure Review Document).
  • In his discussion of Preservation, Andrew provides a Warning that says: Forget the Client’s IT staff at your peril – Make sure the Client’s IT people understand what data you are preserving, so that they don’t inadvertently destroy it as part of their normal business practice.

Cooperation in England and Wales: Andrew discusses the importance of emphasizing the focus on cooperation for the eDisclosure process within England and Wales, providing important “Practice Direction” references, while noting that “Cooperation is not collaboration.”

Technology Areas: Here, Andrew aims to “provide a brief outline of the various areas of technology in order to provide context for the rest of the Guide”. After all, you can’t be an informed buyer without understanding what you’re buying, right? So, Andrew discusses areas here, including:

  • Litigation Readiness / RIM / Email Archiving
  • Collection – Forensic & Generic
  • Scanning (because paper documents still exist)
  • Objective & Subjective Coding
  • Litigation Support Tools, including: Early Case/Data Assessment, Litigation Support Systems and Multi-Purpose Tools
  • Presentation Systems

Purchasing Resources

Here are the marketing resources Andrew discusses:

Market Survey: This Chapter looks at the overall marketplace for eDisclosure buyers, starting with a quick review on the changing UK legal environment and how that might impact the choice and use of technology. That’s followed by historical market perspectives overall, and for litigation support products, ECA products and predictive coding products. The historical market perspectives are great if you want to understand how we got where we are today and who some of the legacy players are (as you will hear their names referenced from time to time).

That’s followed by an analysis of the different types of vendors in areas including consultancy firms, software specific organizations, solutions/bureau organizations, outsourcing organizations, external review teams and managed review facilities/teams. That’s followed by current hot topics, which include clustering/concept/sentiment analysis, email threading, automatic translation, audio/video files, technology assisted review (TAR), social media ESI, a need for a solution to support “small quantities of ESI”, charging model considerations, redaction tools for “native” formats and email family groups with non-relevant children.

Andrew also goes in-depth into potential problems, such as email groups, re-unitization of images of paper documents (which is still needed at times when images are created or produced without regard to document boundaries), high level allocation of alias for names normalization, the pitfalls of improperly managed data collection by the client or the law firm’s IT department and issues of working in “native” formats.

That’s followed by a vendor list (grouped under the headings used in the previous section), and two valuable software lists – by supplier and by EDRM function. Andrew even includes a comprehensive list of Relativity plug-ins!

Procurement Approach: This section provides an analysis of the types of pricing models suppliers might adopt, an overview of the procurement process, and then specific requirements for scanning, unitization and coding services, data collection, litigation support services and processing small volumes of ESI.

The first sub-section – Supplier’s Pricing / Client Tactics – provides valuable tips on gathering pricing info and negotiating pricing. It includes advice such as “Don’t keep asking for the “best of three” quotes” and “Ask for flexibility in pricing” as ways to deal with the pricing challenges that exist today. Andrew also reviews the general procurement stages, ranging from requirements scoping to demonstration with real data and establish call off contracts.

Additional Resources: This is Andrew’s last educational section before he gets into the Supplier and Software Details section (which comprises the bulk of the guide), where he provides a list of useful UK and US resources for eDisclosure/eDiscovery and legal tech.

Andrew’s eDisclosure Systems Buyers Guide is not just the most comprehensive resource for learning about the service and software providers in the market, it’s also a terrific resource to educate the buyer on eDisclosure/eDiscovery best practices and technology. Pages 14 through 83 are a “must read” to understand what you need to know to evaluate the comprehensive list of providers that follows. That’s what makes it a true “Buyers Guide”! You can check out his guide via ComplexD here!

Unfortunately, this will be the last version of the eDisclosure Systems Buyers Guide in its current form (at least from Andrew). In the Forward, he stated: “After a decade of using my spare time in the first half of the year to pull together this document, I’m moving away from the keyboard to spend more time with my wife and Grandchildren. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Guide over the years, it has been (mainly) fun.”

Hopefully, someone will emerge to take up the mantle from here and keep it going! Perhaps someone who is known for providing excellent educational and market resources and has been the host of the guide for the last two years? Hint, hint!  😉

So, what do you think? Are you in the market for eDiscovery (or eDisclosure) software or services?  Then, download a copy of Andrew’s 2022 eDisclosure Systems Buyers Guide – it’s FREE!  And please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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