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Ediscovery
If you haven't encountered the acronym ESI (electronically stored information) yet, you will--especially if your company is slapped with litigation. ESI has been elevated to the same level of importance as traditional paper documents in litigation, according to the latest FRCP. Most state rules will soon conform to the new FRCP.

Ediscovery is the process of sifting through ESI in search of smoking guns. As soon as litigation has been filed or even anticipated, organizations must preserve, protect and make accessible all data associated with the litigation. "The changes in FRCP are driving interest in ediscovery," says George Socha Jr., founder of Socha Consulting LLC, St. Paul, MN. Beyond search, ediscovery tools and services also address related processes like legal hold management, which is central to preserving ESI for litigation; retention management; case management; workflow; and document management, which are all part of the litigation process.

Socha publishes an annual survey on ediscovery and tracks the vendors in the market. "At last count, there were at least 600 organizations offering ediscovery services or products," says Socha. He tallied more than 800 recently, but a number of them disappear each year.

Not surprisingly, Socha's list of top ediscovery vendors has a legal industry orientation and includes companies

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like Guidance Software Inc., Kroll Ontrack Inc. and Zantaz Inc. (recently acquired by Autonomy Corp.). Other ediscovery tool vendors, such as Index Engines Inc. and Kazeon Systems Inc., may be more familiar to IT folks, but don't even appear among Socha's Top 20.

This was first published in December 2007

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