E-Discovery Software Providers Link Up, Change Pricing Model

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of a series examining the ways in which firms are managing e-discovery work and whether there is profit to be had in such endeavors.

When it comes to e-discovery software, manufacturers need to serve multiple masters in multiple ways.

As corporations look to handle more of the e-discovery process in-house, they are looking for one software that can handle everything from collections to production, software providers said.

But on the law firm side of the spectrum, multiple software platforms are being used within one firm — and they all have to be able to "talk" to one another. Even if a law firm uses only one platform, chances are opposing counsel uses another and that attorney needs to be able to read what she is being sent.

About 10 years ago, many e-discovery software solutions were written directly by the service provider or consulting company, according to Nick Robertson, head of sales and marketing at kCura, known for its software platform Relativity. For the past five or so years, customers were looking for more "shrink-wrapped" software solutions. Now, clients are demanding those off-the-shelf products talk to one another, Robertson said.

Robertson likened the process to using Google's products for spam filtering while operating on Microsoft's email platform.

In the year or so since AccessData purchased e-discovery platform Summation, the company has looked to expand Summation's capabilities beyond its traditional use by a number of law firms as one of the first document review platforms to include early case assessment functionality on the front end and broader review capabilities toward the end stage of the e-discovery spectrum.

As part of the upgraded technology, Director of Legal Marketing Caitlin Murphy said, AccessData has created its own export software that includes a drop-down box of seven different competitors' file types to make it easier for firms and corporations to share data.

Where the Clients Are

Craig Carpenter, vice president of marketing at Axcelerate software manufacturer Recommind, said the company has increasingly worked with corporate legal departments and that segment group has now outpaced the law firms the company services.

On the law firm front, the question comes down to whether the firms want the technology, which is known for its predictive coding capabilities among other functionalities, in-house or hosted on a cloud. Increasingly, he said, firms are moving to the cloud.

"In the last year or two, big law firms seem to find themselves at a fork in the road," Carpenter said.

They are either doubling down on the technology and people they have invested in to handle the work in-house, or they are outsourcing to managed services providers that are using the various software available, he said.

The reason many firms are outsourcing, Carpenter said, is to avoid chasing the better mousetrap when it comes to upgrades in technology and reduce the headcount within their firms.

"There's an increasing number of firms that have said, 'We'll just work with strategic partners on the outside,'" Carpenter said.

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