Using Software to Sift Digital Records

Published on November 23, 2010
by Nathan Koppel

Companies in litigation pay lawyers handsome sums to pore over their vast archives of emails, documents and other electronic records. The goal of this sleuthing is to identify which records contain information relevant to a lawsuit.

The process, termed electronic discovery, has grown into one of the costliest, and most nettlesome, aspects of litigation. Large companies expect to spend about $1.3 billion, or 7.1 percent of their litigation spending, on it this year, according to BTI Consulting Group Inc. That is up from 5.2 percent five years ago, said BTI, which surveys lawyers at the 1000 biggest companies.

“In the old days, someone might keep notes on a piece of paper and then throw it away,” said Richard Baer, general counsel of Qwest Communications International Inc. “Now, data is captured, so there is a lot more information to go through.”

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