Civil Justice Reform - Legal Service Providers Reducing The Time And Cost Of E-File Maintenance

Thursday, December 1, 2005 - 01:00
Debra Rozier

Editor: Please tell our readers about your background.

Rozier: Before joining On Site, I was the litigation support manager at a mid-size law firm, Miller & Chevalier Chartered, in DC, where I was responsible for managing all aspects of law technology. Some of my major accomplishments were the development of an in-house mock trial courtroom and the construction of an in-house imaging center. I also successfully managed and trained attorneys, paralegals and IT staff to present an integrated computerized courtroom system at trial.

Before that, I was a legal technical administrator at Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, FL, responsible for coordinating large document production teams in connection with significant corporate litigation, government investigations and subpoenas. I also provided pre-trial and trial support to in-house and outside counsel and managed a document-imaging center. Some of my major accomplishments while at Lockheed Martin included conducting an independent internal investigation that led to the successful outcome of a case and managing an integrated computerized courtroom system at trial.

Editor: What attracted you to On Site?

Rozier: At the time I joined On Site, my career was at a point where working for an e-discovery service provider would give me a well-balanced approach to litigation support technology. I wanted to be able to support many clients, not just the firm or corporation I was working with. What attracted me to On Site was the depth of talent and technology they own to effectively provide outstanding service to their clients. While at Miller & Chevalier, On Site was my chosen provider and delivered desirable results on a consistent basis. I wanted to work for a winning team.

Editor: What is your role at On Site?

Rozier: I joined the On Site team in March 2003 and currently serve as the director of national accounts & EView Online. I am responsible for the development and maintenance of the national accounts program that provides high level technical and project management assistance in all markets. Most notably, I am also responsible for On Site's ASP web hosting infrastructure and development at ONSS. As a member of the innovative technology committee, I work closely with our software development team in designing, developing, and integrating internal tools used daily by developers and managers for automated data management. This improvement significantly reduces the man-hours required to support simple and robust file maintenance, thereby increasing productivity.

Editor: Please tell our readers about On Site's web repository.

Rozier: On Site's web repository is called EView Online. Powered by iConectNXT and Oracle, it is a highly scalable tool built to organize volumes of electronic discovery material in response to an investigation or lawsuit. If you're working on a big case and your legal team is spread across multiple locations, EView Online provides secure uninterrupted access to all your electronic and document discovery information - including email, native files and images. Our repository offers a collaborative working environment that enables your team to conduct an effective online document review regardless of geographical barriers. You can quickly tag, folder, annotate documents, and our "Review and Classify" feature enables you to quickly cull and organize email, native files, and scanned documents - and instantly report review progress.

EView Online has a dedicated support staff that will provide you with a consultative approach on setting up your case. These seasoned professionals are available 24 hours, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Our team manages and supports the repository, which can hold tens of millions of documents, and we can help you categorize case materials to simplify future retrieval. We will train your team members how to use the database, if needed, so you can get right to work.

Editor: How can a web repository help your clients to reduce litigation costs?

Rozier: There are several advantages in using a web repository where our clients will see a substantial cost savings. Instead of clients reviewing mounds of paper, an online solution can provide a fully searchable database of those same documents. Clients can then cull the material to only review what is relevant. They can quickly perform keyword searches or perform date restrictions to narrow the scope of their document review. Documents can be viewed first in native file format, then only produce documents in tiff format that are relevant. This will drastically reduce the upfront cost because you do not have to tiff the entire collection. Clients have the ability to quickly folder documents and categorize relevant information for easy retrieval later. Clients' accessibility to those documents will greatly increase efficiency because multiple reviewers can look at the same document, and that document can be viewed from anywhere, at anytime, around the world. Lastly, the storage of those documents or paper will decrease at the client site, because as an ASP provider, our infrastructure allows us to scale up quickly to handle any surprise that will come up in the investigation.

Examples of specific key situations where an online solution will benefit our clients include:

  • When clients need to share data and images with multiple parties around the world.

  • When clients do not have the necessary software to view images and search through a database.

  • When clients do not have internal expertise to manage large-scale document productions.

  • Cases that require independent document control. Third party neutral expert/vendor.

  • Host production databases. Instead of producing CDs of images and load files to the opposing side, clients can host all production material online in a secure database. This has proved to be a time saver.

  • Clients can host all documents in native or original format first; review for responsiveness; then convert to image to produce to opposing counsel. This has proved to be an upfront cost saver allowing clients to only tiff what is relevant.

  • When clients do not have the storage space to host large amounts of data in-house. EView Online has the capacity to scale up quickly.

  • On Site E-Discovery's Suite of services - forensics to online hosting.
  • Editor: What security features are essential for securing the integrity, authenticity and reliability of stored data in a web repository?

    Rozier: EView Online's goal is to ensure that all of our equipment, including applications and data, comply with the most robust security policies. We are noticing certain trends within the industry where security is in the forefront of the online review experience. It is not simply making sure outsiders do not gain access to your documents, but these databases are being shared with co-counsel and opposing counsel in a multi-party environment. It is not just about locking down read/write privileges anymore. The need to lock down all functionality for certain users is becoming more of a priority.

    One trend is - instead of producing a CD with tiff images to the opposing counsel, who may not have the adequate software to view the material - agreeing to post the production online. This will ensure they are getting their documents in a timely manner, and it already appears in a searchable database. This reduces the time it takes to produce the material and provides an environment that is quickly accessible to begin work.

    Another trend we are noticing is where a firm and their co-counsel share one case online, but each firm wants to manage their own work product. In this environment, each party shares the database and images, but does not disclose how each party is reviewing or editing the documents. Security plays a big role, because each party needs to have access to his own editable database fields, and categorizing of documents. They need an online repository that is nimble enough to handle restrictive access rights down to each specific user whether they are locking down database fields, printing, foldering, or creating annotations.

    All of EView Online servers reside in On Site's restricted, electronically accessed, data center located in Alexandria, VA. This data center includes a state-of-the-art server room with over 800 sq. ft. of raised floors and terabytes of high-speed storage. The facility is monitored by 24X7X365 video camera coverage. The images and data for the project reside on a secure, password-protected server in a dedicated, locked down NTFS directory. Our servers are protected from external interference by an external router that is attached to a Symantec Enterprise firewall protecting our enterprise network.

    Editor: How do you help your clients to save costs by targeting their fields of search?

    Rozier: The traditional approach to cull down the document population for review purposes is for the client to provide On Site with a descriptive set of search words, often augmented by dates, sender/recipient/custodian information and other criteria. The search criteria are then run against the data during the electronic document processing and extraction phase, prior to reaching EView Online. This greatly reduces the amount of data clients review online.

    On occasion, our clients ask that EView assist with further searching and culling after the material has been posted. Our process for handling this type of request is a consultative approach. EView analyzes the terms and assists clients in determining which approach works best for them and their case, an offensive or defensive approach. An offensive approach will return more data. A defensive approach will return less data.

    EView will perform a sampling of the key terms and determine which terms are yielding which hits and refine the terms by including search operators. Search operators are used for the purpose of refining over-inclusive searches and broadening under-inclusive searches. To assist further, we will provide our clients with a list of Boolean expressions and search operators widely used to format the search terms to retrieve maximum desired results.