Fios Collection Manager Fine-Tunes Electronic Discovery

The Fios Collection Manager IT Service aims to speed up the access to relevant documents for electronic discovery requests.

Fios Inc. on Jan. 30 will unveil its new Fios Collection Manager IT service to help organizations gain control of pertinent documents that are sitting in enterprise repositories, content management systems and email archives.

The new Fios product, set to be introduced at the LegalTech Tradeshow in New York City on Jan. 30 and available in March, offers a quicker and less costly path to electronically stored information by understanding what information resides where, thereby improving responses to electronic discovery requests.

The rules-based Fios Collection Manager offers online evidence gathering, chain-of-custody indicators to reduce evidence tampering and early views into data via a Metadata Analysis option.

This feature allows legal teams to examine what data types and volume sizes could be relevant to a discovery request before a collection starts, said Brad Harris, director of Product Management for Portland, Ore.-based Fios.

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The new service can be configured based on metadata, file type, data ranges or file paths. By clicking on a URL, a user activates the product by securely connecting the machine or system to be analyzed for discovery back to Fios Collection Manager Server.

An executable containing the Fios software and specific collection rules is immediately downloaded and installed in the memory of the target.

From there a hard drive is scanned to identify any relevant files and corresponding metadata of those files to be sent back to the Fios server.

All information collected by Fios on behalf of the customer contains tracking information about the evidence such as where and why it was collected, at what time and by whom.

David Chaumette, a partner with Houston, Tex.-based Shook Hardy Bacon LLP, is currently beta testing Fios Collection Manager.

He pointed toward an increased sensitivity to document retention work before litigation processes even begin as an area putting pressure on companies to prepare for electronic discovery requests.

"Corporate America is becoming nervous. Plaintiffs that sue larger corporations are getting smarter about how they ask for documents. The realization has really sunk into commerce that much of business is done electronically, and if you dont pay attention to electronic aspects of what piece of litigation youre in, youre in trouble," said Chaumette, an e-discovery and litigation expert.

"Its a combination of being proactive and seeing what can happen if you dont figure out what you have or what you should be doing. [Electronic discovery] can be a very expensive process if you have to do it quickly."

Since electronic discovery is often not directly related to a specific case, Chaumette said that organizations often find themselves spending large amounts of dollars on evidence which is not going to be of any relevance in front of a jury.

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Therefore, getting an early assessment of the what amount of information across an enterprise needs to be sifted through—for example e-mail, presentations or other proprietary software—is critical.

"If you use [Fios Collection Manager] you will have an idea very quickly of what information you have, where. What this product also does is it makes it less likely that unintentional alteration will occur and makes it simpler for people to get information off machines in a less intrusive matter," Chaumette noted.

Compliance with discovery engagements is expected to increase in complexity once new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure go into effect in December 2006.

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