I mentioned in a recent post that membership of Guidance Software’s Strategic Advisory Board brought the pleasure of seeing developments work through from concept to production to adoption. One of the most exciting of these was Guidance’s EnCase Portable. The subject comes up now because Sean Doherty in Legal Technology News wrote an article headed Compare and Contrast: eDiscovery Self-Collection Tools which, as well as mentioning some of the players, including AccessData, Guidance Software and Pinpoint Labs, gives a good summary of the value of tools like this and an explanation of when and how they are useful.
Unlike Sean Doherty, I am not in a position to do a “compare and contrast” piece on these products. I do, however, know two of the companies well because Guidance and AccessData are sponsors of the eDisclosure Information Project. I have suggested before that these tools have a place not merely in the hands of professional collections experts but within companies and law firms. Not every collection warrants the attendance of an external expert: an HR department may think it necessary urgently to collect data from an employee’s laptop; a lawyer may be interviewing someone whose potentially relevant laptop is right there in front of them.
The names of these products are pleasingly apt – Guidance Software’s EnCase Portable and AccessData’s AD Triage neatly summarise their functions in their names. It would not take much for a company or firm to compare these leading products and to equip someone with the skills to use it
They have another benefit as well. Small and inexpensive they may be, but they offer a convenient and accessible way of illustrating to lawyers and others what kinds of information can be found on and taken off a computer. This can be an eye-opening experience for lawyers who might otherwise assume that information of this kind is lost or otherwise unavailable. Looked at from one point of view, this is positive skill to have; looked at more negatively, the failure to realise that potentially crucial evidence can be tracked is potentially negligent when mainstream tools of this high capability are available at low cost.