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Legal and business issues IT must know when choosing an early case assessment tool

Synopsis Part 1: Legal and business issues IT must know when choosing an early case assessment tool

data discovery interview –  Gregory “Greg” Buckles, eDiscovery business process consultant, Reason-ed, LLC, (Part 1 of 2)

Gregory Buckles is an independent corporate consultant specializing in discovery technology and process solutions. He has 19 years experience in discovery and litigation including police forensics, law firm, vendor, corporate and software development. He is an active participant in the Sedona Conference and EDRM projects.

By Joshua Konkle writing for

Joshua Konkle: As an eDiscovery process consultant and forensic technologist, when you are working with early case assessment (ECA), applications what feature is regularly missed by technologists?

Greg Buckles: The primary feature that many technology tools are missing is an audit feature for the source data.  In eDiscovery and forensics we need to understand and have credible chain-of-custody, not just who gave us the data or what system it came from, but is the data the same.  Many of the existing early case assessment (ECA) appliances and tools don’t offer a checksum to validate data output is the same as the input.

Joshua Konkle: What are your thoughts on those same tools charging per gigabyte for use?

Greg Buckles: It is difficult in today’s legal discovery market to know how much data will be reduced or if you must review it, without first taking an early look at the information, custodians, etc.  Unfortunately, ECA vendors charge by the gigabyte, typically 100 gigabytes can cost as little as $50K.  Charging for the data, under the pre-tense the product will reduce the data is putting the cart-before-the-horse.  Most of my clients have a subset of custodians they need to review for legal purposes.  ECA products, which are those designed to work ahead of case budgets, would receive wide spread use if they were priced as pre-paid, predictable, depreciable technology to support legal risk assessment.

Joshua Konkle: In companies with multiple litigations and complex IT the argument is often made for soup-to-nuts approach, preservation to production what are your thoughts on such a system?

Greg Buckles: First let me say that information management is one of the most important pieces of the eDiscovery reference model.  Second, the soup-to-nuts approach may lack flexibility by design and could create inefficiency depending on the scale of a matter.  For example, a system that works for a small HR case, may not work for a shareholder lawsuit.  The approach may fail for the shareholder lawsuit because it is too prescriptive for far too many symptoms.  By prescriptive I mean the equivalent of taking one drug for each problem, headaches, nausea, pain, depression, etc.  Business will tire of each part and the whole solution will fail.  Think of soup-to-nuts as big medicine for businesses.  Companies are better off taking one pill and that pill is in-house “early case assessment (ECA) system.”

you would like to communicate with him directly, he can be reached at greg(at) or by calling Reason-eD, LLC at 1 713 530 3416. publishes interviews with legal professionals; click here for more eDiscovery interviews or sign up for the feed.


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