Last month Richard Wessel, our President and Lead Consultant, sat down with Lexpert for an interview to shed some light on our eDiscovery services. The focus was on bridging a gap between legal and IT departments and managing large amounts of data in a litigation scenario. With a real-world example, Richard Wessel discussed how “give me everything is too broad; we need to be more strategic.”
The article, titled “Are you overwhelmed?”, has now been released as part of the Lexpert Special Edition: Technology 2020 magazine. The article can be read below, or click here for a PDF version.
Are you overwhelmed?
by Richard Wessel, president and lead consultant at NearZero Discovery
When a corporation faced a litigation threat over a matter stretching back 15 years, its legal department asked IT for backup tapes of that period from the locations involved. That amounted to more than 1,600 tapes, each ranging in size from 100 gigabytes to three terabytes. A rough calculation put the cost of restoring those tapes at $1.8 million, which does not include the time and cost of reviewing for case-relevant data. With smart help, the corporation pulled the data it needed and prepared for litigation, for only $100,000.
That smart help came from NearZero Discovery, an e-discovery firm that works to bridge a gap between legal and IT departments in a litigation scenario. In this case, the NearZero team identified that restoring data from those backups would be highly duplicative. By picking the right backups to restore, they were able to pull potentially relevant data by restoring only 20 backup sets.
“In a litigation scenario, the legal team says to IT, ‘Give me everything you have for custodian X,’” says Richard Wessel, president and lead consultant at NearZero Discovery.
“The IT person looks at the request and goes, ‘Are you really sure you want everything?’ That could be every email, every textual document, every spreadsheet or other applications the custodian touched for the relevant period… Give me everything is too broad; we need to be more strategic.”
Wessel says his team uses a range of tech tools and human experience to securely meet discovery requirements while dealing with an ocean of data. They perform early case assessments to begin the discovery process, helping legal teams to quickly determine what needs to be examined in greater detail. As legal reviews documents from those triaged records, NearZero can employ AI features (Technology Assisted Review and Continuous Active Learning) to help reduce the time and cost of document review.
In addition to the tech solutions, Wessel says his team’s value add comes in its ability to “speak geek and speak legalese.” Wessel himself has 20 years of IT experience and 15 years of e-discovery experience. His in-house counsel has half a decade of legal and e-discovery experience. The whole team, too, is full of e-discovery specialists certified by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists, giving NearZero Discovery a common language that unites the team with its clients.
As Wessel and his team have worked with clients, they’ve seen an acute need for a bridge between legal and IT in litigation scenarios. He says organizations that haven’t faced litigation before risk playing things too “reactively.” His team wants to offer proactive support for when cases arise.
“In larger-scale litigations where there’s lots of data and where it goes into a real historical timeframe, that’s where we can play a strategic and necessary role,” Wessel says. “Because with so much data, the task, and the cost, can be overwhelming.”
NearZero Discovery is a registered trade name of REW Computing Inc., a Canadian, privately held corporation that has been providing e-Discovery support services since 2007 to corporations and clients in the legal services industry.
We provide both self-service and fully managed e-discovery services, using a versatile software platform. Our services supports all phases of discovery, including forensic and non-forensic collection and document review services.
For more details, contact us at [email protected].