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Legal toolkit for storage systems

Ezine

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Passing the documents collected at various stages in the ediscovery process has traditionally been a manual effort involving the transfer of files and the creation of TIFF files. Some vendors provide integration with the leading litigation management tools used by law firms, such as those from CT Summation and Concordance from LexisNexis. Consultants Socha and Gelbmann have proposed an XML transfer protocol to smooth these handoffs and integration challenges. Called EDRM XML, the protocol will provide a standard XML schema to facilitate the movement of electronic information from one step of the ediscovery process to another. The standard will address both the underlying ediscovery materials (email messages and attachments, loose files, databases) and the meta data used in ediscovery processing and production. So far, a dozen tool vendors have signed up to support EDRM XML. If the standard takes hold, it should greatly facilitate the document handoff.

"EDRM XML has a lot of promise. There are so many vendors and so many ways to move data that it would be nice to have just one way [to do things]," says Brennan at Bryan Cave.

There probably is no single tool that will meet an organization's entire ediscovery needs. Almost all large companies have content management, email archiving and search tools that can do much of the job when used in conjunction with a policy-based retention

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management system. For example, Pinnacle Financial Corp. was looking for email archiving to better manage its Exchange email stores. "This was just before the revised FRCP [Federal Rules of Civil Procedure]," says Rick Chin, senior VP of information technology at the Orlando, FL-based firm. "We didn't have any litigation pending, but I knew litigation could pose a multimillion dollar risk."

After reviewing archiving tools from Symantec and Mimosa, Pinnacle opted for Mimosa because "it presented a clear interface," says Chin. Otherwise, the tools were similar in price and functionality. Now that Pinnacle Financial has installed Mimosa, the company has gotten its email archiving under control and implemented a retention policy. It hasn't faced any litigation yet but has tested the ediscovery capabilities with its legal department. Should the company be hit with a lawsuit, Chin is confident he has ediscovery covered.

That's the real reason why most companies should look at ediscovery tools. "It's not just about preparing for litigation. It should be about how your business performs," says Financial Engines' Todd. "Being able to quickly pull up contracts or records or customer data is good for the business." Having a retention policy, unifying the storage and management of data, and being able to search it fast can help the business every day. And should a lawsuit hit, you'll be prepared.

This was first published in May 2008

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