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Status of Early Case Assessment (ECA)

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Status of Early Case Assessment (ECA)

After about 18 months since the term Early Case Assessment (ECA) emerged, it appears that users are beginning to understand that the key to reducing the overall costs of eDiscovery lies wtih reducing the amount of data that eventually has to be produced and reviewed. Also, it appears that eDiscovery vendors have figured out that the ultimate winners in this space will have a comprehensive seamlessly integrated solution that supports either all or at least a major portion of the EDRM model.

However, it also appears that even though costs have come down significantly, the overall cost of eDiscovery is still way too high.


Following is an an update on the ECA offerings from "some" more sell known and mainstream vendors in this space:


According to their website, Rated as a "Strong Positive" (highest possible rating given) in Gartner's 2008 E-Discovery MarketScope Report and voted a Top 5 E-Discovery Software Provider by the 2008 Socha-Gelbmann survey, the Clearwell E-Discovery Platform is the first enterprise-class e-discovery solution that manages all legal matters, regulatory inquiries, and corporate investigations in a single application. Leading companies have chosen Clearwell to process, analyze, review, and produce ESI. As a result, they accelerate early case assessments, cull-down data by up to 90%, increase review throughput, reduce movement of data across multiple tools, and improve the defensibility of their electronic discovery process.

However, word on the street is that it still costs between $450 and $550 per GB for ECA and then additional fees to go to production for review. Given the costs of TIFF and other production processing that may be required could push the overall cost of eDiscovery to well over $1,000 per GB. In addition, ClearWell still requires a farily large investment in hardware and software for "someone" in the channel or the ultimate end-user.

According to the CaseCentral website, CaseCentral the leader in secure, on-demand eDiscovery software for corporate counsel and law firms looking to simplify and take control of eDiscovery, announced in June 2009 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.

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.

According to an August 25, 2009 press release, Anacomp®, Inc., a leading provider of litigation support and business process services and solutions, today announced the availability of new early case assessment (ECA) services that offer law firms and corporate general counsel (GC) departments the ability to gain early insight into cases, help determine case strategy, and predict, control and minimize the costs, risks and time of electronic discovery. The new services augment Anacomp’s robust portfolio of eDiscovery services, which leverage CaseLogistix®, Anacomp's flagship litigation review platform, and the company’s proven experience in accelerating litigation processes and reducing costs and risks.

Anacomp's ECA services provide the metrics, methods and technologies to empower litigators to make optimal decisions early pertaining to case strategy and budgets. The services include defensible search methodologies to reduce the volume of electronically stored information (ESI) required for review, and the means to slash indexing times and nearly all reprocessing prior to review. The services offer litigators the ability to bring predictable, reasonable costs to electronic data discovery processes, reduce unnecessary capital expenditures, and eliminate spends typically made under tight deadlines or resource constraints.


Following is an update on other tools vendors that have entered the ECA space:
Venio Systems
According to their website, Venio Systems is a cutting edge Electronic Discovery software solution created to save legal, government and corporate industries time and money. Venio FPR™ allows forensic units, attorneys and litigation support teams to analyze data, provide an early case assessment, a total case assessment and a first pass review of any size data set. Unlike other E-Discovery management platforms, Venio FPR™ can export to ALL industry standard litigation support applications while providing extensive reporting options.

Based on a cloud computing model, rumor has it that pricing will be consumption based and very agressive thereby putting downward pressure on the rest of the ECA market.

Trial Solutions
It is also rumored that Trial Solutions may be releasing a cloud based (i.e. SaaS) ECA solution that is seamlessly integrated with ImageDepot, its leading Online Review Tool (ORT). It is further rumored that they may also be planning to offer very aggressive consumption based pricing for ECA.

eMag Solutions
According to an August 2009 press release, eMag Solutions, LLC, an international provider of enterprise content management (ECM) and electronic discovery solutions, announced the company will introduce eMag PreVu 3.0, the latest version of eMag's web-based data management portal to sort, search and filter electronically stored information (ESI) as well as manage early stage workflow. eMag PreVu helps customers manage costs and eliminate extraneous processing steps and shorten the time to complete projects.

The introduction of version 3.0 of the eMag PreVu hosted raw data culling application will occur at next week's annual ILTA conference being held at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center near Washington, D.C. August 24-27th.

Early case assessment has become a critical way for organizations and their legal teams to reduce uncertainty around both the costs and management of ESI and e-discovery, while helping them gain a stronger understanding of the nature and scope of the data involved in litigation, data migration, or enterprise content management projects. eMag Solutions has a strong track record of delivering cutting edge tools that help clients achieve great success around data management, and PreVu 3.0 is yet another example of this. eMag PreVu 3.0 allows users to create early stage processing requests to facilitate e-discovery, litigation planning, or ECM to make strategic decisions more timely and effectively.

eMag PreVu 3.0 provides the ability to efficiently cull large data sets prior to loading into an active archive, review tool or other repository, resulting in dramatically reduced review costs. Significant enhancements in PreVu 3.0 include advanced searching options, the ability to group and tag files, increased options for filtering, as well as extensive reporting capabilities.

Another key aspect of PreVu 3.0 is its ability to facilitate cross-border, multi-national collections. Clients are able to utilize the hosted application in conjunction with eMag's UK processing facilities and international on-site services to accommodate international data protection and privacy laws.

According to a recent press release, Atlanta-based earlyCASE, the leader in advanced early case assessment for Electronically Stored Information (ESI) and eDiscovery, today released filtering and culling capabilities in its market-leading eDiscovery early case assessment software available as Software-as-a-Service “SaaS” from earlyCASE is a SaaS web-based eDiscovery application which uses an on-demand deployment model (runs on your local PC), collects, preserves, analyzes and filters the ESI that your computer can access in-place without the data ever leaving your computer or network.

earlyCASE allows you to quickly and safely collect, organize, understand eDiscovery data, and apply filter / culling rules before it is processed for discovery. It supports Unicode, extracts metadata, generates hash values, detects duplicates, removes known system files and creates a local inventory database of documents and emails. earlyCASE allows users to make informed discovery decisions, easily and quickly cut down the size of data sets through filter and culling rules before going into the meet and confer, discovery processing and document review.

In the past, preserving, collecting, analyzing and filtering electronically stored information had to be handled in separate steps. earlyCASE can safely collect ESI, preserve all metadata, seamlessly analyze and filter the ESI to deliver rapid early case assessment and reduction in the amount of data being processed and reviewed. With the release today of the latest version of earlyCASE, you can create filter rules and see in real time the reduction in size and counts these rules have, then use earlyCASE to quickly separate the filtered documents, files and emails from the collection all without any additional software or costs.

earlyCASE is offered in three versions, a Basic (FREE) version, a Professional version for a small flat rate charge, regardless of the amount of data you analyze, and an enterprise edition. The Basic version offers 40+ high-quality eDiscovery reports, details the expanded sizes and counts of the data, estimates your processing and review budget and provides a long list of detailed as well as summary reports. With the Professional version, duplicate files and emails are identified, Lotus Notes files are processed, Known System Files are identified, EnCase images are processed. earlyCASE Professional also provides the ability to set filtering rules can be applied to reduce the amount of data, a 26(f) report for meet and confer is available to help clients reduce legal risk exposure by offering a necessary view of the legal case information—custodians, context, third parties, and more. earlyCASE provides you the tools and results to best understand, define and memorialize the ESI going into the meet and confer. Duplicate document detection and removal, removal of known system files, elimination of files outside the dates of interest, container processing (zip, rar, arc), Lotus Notes NSF’s, EnCase images and numerous Filtering options are the primary reasons most people use the Professional version of earlyCASE.

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At August 27, 2009 at 9:15 PM , Blogger G. J. Britton said...

A novel approach to ECA and e-discovery solution comes from the data mining field. Applications from companies such as SAS and SPSS have been providing powerful robust toolkits for structured and unstructured data, including text. Although there has not been a cross-ver yet (except for my use), because these applications are mature in other departments ( and genomics) I'd expect that coprorations that currently have these platforms in-house will beginning applying them to e-discovery challenges. Because they provide icon-based programming capabilities, they are much more versatile than vendor based unitasker solutions.

At August 31, 2009 at 12:23 PM , Blogger Eve said...

Another great approach to early case assessment is workflow-based data mapping tools such as Exterro's Fusion Genome. Knowing where your data resides, what format it's saved in and who controls it goes a long way to building litigation risk profiles and performing preliminary assessments of how much it will cost -- and how long it will take -- to produce relevant ESI for discovery and regulatory inquiries.


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