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Early Case Assessment Technology Getting Integrated into the eDiscovery Lifecycle

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Early Case Assessment Technology Getting Integrated into the eDiscovery Lifecycle

As I have been reporting over the last 18 months, Early Case Assessment (ECA) is the key  technology to reducing the cost of eDiscovery.  And, there have been no shortage of of ECA solutions to hit the market.  However, with ClearWell leading the market, all of the new ECA platforms have been standalone applications that required users to import and export data depending upon what other eDiscovery technologies that they were utilizing.  Obviously, as I have also been contending for over 18 months, a single integrated and affordable eDiscovery platform will revolutionize eDiscovery processing. 

Well, it appears that CaseCentral has answered the call by integrating ECA into their offering and enabling users to now start with ECA and extend through analysis, review, production and post-production re-use, facilitating collaborative assessments of new case merits and liabilities, application of first pass review, and real-time transfer to active review if required, all at a price point that shatters the current ECA pricing model.

Given the size of the eDiscovery market, I am sure that many vendors will follow.  And, given the history “first movers” in the technology industry, there is going to be plenty of room for additional players and several next generations of integrated ECA before the market leaders emerge.  However, CaseCentral may always be able to boast, that they were possibly the first.

The full text of the CaseCenteral press release is as follows:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 06/22/09 -- CaseCentral, the leader in secure, on-demand eDiscovery software for corporate counsel and law firms looking to simplify and take control of eDiscovery, today announced the release of the CaseCentral Early Case Assessment (ECA) offering, which is the industry's first ECA product to seamlessly integrate with active litigation review and production software. CaseCentral's integrated, multi-purpose eDiscovery review platform enables clients to start with ECA and extend through analysis, review, production and post-production re-use, facilitating collaborative assessments of new case merits and liabilities, application of first pass review, and real-time transfer to active review if required, all at a price point that shatters the current ECA pricing model.
"Many of the current Early Case Assessment tools are designed only for the matter at hand. They also frequently require a data export to another tool for active review," said George Socha Jr., Esq., founder of Socha Consulting. "An approach that treats ECA as an integrated part of the overall review and analysis process has the potential to improve both transparency and consistency, decreasing risk and benefiting both inside and outside counsel."

Integrated, Multi-purpose Review Platform

The CaseCentral review platform delivers ECA with close proximity to active review, meaning that no export of data to other tools is required. Clients may rapidly create a new case for active review directly from within the ECA application, increasing consistency and decreasing cost and time. CaseCentral delivers these benefits with centralized data management and enterprise-class security, reducing the risks typically borne by corporations when they transmit proprietary and confidential data outside the firewall to multiple law firms and service providers. The CaseCentral ECA offering is useful to provide first pass review at the time of preservation, post-collection in preparation for 26(f) meet and confer or for performing scenario testing and risk forecasting on large data sets, benefiting both inside and outside counsel.

Designed for Collaboration

The CaseCentral review platform uniquely supports the virtual teams that are typical in eDiscovery review -- corporate legal potentially located in multiple states and time zones, law firms doing review work outside the corporate firewall and often outside review houses or LPOs performing critical review from locations across the country and even from other countries. This collaborative environment provides critical transparency of the review process to both inside and outside counsel and speeds the time to resolution.

Enables Use of Context from Previous Matters

Existing early case assessment products are usually designed only for the matter at hand, not to take advantage of previous matters. The CaseCentral review platform allows clients to manage multiple matters and enables re-use of work product or context from prior matters, including searches, production history and coding history, to aid in either Early Case Assessment or active eDiscovery review activities, increasing consistency and decreasing risk, cost and time.

Radical New ECA Pricing Model

Pricing for CaseCentral early case assessment starts at $10/GB/month or $120k/TB/year, which is two orders of magnitude less than competitive products, enabling clients to cost-effectively consider much larger data sets for ECA during first pass review. CaseCentral ECA pricing also takes away unpredictability making it easier to budget for ECA activities. Contemporary early case assessment tools charge clients a significant premium for perceived value, often starting at $100k/100GB, which equates to $1,000/GB. ECA can be about small data sets (Gigabytes) or about very large data sets (Terabytes) and current pricing discourages or limits the amount of data that can be considered during early case assessment before ultimately culling down the data set to a smaller amount for active review. This approach forces inside and outside counsel to take risks to limit the data set for ECA and active review.

"CaseCentral has taken the visionary step of treating Early Case Assessment (ECA) like just another phase of the review process," said Steve d'Alencon, chief marketing officer, CaseCentral. "This approach, coupled with CaseCentral's radical new ECA pricing model, moves the value equation for clients away from tactical, independent tools and towards an integrated, multi-purpose eDiscovery review platform."

CaseCentral ECA functionality allows attorneys to:

-- Consider strategies, perform analysis, evaluate liability and eliminate irrelevant data.
--  Analyze any given data set to cull down to only relevant and
    responsive data before moving into active review.
--  Collaborate securely with inside and outside counsel without
    compromising any active litigation reviews.
--  Ability to collect preservation metadata related to the legal hold
    (i.e. case name, sources, file paths, time and date of collection,
    applicable retention policy, etc.)
--  Employ file extension filtering and NSRL database filtering (de-NIST)
--  Utilize keyword or conceptual term search filters and conceptual
    classification across terabytes of data with 100% fully indexed metadata,
    full email thread support, duplicate management and near-duplicate
    identification.
--  Based on active attorney designations, re-evaluate and modify/remove
    keywords, custodians and concepts to cull irrelevant documents during
    review.  (i.e.: keywords with low responsive rates may be dropped from
    collections.)
--  Create content profiles to quickly locate potentially privileged and
    confidential content, as well as segregating non-relevant documents.
    (i.e.: create a 'smart folder' for spam content.)
--  Report metrics regarding data volumes, data types, custodians and
    collection metadata.
--  Classify documents by potential treatment (aka: potentially
    privileged) and move them directly into active review.

About CaseCentral

Founded in 1994, CaseCentral is the leader in secure, on-demand eDiscovery software for corporations and law firms to simplify and take control of eDiscovery. CaseCentral enables repeatable, defensible and measurable business processes that significantly reduce eDiscovery risk, cost and time. The CaseCentral eDiscovery review platform integrates early case assessment, processing, analysis, review and production capabilities, enabling customers to succeed with a single matter and seamlessly migrate to multi-matter, multi-party, multi-repository support within the same software platform. CaseCentral pioneered the use of process analytics, providing real-time measurement of review rates, quality rates and costs per document -- by matter, firm or user. CaseCentral has served more than 31 of the Fortune 100 and more than 82 of the AmLaw 100. For more information, call 1.800.714.2727 or visit http://www.casecentral.com/. Read 'Case in Point' cartoons, the lighter side of eDiscovery, at: http://www.casecentral.com/case-in-point/.


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