I referred in a recent article to a new service offered by Guidance Software to users of its EnCase eDiscovery software. It sounded sufficiently interesting for me to schedule a call with Timothy Bailey, Senior Director of Professional Services at Guidance Software, to find out more about it, and I spoke to him and to Patrick Burke, Assistant General Counsel at Guidance Software, last week.
What makes the story of general application, rather than merely a description of a specific service, is that it illustrates the gap which exists, almost inevitably, between those responsible for IT (“the lights which blink” as Debra Logan of Gartner says) and those responsible for legal and compliance matters. Software developers add value to their tools by building in extra functionality making use of the data and, whether or not this forms part of the purchasing decision, the existence of the additional functionality may not be known to those n the legal department who could benefit from it. This extends all the way along the software chain – many review tools have levels of functionality which lie unused because their value, or even their existence, is unknown to those who might benefit from them.
Guidance Software’s new Legal Hold and ECA Optimization Service is briefly described in this press release. Guidance Software has more than 300 organizations which use its EnCase eDiscovery software for in-house e-discovery. Since version 4, EnCase eDiscovery has combined an automated legal hold and ECA functionality with the primary collections function of EnCase eDiscovery.
The first phase is a one-day workshop with a member of Guidance Software’s Assistant General Counsel team qualified to talk about the legal context and best practices for both legal hold and in-house first-pass review using EnCase eDiscovery. They are also in a position to discuss with the legal team how they normally conduct their review, with the possibility that a better and more efficient way may result from use of the Legal Hold and ECA tools within in EnCase eDiscovery.
The upshot of the meeting with the Guidance AGC is a design requirements document. Using this, a technical consultant comes in later to help deploy and configure the legal hold and ECA tools, building e-mail templates, adding custodians and doing other things which leave the customer up and running and ready to go.
An additional service, not part of the basic level, is the conversion of legacy holds so that a company’s entire hold obligations are gathered in one place.
By coincidence, or perhaps not, Guidance Software has just reported a record number of new customers for its EnCase Enterprise platform in the second quarter of 2012. The press release is here. This is obviously good news for Guidance Software, but I think it is consistent also with a growing trend by corporations to take more control of their eDiscovery by bringing more and more of it in house.