My philosophy is once a client, always a client. Got what seemed to be a typical referral request from a counsel I had recently supported on a corporate client matter. The classic, “Who do you recommend for Relativity hosting?” quickly went down a rabbit hole of new generation data sources, foreign language docs and such that wrote off any of the new self-service providers/platforms. All of this would usually just narrow my list of hosting providers with a good track record processing and reviewing non-typical ESI. I have never taken referral fees, so I always recommend a formal RFP and give at least three providers to bid. Turns out that this was a criminal defense matter instead of traditional corporate litigation. That scenario radically changes the budget and workflow considerations.

Specifically, counsel is now hunting and seeking specific, limited ESI that supports defense assertions instead of having to produce everything that falls within relevance categories. So criminal defense (or prosecution discovery) is generally all about analytics run by a tiny team. Relativity has become the top review platform for complex civil litigation with mature, flexible features supported by pretty much every provider. But most of those features are not required for this scenario. The simplistic self-service cloud eDiscovery players (LogicKull, Everlaw, Disco, etc.) do not have a good track record with complex ESI and advanced analytic features (at least in the RFP’s/demos/customer matters that I have handled). From my perspective, they are still more suited to SMB matters where a solo attorney/paralegal has to triage a reasonable volume of normal email/docs.

It was hard for me to recommend the full cost of hosted Relativity for the given scenario requirements. Yes, Relativity will do everything needed for this scenario with the right provider. My instinct was to look for a more flexible solution that combined an ECA/triage platform with more advanced analytics. The issue there is that since Relativity acquired Content Analyst, the options for stand alone eDiscovery analytics have dwindled to Brainspace and…Brainspace.

That led to wonder what other non-eDiscovery analytics players have entered the market while I was nose down in engagements last year. All the other mature analytics solutions seem to be embedded in full platforms like Ringtail, H5, etc. that are generally overkill for investigations or criminal defense. I am hoping to hear from you peers about new startups or repurposed IG analytic engines that may be more suitable for non-litigation discovery.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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