ONSITE3 Sets A New Benchmark For E-Discovery Processing

Sunday, April 1, 2007 - 01:00
Chris Jurkiewicz

Editor: Mr. Jurkiewicz, would you tell our readers something about your professional experience?

Jurkiewicz: My experience and education from the ground up has given me a vast perspective on the emerging field of E-Discovery. I have been with ONSITE3 for over seven years. I have an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems, and I came to ONSITE3 as an intern. When I first started, I was a one-man operation and worked with about 20 computers. Today, I oversee well over 30 employees for the Washington, DC market alone, along with the several hundred servers in support of this market. I have gradually become a key advisor for the Executive Team and routinely serve as our E-Discovery expert in meetings with clients and vendors. In that role, I have also traveled worldwide to oversee our international E-Discovery efforts and I have testified in front of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) as an expert witness on E-Discovery.

Editor: Please tell us about ONSITE3 and its services.

Jurkiewicz: When I joined ONSITE3, it was a pretty small operation. Over the past seven years we have worked hard and succeeded at staying well ahead of the industry growth curve. Initially, we provided mostly imaging services, but in time we developed our own processing and electronic discovery capabilities. Today, we offer a full line of forensics, electronic discovery, review and consulting services.

Editor: What does being the Director of Electronic Data Discovery entail?

Jurkiewicz: While in the past I was heavily involved in production, I have recently been able to transition out of day-to-day operations. I am still heavily engaged with our largest market, that of the DC area, and I handle a great many issues that arise in this market. But recently I have been focusing more on the development of our other locations: New York, where we have a very strong presence, and Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles. One of my principal responsibilities is to ensure that our consistency, efficiency and growth are maintained across all of our platforms and for all of our locations.

Editor: I understand you are in the process of introducing what you call the E3 platform, the Electronic Evidence Enterprise platform. For starters, what is the origin of this undertaking and what technology is it designed to replace?

Jurkiewicz: Its origin is very simple. We have always been a client-driven business, and we work closely with our clients to develop new technologies that meet their needs. This new platform is something we have been thinking about for some time. We launched its development about 11 months ago, and the effort has resulted in a very high quality product. The name E3 - Electronic Evidence Enterprise - represents our ability to take in data from a variety of sources, and not relying on off-the-shelf software for data processing. We can actually "hook" into other existing platforms and maximize our customization resources for our clients.

In terms of what this replaces, we had previously been using second generation software for four years. That software was very sturdy and provided us with excellent results. However, we needed to "take it to the next level" to meet ever increasing client needs. There was insufficient existing technology in the market available for this purpose, so we turned to our internal resources to develop the new platform. Our solid development and processing team created a very high-powered and high-performance platform for our elecronic discovery services.

Editor: Please take us through this offering. What will it be able to do for the user?

Jurkiewicz: One of our principal goals is to provide the customer with a high quality platform that delivers a faster turnaround than anything comparable on the market. Fast turnarounds, while also successfully retaining the high quality of our results, are just some of the ways in which we differentiate ourselves from the competition.

Our Enhanced Data Extraction feature is one of the most attractive attributes of the new platform. Most companies operating in a conventional mode go through the data and extract on an as-is basis. We have taken this up a notch: we extract the data as-is and then check the results to determine whether there are any files that did not extract, such as a PDF document with no text extracted. We can then "OCR the document on the fly," which means that we have the capacity to instantly extract data from an image without having to retype it. If the information still doesn't extract - say, there is a password-protected Excel document - we are also able to crack most passwords "on the fly." What we are able to do is capture the text behind the password in a different format and then output it.

Another important feature of this platform is File Type Recognition. We have utilized the files of the National Institute of Standards and Technology - which are now part of the public record - to determine whether any of our incoming data match any of the NIST files. If they do, we are able to exclude them immediately.

Custom Projects Templates is a feature for which there is a huge need in our industry. We have many ongoing projects, and the life of a project may go on for years. Changes occur all along the way, and I have been interested in capturing these changes and standardizing them in such a way that our system's output of data matches what the client requested. We have created a template in our software that captures all of the requisite information, including instructions, up front as well as on the back end for delivery. If the client wishes to make a change, we have a template that we can pull up and modify. This is a system that cuts down the potential for human error.

Another feature, Culling Flexibility, permits us to cull in multiple ways, from file type to what is called tape frictions, as well as multiple types of e-grouping.

User Level Management refers to the multiple stages of learning in the system. You don't want all users to have full access to the entire system, so it is sanctioned by level, permitting each user to do only those tasks they are permitted to do. As they pass a variety of in-house certifications we have established, they move up the ladder and take on an increasing level of responsibility.

The Hardware Upgrade feature refers to our changing over to the new blade server technology that enables data to travel up to ten times faster than previously across corporate networks. At the moment we are in the process of testing 40 blades, with more on order.

Editor: Whom are you targeting? Who should be using this platform?

Jurkiewicz: Law firms have always been excellent clients for us. More recently, we've begun to work with corporate clients, specifically the members of corporate legal departments and IT staff. The ideal situation for us is to have both in-house counsel and the IT staff working together in conjunction with our provision of services.

Editor: This is a very competitive area. What are some of the characteristics of this platform that differentiate it from other processing platforms in the marketplace today?

Jurkiewicz: Many of the features I have described already are key differentiators of this system. We offer multiple options for extracting information, and, as technology evolves, we are constantly enhancing all of our offerings. Our interaction with clients is also now worldwide, so foreign language and translation capabilities are being built into the system as well. While this is indeed a very competitive field, I think our current services provide a complete package, at least for the moment, that is unique in today's marketplace.

Editor: From a procedural perspective, what steps do you follow in processing client data?

Jurkiewicz: From intake to delivery, we take data very seriously. Our intake process is very detailed, and we have media acceptances built into the system. We have trained personnel to process this information and load it up into our secure network. Once the information is loaded, we are notified and begin putting it through the E3 Platform. In between the various stages involving construction and delivery of the data, and also once delivery occurs, we follow up with the client to ensure they are satisfied. If the client is fully satisfied, we then move on.

Editor: Would you likewise take us through the ONSITE3 Process for E-Discovery Processing?

Jurkiewicz: Our Process for E-Discovery Processing begins with maintaining the Chain of Custody. This is meant to enable us to acknowledge who is receiving the information at our end.

From there we move to Data Staging, which is the term we use to describe processing and loading the information up to our secure network. This step also requires recording what we have processed and loaded. One of the early issues we heard from our clients was regarding problems they had with their own clients' data. When we would open the data we received from our client, the number of records our client said they had received did not always match the actual number of records that their client had given them. We ensure that the files we receive are the same files they received and in the same order. We then relay that information back to the client.

From Data Staging we move into Data Filtering, in which we use key words, names, dates, file types, and the like, to pull out all the full text files and check for any files that were not produced. Files are processed three times by our proprietary software, and if any files have exceptions, then a trained team member makes the determination of how that file should be processed manually. If indicated, that person will convert the file to a TIFF format. Lately, the trend has been to take this step in a native format rather than TIFF - this offers more flexibility and increases our productivity.

At this point we are ready for Load Files and Production. Following the filtering of the client's set, we are in a position to produce the information. I usually recommend producing a sample set to enable the client to test-load the data into their system and determine whether it is in the anticipated form and works as expected. If there is any tweaking that needs to be done, I would rather do it on a smaller set to ensure it is correct, and then turn to the full set of data. Once this step has been accomplished to everyone's satisfaction, we are finished with the project.

Editor: Would you share with us something of the recognition that ONSITE3 has achieved recently?

Jurkiewicz: In the 2006 AMLAW 200 survey ONSITE3 was ranked as number one in litigation support. In the same year we were ranked in the Top Ten E-Discovery providers in the Socha-Gelbmann EDD Survey. Organizationally, we have achieved over 30 percent E-Discovery growth between 2005 and 2006. These "recognition points" provide us with true market feedback and validate the fact that we are working both hard and smart, and are not resting on our laurels. We are very pleased with these results, and we look forward to bringing bigger and better solutions and services to our clients in the future.

Please email the interviewee at cjurkiewicz@onss.com with questions about this interview.