Cisco, Clearwell Team for E-Discovery 2.0 Tools

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2007-07-27

Cisco, Clearwell Team for E-Discovery 2.0 Tools

Data compliance software maker Clearwell Systems and IT infrastructure giant Cisco Systems announced July 23 that they have partnered to develop a set of new e-discovery tools that incorporate next-generation technologies—collectively known as "E-Discovery 2.0."

The technologies are designed to manage quickly growing litigation case volumes and accelerate early case analysis.

Clearwells Intelligence Platform 2.0 software automates the analysis, cull-down, and review process of e-mail and documents in civil or criminal litigation.

This enables business and IT executives to reduce the cost, time, and risk of e-mail and document analysis for legal e-discovery, regulatory inquiries and corporate investigations, said Aaref Hilaly, CEO of Clearwell, based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., will be making the Clearwell tools available on an as-needed basis for its customers.

Ciscos new data center product, VFrame DC (VFrame Data Center), is an orchestration platform that uses network intelligence to provision resources as virtualized services. Cisco has made a point recently of trying to put business intelligence into the network, and VFrame -- along with the Clearwell tools -- fit that strategy.

Companies are now responding to legal challenges by adopting E-Discovery 2.0, which uses next-generation technologies to reduce the cost and risks of e-discovery, said senior analyst Brian Babineau of Enterprise Strategy Group, in Milford, Mass.

Instead of reactively responding each time a lawsuit arises, enterprises and law firms can use E-Discovery 2.0 tools proactively to improve litigation readiness, Babineau said.

"This new trend, electronic discovery, is not just a trend—it is a long-term reality," Babineau said. "More organizations are creating business records, intellectual property, and collaborating electronically, so litigators and government regulators are now targeting digital information sources for evidence.

"Our research indicates that the two biggest challenges organizations face when responding to a discovery notice are retrieving information from offline sources such as tapes and optical system, and searching through the massive volumes of information in an attempt to locate relevant content."

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E-Discovery 2.0 technologies include: highly scalable archiving for efficient e-mail storage; sophisticated analysis applications which cull down large volumes of e-mail to only those messages relevant to the case; advanced visualization capabilities—such as the graphical representation of e-mail discussions—that significantly increase review productivity; and open standards such as EDRM and XML standards, which reduce delays and errors associated with converting and loading data into numerous proprietary e-discovery systems.

Next Page: The power shift from law firms to in-house counsel is driving the e-discovery realm

Cisco, Clearwell Team for

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This year alone, analysts say, enterprises will spend a projected $12 billion on e-discovery tools and associated legal services.

"ESG research indicates that three out of four electronic discovery events involve e-mail," Babineau said. "If an organization is going to make investments in technology to make electronic discovery processes more efficient, e-mail is a great place to start. Files are not far behind as far as frequency of requests. It is for these reasons why Clearwells solution is gaining traction in the marketplace."

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A driving force in the e-discovery realm is the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Another key driver is the current power shift from law firms to in-house counsels, Hilaly said. Corporate general counsels are no longer willing to be beholden to their firm and bear out of control costs—they are demanding to now "own" the e-discovery process in house, he said.

"Previously, all this e-discovery legal work was sent to outside service providers, and those can be expensive," Hilaly said.

"In the legal world, E-Discovery 2.0 has had every bit as big an impact on enterprises as Web 2.0 has had on the life of teenagers. Enterprises are seeking E-Discovery 2.0 solutions that provide digital archiving, analysis-driven review, ease-of-use, and [that] embrace open standards, in order to rein in rapidly growing legal expenses," Hilaly said.

Only five years ago there were very few e-discovery products available, forcing large enterprises to build their own in-house tools. There are now "a number of products out on the market that are better, cheaper, faster," Neal Rubin, director of litigation for Cisco, told eWEEK.

"Clearwell is one example of that, where we now feel they have tools that allow us to improve on processes that we were pretty proud of already," Rubin said.

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