Since both Equivio and Relativity sponsor the work of the eDisclosure Information Project, I am necessarily interested in reports of their big sales. I do not, however, write about every success on the part of those who fund what I do because they, as well as I, value my readership and know that we would soon drive it away if all that you found here was lists of buyers. That function is ably served by others, and I am spared having to decide, for example, whether this sale is worth reporting where that one was not, quite apart from considerations like having only a finite number of hours in a week.
Every so often, however, a law firm or other user makes a strategic purchase which serves in some way as a model which others ought to follow – not necessarily with the same suppliers, but as the product of a coherent plan to offer an integrated set of services to clients which reconciles quality with cost. There is a fiercely competitive market out there of software suppliers, providers of managed review, and consultants offering project management and other skills, and a decision to bring all that in house is not lightly made.
Reed Smith LLP does not just have an eDiscovery team, it has one with a snappy name thanks to the fortuitous conjunction of the initial letters of “Records and eDiscovery” to make the “Red Team”. The Red Team apparently has more than 50 lawyers dedicated to eDiscovery. Together Equivio’s new Zoom platform for eDiscovery analytics and predictive coding and kCura’s review platform Relativity give the firm an integrated solution. kCura’s press release is here and Equivio’s Press Release is here.
Equivio Zoom is new but the three components which it brings together, Equivio’s e-mail threads, near-duplicates and the Relevance predictive coding tool, are all established products. Zoom adds data import, early case assessment and search capabilities, as well as straightforward export functions. The integration into Zoom brings a single (and attractive) interface to the set of processes which together are aimed at reducing the number of documents requiring human review.
Relativity’s success is owed in part to its relationship with others, both as a partnership matter and in technical terms. There is already integration between Equivio and Relativity with the Equivio Tab in Relativity which brings e-mail threads and near-duplicate handling into Relativity. Reed Smith has already been using Relativity as a hosted platform and can continue to develop its workflows now that it has a more permanent stake in it.
Few firms have a team of 50 lawyers dedicated to eDiscovery. Other firms might reach different conclusions when they consider their strategy, both as to the broad choice between in-house and outsourced services (or a mixture of them) and as to the actual software to be used in either case. The key term here is “strategy”, which connotes something more sophisticated than dealing with each case in a different way at the whim of the partner in charge. That is not, incidentally, to condemn a strategy which chooses from a range of tools and techniques depending on the job.
Expect to see further examples of law firms and their clients bringing part at least of the eDiscovery function in house.