Legal Hold Software Getting Smarter - InformationWeek

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10/21/2008
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Legal Hold Software Getting Smarter

Recommind and Guidance have launched products to help companies preserve electronically stored information for legal and audit investigations.

Recommind and Guidance have launched products to help companies preserve electronically stored information for legal and audit investigations.This Monday, Recommind launched Insite Legal Hold, a software product that combines collection capabilities with early analysis to help enterprises cull duplicate and irrelevant information before it's sent to attorneys for detailed review and analysis.

The conventional wisdom around e-discovery is that the most expensive parts of the process are the review and analysis phases, in which attorneys review the reams of electronically stored information (ESI) collected for a case.

That's because collection efforts often gather up any file that has a whiff of relevance to ensure they don't miss crucial information. The problem is, when you're paying someone a couple hundred bucks an hour to examine page after page of information, every extra byte you throw onto the pile adds to your costs.

Recommind's Insite Legal Hold aims to address this problem by letting IT and in-house counsel examine data before it's collected. Counsel also can refine search parameters after an initial review to adjust the scope of the investigation.

Here's how it works. Counsel identifies the custodians (that is, the people that have potentially relevant data in their possession), data sources, and date ranges. The Insite software connects to the data sources, scans and indexes files that match the search criteria, and brings back the information in HTML format.

IT and/or counsel can then explore this data set to determine its appropriateness. Recommind says that an integral part of this exploration is concept search, in which information can be categorized not just by keywords but by the meaning of the content.

For instance, if the case revolved around stock options backdating, the concept search can help weed out nonrelevant documents that may contain the word "stock" used in a different context. Conversely, concept search also can flag documents that don't use those specific keywords but do express similar ideas.

Once IT and general counsel feel they've created search parameters that will yield the best results, the software will then go out and collect the relevant documents and move them to a third-party repository. Recommind says it can copy and move data without affecting the metadata.

This early analysis is designed to produce smaller data sets that will then be sent on to other tools for full analysis and review. Note that other content repositories, including many e-mail archives, also offer early analysis capabilities to reduce the amount of ESI to be collected.

Recommind Insite Legal Hold is available now.

Guidance Software also recently announced a new legal hold product, EnCase Legal Hold. This software runs on top of EnCase eDiscovery, which performs the actual collection and preservation of ESI.

EnCase Legal Hold is a notification system. Companies can use it to send notification messages to custodians, track the acknowledgement of that notice from those custodians, and send a customizable questionnaire to determine what kinds of relevant information the custodians may have and where it is (i.e., on a file share, laptop, CD, and so on).

Guidance says enterprises also can use EnCase Legal Hold to track discovery and collection efforts being conducted with EnCase eDiscovery.

EnCase Legal Hold is expected to be available in December. Guidance offers it as both a front-end add-on to EnCase eDiscovery and a standalone product. Note that customers that want EnCase Legal Hold as a standalone product must install EnCase eDiscovery, but Guidance will only charge them for the Legal Hold component.

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