E-discovery company Relativity is today announcing new pricing and licensing options for its cloud-based RelativityOne product, reducing data fees by up to 50 percent, introducing a more flexible billing model for all RelativityOne customers, and creating a special licensing option for e-discovery service providers at a lower wholesale rate.

Today’s announcement encompasses five changes to RelativityOne’s pricing and licensing. At a media briefing last week, Nick Robertson, chief operating officer at Relativity, outlined the changes.

  • Reduced data fees. Relativity will lower the overall data fees for RelativityOne by up to 50 percent. Video and rich media data will also be billed at a reduced rate of 50 percent of normal data fees. In addition, Relativity will roll out flexible data storage models that provide prices that it says will be more commensurate with the value users get from that data. Data used for early case assessment, or repositories where data is reused across multiple matters, will be charged at 33 percent the cost of active data, while archived case data in cold storage will be charged at 25 percent. Relativity says these pricing changes are being made to eliminate the cost barriers for organizations that want to move to SaaS.
  • New “RelativityOne User.” Until now, a customer could not purchase RelativityOne separate from Relativity. Their license gave them access to both the on-premises version and the SaaS version. Now, Relativity is introducing a new customer category of RelativityOne user, for customers who want to work exclusively in the SaaS product. These customers will have unlimited access to all RelativityOne features at a cost up to 60 percent lower than current user rates.
  • Unlimited analytics. RelativityOne users now get unlimited access to analytics, including email threading and active learning, at no added cost. As new analytics tools are developed for RelativityOne, customers will be able to use them at no extra cost.
  • More flexible subscriptions. Relativity is introducing a consumption-based subscription in addition to the traditional pre-commit approach. Under this subscription, users and data will be evaluated each month and pricing adjusted accordingly. Customers can sign on for this subscription as either a one- or three-year contract, with the longer contract offering more advantageous rates.
  • Provider licensing. Relativity is introducing a discounted, partner-specific license on top of the professional license it currently offers. This will be available both to solution providers and to law firms that offer e-discovery services as a business. The license gives providers the ability to offer RelativityOne tenants for managed services arrangements and to join the RelativityOne partner program for co-marketing opportunities and certifications.

Relativity introduced its cloud-based RelativityOne to the market in 2017, running on the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform. It is now the fastest-growing product in the company’s history, it says, having grown 420 percent in the last 12 months and with over 2PB of data under management.

But, as I’ve noted before, some of its channel partners were dismayed by the news, since many of them hosted on-premises installations of Relativity.

The new licensing for partners appears to be clearly aimed at assuaging some of these concerns. “The partner community remains the backbone of Relativity,” said a statement from the company announcing the changes.

[Editor’s note: In a guest post here in August, e-discovery consultants Tom O’Connor, director of the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center, and Don Swanson, president of Five Star Legal, launched the Microsoft Office 365 eDiscovery Challenge, a survey to determine whether Office 365’s e-discovery capabilities are up to the task of handling an e-discovery matter on a limited budget. In a November post, they presented the raw results. Today, they offer their summary and analysis of  the survey results. The post is written by Tom and Don.]

By Tom O’Connor and Don Swanson

In August 2018, Don Swanson, president of Five Star Legal, and Tom O’Connor, director of the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center, launched the Microsoft Office 365 eDiscovery Challenge, a survey to determine whether Office 365’s e-discovery capabilities are up to the task of handling an eDiscovery matter on a limited budget.

The survey was conducted over seven weeks from August 15 to October 15, 2018, using both an online SurveyMonkey tool and telephone interviews. We received a total of 75 survey responses from corporations, government agencies and law firms, with the breakdown of respondents being predominantly from corporate legal.

The survey is a follow-up to earlier works, first released ten years ago in 2009 by Craig D. Ball (EDna: Still Cheap and Challenged) and Tom O’Connor (To Edna and Beyond: The Ernie Challenge ), that presented hypothetical small and “tweener” sized cases and sought input about eDiscovery on a limited budget. Respondents to those challenges offered technology and methodology solutions designed to handle these cases on a restricted budget.

Raw data from the survey was first published on the Law Sites blog in November 2018. Office 365 implementations are growing rapidly and the Microsoft eDiscovery tools are both helpful and needed as law firms, corporations and government agencies are changing the way they manage eDiscovery activities.  Here is our summary of the survey findings.

Microsoft Office 365 is Growing

Corporate and government legal departments are moving from on-premises, company-managed email servers to the cloud-based, Microsoft subscription offering. An overwhelming 93% of survey respondents said their organizations were either already on or moving to Office 365, while just 7% reported no plans to move to the Microsoft cloud-based subscription service.

Microsoft eDiscovery Receives Positive Initial Reaction

As Doug Austin noted in his popular blog, first reactions to Microsoft offering eDiscovery features were positive. Two-thirds of respondents stated Office 365’s eDiscovery features were somewhat or very positive and promising. The eDiscovery features are widely known. Only 13% were unaware that Office 365 included eDiscovery functionality.

E3 Office 365 Subscription Is Most Common

Microsoft Office 365 is offered at several subscription levels, and the E3/G3 is most commonly reported. The E3 subscription is the commercial enterprise service while the G3 is the government offering. The E3\G3 includes many eDiscovery features, but does not include the advanced capabilities contained within E5/G5.

Microsoft eDiscovery Capabilities Focused on Pre-Processing Activities

The survey respondents focused on the identification, preservation and collection capabilities within Office 365.

The survey results suggest that Microsoft eDiscovery is not currently an end-to-end solution. Some key statistics include: a) 40% of respondents had never used Office 365 eDiscovery, b) only a small number (<25%) felt that processing or review could performed within Office 365, and c) less than 1 in 7 reported performing eDiscovery analysis in Office 365. Perhaps this isn’t surprising since the ILTA 2016 Litigation and Practice Support Technology Survey reported zero instances of Office 365 being used for processing, early case assessment, or discovery review.

On a more positive note for the Microsoft eDiscovery team in Redmond, the Microsoft Office 365 eDiscovery survey respondents reported that their organizations had performed identification (41%), preservation (46%) and collection (41%) within Office 365. These “left-side” EDRM activities are the clear entry points for Microsoft eDiscovery. As the Microsoft eDiscovery offering matures, expect to see more corporate clients performing early case assessment, processing and review activities “in-place” within the Microsoft cloud environment.

Microsoft Office 365’s eDiscovery Features are Helpful and Needed

A staggering 82% of survey respondents acknowledged they “probably” or “definitely” need Office 365 Microsoft eDiscovery tools.  Just 2% answered they did not need these features.

These findings all seem in line with other survey findings such as the ILTA survey mentioned. The 2018 Exterro In-House Legal Benchmarking Report found that companies were preserving more data, with email (90%) and Microsoft Office files (89%) leading the way. Of those, 26% were self-preserving all matters thru custodians, with 26% saying they did so in at least 75% of their matters and another 21% did it in 50% or more of their matters. Of the other 50%, the majority (77%) were giving it to IT to handle. Which method did they most prefer? Twenty-eight percent said self-preservation and 26% said preservation by locking documents in place through an archive system or Office 365.

In another interesting survey result, the 2018  Norton Rose Fulbright Litigation Trends Annual Survey  found that while 76% of corporate counsel survey respondents were adopting data repositories and 72% were implementing document preservation tools, only 54% were using TAR. The 2018 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report found that only 12% were using predictive coding to process or review e-discovery materials. Interestingly, 80% used keyword searching, but that’s another story. The ABA survey found that 73% of respondents used TAR for culling data down at the front end, 28% of respondents wanted a “simple” review tool and 25% wanted an all-in-one program. These needs could be met by the Office 365 environment.

Conclusion

Our main takeaway from this survey is that Microsoft Office 365 presents a clear solution to the requests of organizations of all sizes and types regarding how they handle eDiscovery. Those seem to be best encapsulated in the words of FRCP 1, “ …just, speedy and inexpensive,” with the added factor of “all under one roof.” Microsoft Office 365 eDiscovery is well underway to meeting that need.

It seemed like it would be tough to top 2018, which was a banner year for investments in legal technology, with the total hitting $1 billion. But then, two weeks ago, came  news of a $200 million strategic investment in Houston-based Onit, and now comes news of another major investment in a legal technology company_ $83 million in DISCO, an e-discovery company headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Today’s announcement brings the total amount raised by DISCO to $135 million. In a statement, the company said:

This investment reflects the market’s consolidation behind DISCO as the leading cloud ediscovery platform, and the growing customer consensus that cloud ediscovery will replace legacy ediscovery services vendors and software providers.

DISCO says the total raise of $135 million is more than has been raised by any other enterprise legal technology company. Whether or not that is true depends on how you interpret the investment. For example, the $200 million investment in Onit is certainly greater in dollars, but was characterized as a “strategic investment,” which is generally understood as more of a partnership between two companies that could eventually lead to an acquisition.

“From our point of view, [the Onit investment] is very different from the venture round we announced today,” Laura Wooster, DISCO’s public relations representative, told my by email. “As indicated in the press release, Onit “formed a partnership” with K-1 Investment Management, which in our view is similar to an acquisition. Strategic investments and partnerships are quite different than funding rounds. DISCO’s funding (in this round and all previous) allow us to remain independent.”

The investment was led by Georgian Partners, a Toronto-based venture-capital firm with expertise in applied artificial intelligence. Existing investors Bessemer Venture PartnersLiveOak Venture PartnersThe Stephens Group, and venture-debt provider Comerica all participated in the round. Tyson Baber, a partner at Georgian Partners, joined DISCO’s board of directors.

DISCO said that it will use the money to rapidly scale up its U.S. operations and to build new products “that transform other areas of legal practice. It will also aggressively pursue international growth. Last October, DISCO opened a London office and plans to establish offices in Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America over the next several years.

“DISCO’s mission is to create technology to modernize the practice of law,” said DISCO founder and CEO Kiwi Camara, in a statement released by the company. “Great legal technology helps great lawyers and legal teams deliver better legal outcomes for their clients. We do this in ediscovery today; over time, we will do this in all areas of legal practice.”

Bloomberg Law today is officially announcing the addition to its research platform of the E-Discovery Practice Center, a curated collection of a range of court opinions, tools, sample forms, news and expert guidance related to both federal and state e-discovery practice. The practice center is available to all Bloomberg Law subscribers at no additional cost.

Bloomberg says it is the only legal research platform to have a resource of this kind devoted to e-discovery. Bloomberg “soft launched” the practice center for some customers at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries, but today is formally announcing its availability to all customers.

The practice center’s main page includes federal and state court opinions related to e-discovery, federal and state rules and laws related to e-discovery, news and law reports, and BNA’s E-Discovery Portfolio series, which provides an entry point to resources such as practice guides, books and treatises, and law reviews, as well as specific guidance on such issues as understanding and preventing spoliation. E-discovery rules for all states are included.

Another section of the practice center provides materials grouped by stage of e-discovery, such as preservation, production and technology-assisted review. Here you can find resources such as a checklist for preparing for a Rule 26 meeting and a guide to preparing a legal hold notice, as well as sample forms for legal holds.

A news section includes the text of the BNA publication Digital Discovery & e-Evidence, as well as law firm alerts, news headlines, and various other sources of news and analysis.

Other sections focus on key issues related to e-discovery, such as cross-border data transfers, government and internal investigations, and data and privacy security.

 

I’ve published a couple of posts so far on the recently released Legal Technology Survey Report from the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center — one post about cloud computing and another about mobile apps and devices.

Now I’ve gone through the survey to find what it reveals about trends in e-discovery. I’ve published that post at the Catalyst E-Discovery Search Blog: Latest ABA Technology Survey Provides Insights on E-Discovery Trends.

George Socha and Tom Gelbmann, two names well known in the e-discovery field for their annual Socha-Gelbmann Electronic Discovery Survey and for their roles in developing the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, have launched Apersee, a website that aims to become the premier system for helping litigation professionals choose e-discovery providers and products. The site features the Selection Engine, a tool that lets you pick and rank the criteria that are important to you and then find the vendors that most closely match.

I have written a more detailed review of Apersee at the Catalyst E-Discovery Blog.

E-discovery in cases under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act can raise many hurdles. Documents are likely to be in multiple languages. The quantity of data is likely to be huge. And the data is apt to be housed with multiple custodians in any number of global locations and in any variety of formats.

Along with Jim Eidelman and Chris Toomey of Catalyst Consulting, I have just helped write a white paper on this topic for Catalyst Repository Systems. The white paper, Navigating ESI Challenges in an FCPA Investigation, offers guidance on how to address these and other issues.

Find the link to download the white paper on the Catalyst for FCPA Practices page.

Thanks to the shameless plugging of Frank Gonnello Jr., I learned about the e-discovery blog e-Lessons Learned. The blog is overseen by Fernando M. Pinguelo, a New Jersey attorney and Seton Hall law professor, and written using contributions from law students from all over the country.

The blog takes a clever approach to the topic. Each post discusses an e-discovery case that involves an e-discovery mishap, generally by a company employee. It discusses the conduct that constituted the mishap and then offers its “e-lesson” — a suggestion on how to learn from the mistake and avoid it happening to you.

The blog is hosted by DiscoveryResources.org, a site sponsored by the e-discovery services company Fios Inc.

Updates to two of the sites I discussed in my recent two-part article, “Discovering E-Discovery on the Web” (Part One, Part Two):

First, I wrote in the article that DiscoveryResources.org “may be the leading e-discovery portal” and that its Sound Evidence blog, written by e-discovery expert Mary Mack, is “one of the best known e-discovery blogs.” Tomorrow, the site will be relaunched with a number of updates and improvements. According to Mack, changes to the site will include:

  • New navigation for tracking e-discovery best practices and case law.
  • New “From the Experts” articles on current e-discovery issues and trends.
  • A new “Bookstore” featuring the latest books on e-discovery issues.
  • RSS feeds for tracking the latest news and information.
  • Updated links to industry resources and judicial opinions.
  • A newly designed monthly newsletter.
  • Links to industry blogs and other e-discovery community resources.

Meanwhile, one of the blogs I discussed in the article, Information Governance Engagement Area, has been discontinued in favor of a more ambitious project. Its author, Rob Robinson, a marketing veteran who has worked with several e-discovery companies, has just launched Complex Discovery, which he describes as a source for “information, tools and tactics relevant to the growing discovery market.” The site is organized around key e-discovery stages, including collection, processing, review and production, and already has a number of useful resources. In addition to the “standard” articles, news items, guidelines and the like, Robinson has incorporated several innovative features:

Robinson invites suggestions of relevant RSS feeds to add to his Yahoo! Pipes aggregator.