For the past year we at StoredIQ, like everyone else in the eDiscovery space, spent quite a bit of time talking about our early case assessment (ECA) capabilities. Which is why our ears perked up last week when George Rudoy contributed an article to Law.com reflecting on ECA, its definition, and its evolution from a novel feature to finding its proper place in the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). In his post, Rudoy states:
“While the debate on the usefulness and effectiveness of ECA continues, it should be noted that how the term is defined continues to evolve. Some of the service providers adapted quickly enough to have ECA as part of their “arsenal” a few years ago. Many of these tools were designed to filter metadata after collection and help the company decide how much a case will cost. This is a noble objective, but not completely in line with the original intent of ECA — which was to help an organization determine its risk exposure and make strategic decisions about a case based on that analysis.”
We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we’ve been talking about the importance of performing ECA at an earlier phase of the EDRM for a while now. We believe that for ECA to have its greatest potential impact it needs to be performed during the identification phase of EDRM, prior to collections. StoredIQ’s ECA technology, Analyze Anywhere, indexes unstructured electronic data and makes it available for searching and analysis without affecting metadata or content, prior to any movement or collection of data. This ability to do ECA on data “in the wild” allows legal counsel to assess the merits of a dispute, formulate a legal strategy, and make decisions concerning the matter significantly faster than post-collection ECA. Additionally, it makes the data set that is ultimately produced for downstream, formal review not only qualitatively enriched and context aware, but also considerably smaller, thereby significantly reducing legal costs and risks. According to Rudoy:
“The premise of early case assessment is to give legal teams the ability to conduct up-front, fast, intelligent data gathering, with probative queries on the dataset to reduce it to a relevant universe that can be assessed. Legal teams have a need to see “what they got” faster than what traditional EDD services typically can provide. “
StoredIQ can form threads, comparisons, relationships and statistics much faster than human reviewers can. Our user interface includes dynamic visuals, detailed reports and an intuitive dashboard to accomplish in-depth analysis of once unwieldy amounts of discovered data. As the data set is culled —by custodian, file type, email domain, date range, key terminology, etc. — the StoredIQ Scoreboard presents a running count of the files retained (and eliminated from consideration) and automatically calculates the potential savings from the downstream review cycle.
By accomplishing ECA near the beginning of the eDiscovery workflow, ECA finally achieves the goals it originally set out to accomplish for improved legal strategy decisions and cost reduction.
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