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The eDiscovery Paradigm Shift

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

eDiscovery SaaS Continues to Gain Marketshare

As the eDiscovery SaaS evangilist, I thought that it was time for another quick update on the current status of the proliferation of SaaS based applications in the eDiscovery market. 6-12 months ago, most players in the eDiscovery market didn't even now what SaaS (Softtware-as-a-Service) was or how it would benefit their organizations. And when you tried to explain that it was the next generation of onDemand software applications or the practical application of "cloud computing", many shouted that, "the legal market will never let such sensative data outside the firewall." And therefore the benefits such as; no software license fees, no annual software maintenanc fees, no hardwar to purchase, consumption based pricing, etc. never really got heard. At this point I in the debate I always like to point out that at a very embarrassing time in human history, many though that the world was flat. However, back to my post.

Regardless of whether the "world is flat" or not and whether it is a symptom of the world economic crisis or just the natural progression of a true paradigm shift, the eDiscovery SaaS market is growing.

Some Proof that the World Isn't Flat
Doing a scientifically calibrated quick Google search on "eDiscovery SaaS", I found that in late August 2009, Orange Legal Technologies, a leading provider of one source litigation, audit, and investigation support services for law firms and corporations seeking insight on electronically stored information, announced a technology partnership allowing BlackStone Discovery to integrate the OneO® Discovery Platform into its existing electronic discovery service portfolio. The strategic partnership with Orange Legal Technologies enables BlackStone Discovery clients to reduce electronic discovery times, and costs, by 50% while also reducing risk when compared to non Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based electronic discovery offerings.

I know the executives at both Orange Legal Technologies and Blacktone Discovery and they are all very experienced and successful eDiscovery professionals. As such, I would consider them to be somewhat of a bellwether for where eDiscovery SaaS is going.

The full text of the press release is as follows:

(Salt Lake City, UT and Palo Alto, CA) Orange Legal Technologies, a leading provider of one source litigation, audit, and investigation support services for law firms and corporations seeking insight on electronically stored information, today announced a technology partnership allowing BlackStone Discovery to integrate the OneO® Discovery Platform into its existing electronic discovery service portfolio. The strategic partnership with Orange Legal Technologies enables BlackStone Discovery clients to reduce electronic discovery times, and costs, by 50% while also reducing risk when compared to non Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based electronic discovery offerings.

“This new partnership between BlackStone Discovery and Orange Legal Technologies solidifies the OneO® platforms’ footprint in Silicon Valley,” stated Bret Laughlin, President and CEO of Orange Legal Technologies. “Based on the fact that BlackStone Discovery serves as the preferred electronic discovery consultant for many of the leading international law firms and corporations with a presence in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and San Jose, our new partnership is already off to a successful start as a large government organization in the Silicon Valley has chosen to work with BlackStone Discovery powered by OneO®.”

“There are many software applications available for early case assessment, processing and hosting.” shared John Kelly, President and CEO of BlackStone Discovery. “After extensive analysis and evaluations of available technologies, it became clear that OneO®’s integrated suite of technology was the right fit for our law firm & corporate clientele. We are committed to partnering with best in class companies, and this alliance combines the strength and efficiency of BlackStone Discovery’s own Rapid Response Methodology with OneO®’s superior cost-savings and speed.”

To Learn More

The OneO® Discovery Platform provides law firm and corporate legal professionals with an integrated, web-accessible, forensically sound electronic discovery platform that enables online analytics, processing, and review of data from the security of a hosted centralized repository. To learn more about how the OneO® Discovery Platform can quantifiably save users 1/2 the time, 1/2 the cost, while lowering the risks associated with traditional electronic discovery approaches, contact Orange Legal Technologies today via website (, email (, or phone (1.415.989.7922) .

About Orange Legal Technologies

Orange Legal Technologies is a leading electronic discovery provider of one source litigation, audit, and investigation support services for law firms and corporations seeking insight on electronically stored information. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and with four locations nationwide, OrangeLT™ offers a complete suite of electronic discovery services to include collection, analysis, processing, review and production of both digital and paper-based information. Enabled by the OneO® Discovery Platform—an integrated, web-accessible electronic discovery platform that provides online analysis, processing, and review of unstructured data from the security of a hosted centralized repository—and augmented by best of breed electronic discovery partners, Orange Legal Technologies has participated as a member of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). For more information on Orange Legal Technologies, visit

About BlackStone Discovery

BlackStone Discovery is Silicon Valley’s preferred electronic discovery and document management company with a wide range of data-centric services delivered under the Rapid Response Methodology™. Based in Palo Alto, California, BlackStone Discovery’s portfolio of litigation support services includes collection, native analysis, processing, review, and production services supported by a dedicated team of litigation technology consultants and project managers. For more information on BlackStone Discovery, visit:

Next week I will be posting an update on all of the eDiscovery SaaS Vendors so let me know if you have something that you would like to contribute.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Current Status of eDiscovery and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Markets

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to be the keynote at a small luncheon of legal and Information Technology Professionals in Chicago, Illinois and discuss my thoughs about the current status of the eDiscovery and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) markets. Following is the press release that provides a summary of the highlights of that speech:

Chicago, Illinois - August 31, 2009 (PRWeb) - eDiscovery Solutions Group announced today that Charles Skamser, the company’s Founder and CEO, spoke on the current status of the eDiscovery and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) markets at a Chicago area luncheon for litigators and global information management professionals on July 31, 2009.

Mr. Skamser, Founder and CEO of eDiscovery Solutions Group, started out his speech by listing what he called, “the known truths about Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC) and eDiscovery.”

- eDiscovery is not that complicated
- eDiscovery is too expensive
- eDiscovery will be brought back into the IT departments of the Global 2000
- There will be a convergence of eDiscovery and GRC technology and management
- Most eDiscovery and GRC solutions will be cloud based in 10 years

Mr. Skamser went on to talk about how the increase in the volume of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) has perpetuated the dawn of a new technology era in litigation.

“Even though most lawyers ignored the advent of the integrated circuit and the subsequent introduction of the personal computer in the 1980s, evidence collection and processing has been slowly going through a paradigm shift from paper based evidence to electronic evidence,” stated Charles Skamser, Founder and CEO of eDiscovery Solutions Group. “However, with the accelerating volume of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) surpassing anyone’s expectations, it is now fool hardy for even the most stayed and cautious litigator to not realize that the game, and more importantly the technology of litigation, has changed,” continued Mr. Skamser. “As a result of this eDiscovery paradigm shift, it is time for the Global 2000 to get serious about managing ESI for eDiscovery and GRC,” stated Mr. Skamser.

Mr. Skamser went on to claim that the attempt by law firms and many litigation service providers to utilize eDiscovery technology has failed and as a result corporations worldwide are bringing eDiscovery processing in house.

"Over the past three years, I have heard a common message of dismay from many of the partners from the top litigation law firms in the country,” stated Mr. Skamser. “This common message of dismay is that they went to law school and either started a firm or joined a firm to practice law. And, one morning, several years ago, they all woke up and found themselves managing a technology company. It is my opinion that we would all be better off if lawyers and law firms went back to being lawyers and let the technology experts handle the technology,” added Mr. Skamser. “The lawyers would be happier; the technologist would be happier; and, most importantly, the clients would be happier,” stated Mr. Skamser

Mr. Skamser next contended that eDiscovery is too expensive.

“A really good litigator is probably worth $400 or more per hour when engaged in defending your company in a multi-million dollar matter.” stated Mr. Skamser. “However, beyond the dynamics of the free market economy, I have never been able to justify spending $2,000 per gigabyte to find the ESI that is required to respond to a request. Further, I have found very few litigators and corporate counsel that could even explain what exactly it was that they were getting for their $2,000.”, continued Mr. Skamser. “The overall cost of identifying, collecting, processing, reviewing and producing ESI has come down in the past 12 months. However, it is still way too high and still excludes many if not most from the legal system,” contends Mr. Skamser. “Armed with a better understanding of what eDiscovery technology does and what it should cost along with a new crop of cloud based vendors with a much lower cost of production that are willing to challenge the current cost structures, I predict that the cost per gigabyte to process ESI will fall below $100 in the coming years,” predicts Mr. Skamser. “At some point, you should be able to push a couple of buttons and get a report on the electronic evidence that you need to better understand and, if required, support your matter,” added Mr. Skamser.

Mr. Skamser next spoke about the technologies that he believes will survive and thrive in the new eDiscovery and GRC marketplace.

"In general, when an industry goes into a paradigm shift, chaos irrupts and creates opportunities for new technology and new players to emerge. And, this is exactly what we have been seeing in the litigation services, eDiscovery and GRC market,” stated Mr. Skamser. “Up until 2007, there were only few major technology players in the litigation services space and because there wasn’t much competition, the market pretty much gave them a pass and allowed them to get by with peddling out of date and inferior technology at very high prices. Further, there was very little integration between the various core component technologies required to process data,” added Mr. Skamser. “This was great for the vendors that had a strangle hold on the market. But, not so good for clients and not so good for the industry as a whole.” “This all began to change in late 2007 about the same time that the changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went in to effect. I believe that it was a coincidence that this all happened at about the same time. However, the changes to the rules may have at least added some creditability to the notion that dealing with ESI was going to be much different than dealing with paper.”

Mr. Skamser went on to predict that there would be a convergence of eDiscovery and GRC technology.

“Given the requirement that both eDiscovery and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) need to have access to all of the ESI that an organization creates; and, given the fact that both eDiscovery and GRC need to be able to examine and act on the most granular ESI available; and, given the fact that it is much more efficient in both eDiscovery and GRC to be proactive instead of reactive, I predict that eDiscovery and GRC technology will converge into a single integrated solution,” predicts Mr. Skamser.

Mr. Skamser went on to predict that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud based computing will become the technology of choice for both eDiscovery and GRC.

“Regardless of what many of the so called industry experts are saying about the dangers of cloud computing and SaaS based solutions, the security sky isn’t falling. And, I predict that within 5 years most, if not all eDiscovery and GRC solutions will rely on SaaS and cloud based computing infrastructure,” stated Mr. Skamser. “There is just too much technical and investment momentum for it to go any other direction. So, although I am not a investment guru, I would suspect that an investment in anything SaaS and/or cloud based for eDiscovery and/or GRC will end up paying big dividends,” added Mr. Skamser.

Mr. Skamser next commented that he believes that the technical support of eDiscovery and GRC will become the responsibility of the information technology groups within the enterprise.

“Litigation services and now eDiscovery have created a financial boondoggle for law firms and litigation and eDiscovery service providers throughout the world over the past five years,” contends Mr. Skamser. “As a result, the cost of eDiscovery has remained high and there has been a real disconnect in expectations between clients, outside counsel, general counsel, internal IT departments and the service providers,” added Mr. Skamser. “Further, when you put into perspective the fact that the average multinational corporation faces more than 150 lawsuits per year, eDiscovery. Add to that the fact that corporations collectively spent several billions of dollars on electronic review and you have an issue that requires watching. It becomes crucial to better understand these processes and to learn where you can cut costs effectively. As a result, I predict that that technical support and management of eDiscovery and GRC will become the responsibility of the information technology groups within the enterprise with General Counsel having more direct responsibility and outside counsel taking on more of a consulting role,” continued Mr. Skamser. “This doesn’t mean that the litigation services, eDiscovery technology vendor and eDiscovery consulting market is going to go away. It just means that they are going to take on more of a consultative role supporting the internal operations of the enterprise,” added Mr. Skamser.

Mr. Skamser next spoke about his views of the current contraction in the number of players in the eDiscovery technology vendor community.

“Although I didn’t have any more than experience from other technology industries, personal observation of the litigation services industry and anecdotal evidence to back up my claim, I predicted early last year that as with any other technology industry that is in a throws of a paradigm shift, the eDiscovery technology and services market would suffer aggressive contractions with mergers, acquisitions and a large number of vendors going out of business,” stated Mr. Skamser. “Late 2008 and 2009 have proven my prediction correct as litigation services and the eDiscovery technology industry have both been hit hard by natural contraction and the downturn in the economy. And, even though most of the companies that took hits during this contraction would contend that it was due to the downturn in the economy, I contend that the eDiscovery market as a whole is actually still expanding and therefore any casualties had old technology, lack of industry understanding, poor customer service or all of the above to blame for their demise,” added Mr. Skamser. “And, even though I have my doubts about the theories of evolution in general, the current state of the eDiscovery market is s perfect example of survival of the fittest. As a result, we are now entering a time when the options will be the best of what’s left,” continued Mr. Skamser.

Mr. Skamser next indicated that industry wide standards and professional certifications would be the key to the long term stability and success of the eDiscovery and GRC markets.

"Having spent most of my career helping IT professionals from the Global 2000 utilize leading edge and disruptive software technology to attain business objectives, I am very familiar with the power of industry standards and professional certifications,” stated Mr. Skamser. “The quicker the leaders from within the eDiscovery and GRC markets establish and enforce both standards and certifications, the quicker we will begin to see a normalization effect that will enable the entire industry to move forward in a more coherent way,” he continued.

Mr. Skamser finished his speech by indicating that, although there is lots of chaos and a shortage of answers, it is a very exciting time to be involved in the eDiscovery and GRC markets.

“I hope that my speech today didn’t paint a negative picture of eDiscovery and GRC or leave you confused in regards to how to successfully navigate the rough waters of eDiscovery and GRC,” stated Mr. Skamser. “On the contrary, I hope that you are encouraged by the prospects of what lies before us and can see the light of success at the end of this tunnel,” added Mr. Skamser.

About eDiscovery Solutions Group
eDiscovery Solutions Group is an international consortium of leading independent eDiscovery consultants, eDiscovery consulting firms, regional litigation service providers and best-in-class eDiscovery technology companies that have come together to provide all of the services, consulting and technology necessary to support the entire eDiscovery lifecycle for the legal departments of corporations, the IT departments of corporations that need to support eDiscovery requirements and litigation centric law firms.

With a growing consortium of partners worldwide, eDiscovery Solutions Group offers a broad array of eDiscovery consulting, services and technology along with project management to support the entire eDiscovery lifecycle. Following the eDiscovery processing paradigm of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), eDiscovery Solutions Group has developed an eDiscovery best practices framework that includes consulting, collection, analysis, processing, production, review and presentation.

Within this framework, the eDiscovery Solutions Group can deliver data retention policy, development, data archiving, eSecurity, eCompliance, eDiscovery readiness, strategic planning, implementation support, paper and ESI collection, investigations, expert testimony, data recovery, computer forensics, early case assessment, data analysis, data redundancy management, conceptual search, de-dupe, near de-dupe, scanning, copying, coding, language translation, EDD, TIFF conversion, hosting, on-site, on-shore and off-shore review, legal process outsourcing (LPO), courtroom graphics and presentations, tool training, systems integration and custom solutions. For more information about eDiscovery Solutions Group, please visit:


The Critical Need for eDiscovery Certification

Having spent most of career assisting the Global 2000 to utilize leading edge information technology, I am a big proponent of industry certifications.  Therefore, I wanted to post an article titled "The Critical Need for eDiscovery Certification" by Chere Estrin that appears in the August 30th  LA Legal Careers Examiner.  Chere is leading a very important effort to define and expand certifications in the eDiscovery market.

The full text of the article is as follows:

Today's screaming for qualified e-discovery professionals has reached an unprecedented volume. Recently, Socha-Gelbman published an overview of the results of their annual survey on the Legal Technology News site.

One of the most important single observations from it is the shortage of expertise in the market-place with providers, law firms and corporations reported as "fighting each other for the few people who actually understand what is involved in handling electronic documents". That is significant because the lack of qualified professionals can only grow. Predictions of 20%- 25% growth in the field does not guarantee that a generation of skilled and knowledgable people are simply going to pop up.

Most litigation support staff learn on the job. Many are victims of degenerative on-the-job training. That is to say, the trainer received inadequate training; he/she trains another individual who receives even more inadequate training; that person trains another who now receives twice as much inadequate training as the previous inadequately trained individual and so on and so on and so on.

Most law firms and vendors do not have substantive ediscovery training programs. There's plenty of continuing ed and in-house seminars but no real comprehensive long-term courses nor exams to certify core competencies. Reputations and careers are at risk.

Further, law firms hesitate to spend money on any employee who is not slated for partnership. Firms and vendors alike may hire a person from another position i.e., litigation paralegal; computer technician or someone from outside the field, to transition into the lit. support field. Only after plenty of trial and error (possibly on your case), are they called an "expert". There is no test, certification nor standards to enter or stay in this relatively new profession.

As a result of this crying need from judges, law firms and vendors alike, a new non-profit organization, The Organization of Legal Professionals ( has been formed for the purpose of providing an exacting and tough certification exam to establish core compentencies. This organization has assembled a blue ribbon Board of Governors and Advisory Council. The names of these legal icons are the best in the nation and beyond.

The benefits to law firms, legal departments and vendors alike are tremendous. Just a few include the delivery of higher level quality services; better adherence to risk management; lower malpractice rates; and assured skills and competencies in a new profession that at present, has no barriers to entry.

We need your help. We need you to join and support us. We need you to help spread the word. The lack of qualified people in the fastest growing arena of litigation is unprecedented. And now, there is a way to help manage and control the problem.

Please go to and join as a member, sponsor, student member or affiliate partner. If you cannot join at this time, feel free to get on the mailing list. Or, join us on the Advisory Council for 1-2 hours per month. Become a Subject Matter Expert and be in on the ground floor of this exciting adventure in solving a major problem in the legal field today.

The enormous challenges that have already been met by lit. support stars and hard-working, dedicated and persistent individuals in this field today should not be underestimated nor dismissed. It's simply time to take a look at the future and who will be entitled to call themselves an e-discovery expert and why.

I look forward to your thoughts. Please feel free to contact me or anyone on the Board of Governors or Advisory Council directly.

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