Integrating In-House E-Discovery Management with Externally Hosted Review

Created on March 14, 2012

Editor's note: Last month, Exterro announced a partnership with Catalyst to streamline client management of all phases of e-discovery. I had the opportunity to interview Kevin Cahill, manager of alliances and channel development at Catalyst, and Jim FitzGerald, director of product marketing from Exterro, about the partnership and integration of Exterro Fusion® with Catalyst's hosted review platform. Following is an excerpt from our discussion:

BARTHOLOMEW: Why have Catalyst and Exterro partnered?

KEVIN CAHILL: Catalyst and Exterro decided to pursue this integration in response to increased market demand for a more comprehensive, integrated array of applications to handle the full e-discovery process. Catalyst covers processing, search, analytics, review, production and trial preparation; while Exterro delivers the workflows and project management capabilities required for defensibly and cost-effectively driving the process. The integration enables legal and IT teams to locate, collect, process, analyze, review and produce documents more efficiently, while dramatically reducing the likelihood of errors or delays.

JAMES FITZGERALD: Exterro's enterprise clients are seeking much needed control, greater efficiencies and increased flexibility for defensibly and cost-effectively responding to e-discovery requests. Integrating the in-house phases of e-discovery powered by Exterro Fusion with Catalyst's cloud-based review and analysis gives clients a robust solution for handling the many complexities that comprise e-discovery projects.

BARTHOLOMEW: A lot of corporations are bringing ECA, collection, and initial review in house. How does externally hosted review fit in with that?

KEVIN CAHILL: An increasing number of the clients that we see in the market are blending their approaches – bringing solutions in house to manage information in its native environment and then using external providers to manage complex review requirements. In many cases, corporate IT and in-house counsel are comfortable with an approach that blends technologies and workflows they know well (e.g., storage, policy, management) with technologies and workflows in which they may have less experience (or bandwidth) in managing, such as ECA, privilege review and production requirements.

JAMES FITZGERALD: Many corporations are now choosing platforms based on the features offered (onsite or hosted), potential cost savings, and the extent to which they can reduce risk and increase defensibility. As corporations move more of their operations to the cloud, the internal vs. external line is becoming less significant.

BARTHOLOMEW: What are some of the circumstances that prompt organizations to opt for externally hosted review?

KEVIN CAHILL: Externally hosted review offers corporations far greater speed for searching and reviewing large document sets than a local appliance. A grid-based architecture, like the Catalyst hosted service, allows clients to scale up or down to manage any sized project. They never have to worry about having too few or too many computing resources. These services are available on demand and do not require any new hardware or ongoing IT costs.

The speed, scalability, ease of use and ease of access are what first attract many corporations to externally hosted review. The ability to maintain a central repository of litigation documents and to standardize workflows and hosting sites across cases and counsel is another attractive benefit.

JAMES FITZGERALD: Our corporate clients seem to prefer externally hosted review for more complex matters, particularly those that might involve multiple jurisdictions, law firms and respondents. Having a common repository they can all refer to definitely makes things easier.

BARTHOLOMEW: What factors should an organization consider when deciding whether to opt for externally hosted review?

KEVIN CAHILL: Organizations looking to define an ongoing model for litigation response and externally hosted review need to evaluate a number of factors:

  • Nature of their matters
  • Experience and comfort level
  • Cost
  • Time necessary to respond

Different litigation matters will blend requirements from all of these areas, and different cases will pose different challenges. Volume of data is always a consideration, however large data volumes may be very straightforward, while some smaller document sets my pose unique technical challenges, such as production formats.

JAMES FITZGERALD: Another factor organizations need to consider is resource contention. Many of our clients have the in-house expertise on review and production; however, their legal teams might be tied up on other urgent projects. Additionally, the frequency of major review projects tends to be sporadic, so the ability to quickly assign resources to manage these larger projects can be problematic. Having a trusted partner who has these skills and tools on tap allows organizations to focus their resources on their primary, day-to-day responsibilities.

BARTHOLOMEW: Do you have some examples of industries or corporations that make use of externally hosted review?

KEVIN CAHILL: Our clients include corporations in virtually every major industry – technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, you name it. We also host a number of matters for the U.S. government. Because we are known for strong multi-language capabilities, many of our clients are multinational corporations or are involved in cross-border cases, such as ITC disputes or FCPA investigations. Externally hosted review is ideal for cases in which the litigation and review teams are spread across multiple offices or even multiple countries.

JAMES FITZGERALD: I agree with Kevin on both the vertical industries and the type of cases we see externally hosted review most heavily utilized. Many intellectual property disputes in particular seem to gravitate toward that direction.

BARTHOLOMEW: How long does it take to set up an externally hosted review for a new matter, including data loads?

KEVIN CAHILL: Typically, once an organization decides to use an outside provider, a new matter can be made available for review within 24 to 48 hours. Many corporations manage their outside counsel and reviewers aggressively, requiring them to use pre-configured site templates and review workflows. For corporations that use site templates, the time to launch is reduced significantly. Additionally, if the corporation already hosts litigation documents with us in a central repository, we can prepopulate a new site with data from key custodians.

JAMES FITZGERALD: Exterro provides a pre-established workflow to guide e-discovery teams through the steps required for loading data collected and culled in the Exterro Fusion platform into a Catalyst site. This integration includes ongoing reporting to track the review workflows.

BARTHOLOMEW: Is it hard for organizations to coordinate external review and production activities with internal efforts?

KEVIN CAHILL: Clients often ask us whether it is difficult to integrate internal and external efforts for document review. In short, it's made easier if they can define their processes, demonstrate adherence to those processes and have a healthy relationship with outside counsel. Law firms and litigators often have excellent review frameworks, but the crucial framework is the one coming from the end client.

JAMES FITZGERALD: Consistency is a major priority for ensuring alignment of internal and external efforts. Exterro Fusion is a very matter-centric system designed to ensure consistency in matter naming and numbering across the legal ecosystem. When Exterro integrates with other e-discovery applications and services, such as Catalyst, matters are tagged with those same naming conventions. This makes it easier to report accurately and show at a glance all steps taken and current activity status.

To learn more about the increased defensibility and improved e-discovery processes achieved through the Exterro-Catalyst partnership, click here.