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Alextronic Discovery
An Electronic Discovery Blog covering News, Articles
and Thoughts for the Legal and Corporate Community Author: Alexander H. Lubarsky, LL.M., Esq. - alubarsky@enterusa.com - Tel. (415) 533-4166 OR 800-375-4222 THIS BLAWG IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WEB SITES WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.ORG OR WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.COM


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pass this on to your Corporate IT Security Guru...  

I just read this hot-off-the-press article written by Southern California Attorney and E-Discovery Guru, John Patzakis. The article (printed in the February Edition of the ISSA Journal - www.issa.org) discusses the tangents and intersections between litigation support/GC and corporate security professionals.

In essence, Mr. Patzakis effectively argues (and indeeds proves up his theorem) that the trained corporate security professional can serve his or her employer by applying such IT/ corporate security professiona'al talents to the e-discovery (read "data harvesting" and/or "forensic analysis") processes that are becoming more and more staple among the rapidly changing litigation landscape.

How and why should the IT/ corporate security professional jump into the e-discovery trenches? This is what Patzakis has to say:


To better understand the advantageous role
information security departments can play in this
equation, it is important to understand the current
broken eDiscovery process and the staggering
costs associated with it. Unbeknownst to
many CISOs, eDiscovery expenses for large companies,
which tend to outsource the function, are
spiraling out of control. What should be fairly routine
computer evidence collection and processing
engagements can cost millions of dollars in consulting
fees for a single case. According to standard
price lists from top eDiscovery providers, a
company can expect to pay $11,000 to $15,000
for the processing of a single hard drive. Thus, a
relatively modest investigation involving 10 computers
will likely cost well over $100,000. In addition
to a substantially reduced bottom line, these
enormous costs force companies to prematurely
settle cases or otherwise compromise their litigation
strategy, such as by cutting corners that often
result in court penalties for noncompliance.
A key reason for these high costs involves the
traditional role of outside counsels who represent
the company and typically oversee and manage
the eDiscovery process on a per-case basis. These
law firms habitually rely on their own consultants
to handle the eDiscovery needs of the case at
hand, and both the law firm and their consultants
typically approach the issue as a case-specific litigation
support project. Thus, the focus is on
addressing the immediate case, and not on solving
the end client’s long-term problems by establishing
a systematic methodology.

Corporate IT and security professionals routinely address the long term solutions that should be set in place to make the enterprise more efficient and streamlined. That being said, becaue e-discovery is (or should be) a "repeatable" process, would it not make sense to empower these folks to lay the framework for a data harvest or data examination process? Who else, better than the corporate IT/security profesional has the technical knowledge in general combined with the specific knowledge and experience of the enterprise's network and systems topography? It simply makes sense from an operational as well as a cost perspective to empower these folks at the client's site.

Now all of you newly minted e-discovery attorneys reading this article, don't begin to tremble. Should the trend suggested by Patzakis take effect and flourish, your skill set would not be displaced but rather, to the contrary, become much more coveted. Both the law firm and its coroporate client will look to the e-discovery attorney as a bridge to cross the gap between the worlds of the litigator at the firm and the executive and the IT/ corporate security professional who supports him or her. This role (now assumed by costly consultants who know neither the firm nor the client nearly as intimately as the e-discovery counsel does) would not only prove to be a big money saver and money maker (constituting billable events each time e-discovery counsel works towards building said bridges) , but it will help the law firm strengthen its relationship with its client. A win-win all around.

So pass this on to your IT/ corporate security professional contact at your client site and ask them to take heed (and subscribe to the Alextronic Blawg in the meantime).

posted by Alexander | 5:34 PM

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