I was not intending to go to the US in October. September included a trip to Hong Kong and a holiday. October had several UK engagements in it as well as a conference in Prague. The potential US events – kCura’s Relativity Fest and the EDI Leadership Summit – were just too far apart to sweep up both in one trip and, as one does when confronted by difficult choices, I had chosen to attend neither.
Then Cicayda signed up as a sponsor for the eDisclosure Information Project and announced that they were holding a conference (or un-conference as they called it) called RELEvent in Nashville on 7-8 October – the same days as Relativity Fest in Chicago. The apparent conflict became an opportunity to maximise the value of the flying time when kCura asked me to take part in its predictive coding panel at Relativity Fest and I decided to drop in also to Cicayda’s event. At the same time, Jon Resnick of Huron Legal mentioned in passing that Huron Legal’s senior management team was meeting in Chicago on 10 October; I said I’d look in. What had been an empty week suddenly became a rather busy one. My son William, who does my web site and videos for me, was free that week and off we went.
This article is a mixture of things – an account of the trip, summaries of what I talked about, and something about the very different players who were my hosts, with odd bits of travelogue thrown in. If that is not to your taste, I am sure there are some product brochures, case reports or court rules you could be reading instead. I have split it into three parts to maximise the possibility that you will read to the end.
A diverse selection of eDiscovery providers
As you may have gathered, the eDisclosure Information Project is sponsored by the companies whose logos appear on this page. They represent a broad selection of eDiscovery / eDisclosure players, with software and service offerings which overlap and compete. They snipe at each other from time to time, as competitors do, and I ride over their differences, keeping their secrets whilst promoting their competing products in a way which is consistent with my general theme that users – the corporate legal departments and law firms – ought to know about all the options without having their limited bandwidth clogged by mutual disparagement. Someone has to collect and disseminate their information neutrally, and that someone seems to be me.
The three on my visiting list are a diverse selection.
Huron Legal is a big consulting company, part of Huron Consulting Group. It provides advisory and business services to legal departments and law firms to enhance organizational effectiveness and reduce legal spend, and provides eDiscovery, document review and related services using a mixture of software from partner companies and tools developed in-house.
kCura has grown in an very short time from being a start-up to being one the most ubiquitous eDiscovery software providers in the world, offering processing, analytics and review tools. It has nothing to prove beyond its ability to remain as responsive to its clients as a big player as it was when it was small – something it manages very well.
Cicayda is the new challenger, not just to any one rival but to the whole market, with its pastel colours, eDiscovery products with unconventional names like drone for production analysis and fermata for legal hold, and a stylish and effective approach to marketing (I wrote about all that here). Its distinguishing feature, or one of them, is a published menu of prices promising savings of up to 50%. It snaps at the heels of more established players, mocking their offerings with tweets like those on the right. The rivals sneer back, in the manner of any established player viewing the arrival of an upstart challenger.
I have coped with worse than that in my time as the bringer of the balanced view, and am perfectly happy running with hare and hounds to the benefit, I hope, all of them.
In the next part of this article, I report on our visit to Nashville, on the hunt for decent coffee, on the views of and from the Pedestrian Bridge and, not least, on Cicayda’s RELEvent un-conference.