eDiscovery News: Linklaters launches global eDiscovery service + Active Navigation appoints Dean Gonsowski as CRO

Linklaters is gearing up to manage all aspects of the client disclosure process in-house with the launch of a new global eDiscovery service, which leverages Servient’s advanced eDiscovery platform in the cloud.

The magic circle firm says it will offer clients an end-to-end service from document ingestion through to production providing “substantial cost savings for clients as well as significant matter efficiencies.” Some of these efficiencies stem from the fact that the eDiscovery team has a deep involvement from the outset and an in-depth understanding of client requirements, bringing together legal expertise and technology to deliver the best value.

As well as high-speed processing capabilities and advanced search functionality, Servient now incorporates continuous active learning (CAL), which identifies documents that are most likely to be relevant as a review progresses, helping to prioritise and expedite matters. CAL is one of the most talked about innovations in technology assisted review and effectively creates a queue for review that is continuously reprioritised as the system processes more information.

Servient’s elastic processing technology also assigns the required capacity based on the firm’s workload, making it easier for law firms to scale depending on the size and volume of cases.

The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas with an additional office and data centre in Richmond, Virginia. It has regional offices in Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; and Pune, India, according to Bloomberg.

Commenting on the launch, Linklaters dispute resolution partner Ben Carroll said: “We are delighted with the capability that Servient is demonstrating and the benefits it’s delivering for our clients. Linklaters has always embraced new ideas and technologies that enable us to provide a best in class service and the launch of this service is a real embodiment of that aspiration.”

As the volume of data continues to increase, clients (and their procurement teams) are struggling to streamline the management of their eDiscovery process, with law firms and eDiscovery providers in many cases battling to own that relationship.

Carroll told us: “We have not seen that trend on our matters (as a generalisation), not least as we have not historically passed through eDiscovery provider costs to our clients with a mark-up, so it makes no difference from a cost perspective whether they contract directly or go through us. For many of our clients, they have historically gone through us as it is much easier from their perspective to leave the management of that relationship to us. The only exception are the small sub-set of clients who have so much litigation/regulatory work that it may make sense to have their own direct relationship with one provider which they then instruct all their law firms to us (this mainly applies to some banks).”

A recently-published 2018 corporate eDiscovery benchmarking report by Zapproved claims that the global eDiscovery market is projected to surpass $15bn in the next five years but finds that there is a large gap between corporate legal teams’ eDiscovery goals and the actual practices that would enable success because:

1. Organisations with ageing, on-premises eDiscovery software want to streamline and modernise processes but are struggling to procure modern software and implement
best practices.

2. Teams want to reduce costs but are still grappling with redundant, inefficient preservation processes and costly outsourced review.

3. A record number of data breaches have led legal and IT teams to double down on information security and privacy initiatives.

Interestingly the report found: “What is promising is that the need to modernise is not in question — organisations are looking to close the gap between where they are and where they know they need to be. The challenge is in overcoming budget, staffing, and technological acumen to accomplish it.”

Elsewhere, in a high profile hire for Virginia-headquartered eDiscovery vendor Active Navigation Inc, Dean Gonsowski has joined as chief revenue officer: Gonsowski was formerly vice president of strategy and industry marketing at eDiscovery software stalwart Relativity, where he built out the go-to-market efforts for their enterprise sector. As Active Navigation’s CRO, Gonsowski will lead the sales, marketing and customer success initiatives as the company aims to bolster its near triple-digit growth over recent years.

Gonsowski is a former litigator and general counsel and has worked at high growth software companies such as Clearwell/Veritas and Recommind/Opentext.  Gonsowski is also the founder and executive director of CTRL (the Coalition of Technology Resources for Lawyers).

“Active Navigation has a rare set of advantages – an exciting technology that has forged its way as an innovator in file analytics, marquee customers and an exceptionally talented team,” said Gonsowski.  “I look forward to helping the company take the next leap forward as GRC truly becomes a mission-critical business capability, due to the GDPR, New York cyber regulations and disclosure requirements following persistent data security breaches.”

See also:

New Mishcon Discover ediscovery initiative will make firm “more competitive than anyone else” says eDisclosure manager Richard Legge