As Vice President of eDiscovery for RDI (Research Data, Inc.), I frequently share social conversation about the state of the craft that is eDiscovery with senior executives of eDiscovery companies from around the country, most of them extremely large with a multi-national presence. There is a common thread running through most of our discourse: the constant struggle to manage larger and larger volumes of data with magical attorney review platforms. The search for the Holy Grail of algorithms to answer every eDiscovery challenge is always in the game plan. And many of these companies have adopted the bigger is better and stronger business development plan, merging with other large eDiscovery companies for more strength and power.
Sadly, many of these companies have only remembered a portion of what Charles Darwin said about the strong surviving. Darwin’s more poignant observation goes untended in these monolithic companies’ desire to grow, and grow, and grow. It is not the strongest of the species that survives. Nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
We have changed to adapt to a big data environment in ways that many eDiscovery companies have not. Rather than succumb to mountains of data, we seek out only that which is needed for the task – defensibly, efficiently, and effectively.
While many eDiscovery companies have taken the road to becoming bigger to manage big data, RDI has adapted to the changing data environment with an approach that is rather unique. It thrives within an environment that sees more and more emails and other ESI choking well known eDiscovery machines by, to paraphrase Robert Frost, taking the road less traveled. RDI focuses on eDiscovery not by collecting as much as possible and spending millions on developing “magical algorithms” which can work through all that data (99% of it not relevant in most cases), but in working with attorneys to collect as little as possible in defensibly managing discovery.
It seems the entire eDiscovery industry has abandoned the simple notion of exercising reasonable discretion at the outset of a case. RDI has not. We invest more work at the outset of a case which leads to less work with irrelevant emails and ESI later in the case. Our clients appreciate the approach and the significant savings of money.
RDI is not the “strongest” (i.e., biggest) of eDiscovery companies, but it is certainly the most adaptable! We have changed to adapt to a big data environment in ways that many eDiscovery companies have not. Rather than succumb to mountains of data, we seek out only that which is needed for the task – defensibly, efficiently, and effectively. And we help our clients stay focused on their case and what is needed to prevail rather than get lost in the designs of the latest algorithms. What allows us to work in this efficient fashion is our ability to collect potentially relevant documents and utilize our advanced analytics software while working with counsel in identifying the data that is most directly related to the case. Additionally, attorney time is focused on reviewing just the high value documents.
We have changed to adapt and control a legal environment overwhelmed with discovery obligations in working with ESI, as opposed to remaining a victim of this ever growing swamp of data which seems to expand exponentially each year. RDI’s approach to eDiscovery is synonymous with proportionality, and proportionality in the era of big eDiscovery is precisely what is needed and, of course, what the Rules contemplate.
About Author: Michael Yager
Michael Yager is an expert in eDiscovery, a published author, speaker and trainer on compliance with state and federal eDiscovery protocols. Michael has spent over 20 years in eDiscovery support. If technical knowledge of standards is what you need, Michael is your resource! Michael brings to RDI a vast knowledge of eDiscovery — the ins and outs of day-to-day issues with ingestion, culling, production and review. Michael is a graduate of The College of William and Mary. His experiences include serving for the Department of Defense, on the corporate staff of Bell Howell Corporation in Chicago, and in law firms.