Is there a smarter way to sort through documents, using eDiscovery software?
With electronic discovery (eDiscovery) rapidly replacing older ‘paper’ discovery, law firms now have a new medium to contend with. Their cases increasingly comprise large volumes of electronic data like Word documents, PDFs and emails. And they have to adapt to this electronically stored information (ESI).
Too expensive for smaller law firms
To help them do this, a new market for eDiscovery applications has emerged. However, in trying to choose the right software, law firms have to navigate treacherous waters. And that navigation doesn’t come cheap. In fact, experts estimate that up to 70% of the cost of handling a case goes towards eDiscovery.
eDiscovery software marketer Anith Mathai puts it very simply: ‘Small- and medium-sized firms make up three-fourths of the legal market. And yet most eDiscovery software is too expensive for them.”
As head of business development for the GoldFynch eDiscovery application, Mathai is part of a growing cohort of entrepreneurs whose mission is to make eDiscovery more accessible to small law firms.
Says Mathai, “eDiscovery software was too expensive, but we also noticed that lawyers were intimidated by eDiscovery in general. They assumed it would be too technical and complicated for them. So, they were outsourcing it to specialists. This seemed unnecessary to us. Outsourcing has its own expenses and is often unsafe and slow. That’s why we made it our mission to develop easy-to-use, affordable software.”
Harnessing technology to cut costs
New-generation eDiscovery applications cut costs in many ways. For one, they run off cloud technology. Ross Johnson – the chief technical officer at GoldFynch – explains, “Cloud hosting has been around for a long time. In fact, if you use Dropbox, Google Drive, or any Apple product, then you’re already in the Cloud. Software giants like Amazon and Google lease storage and computing power to businesses all over the world. And their thousands of interconnected servers form a ‘cloud.’ The more people there are in the Cloud, the less the costs for each. So, it made sense to run our software using cloud technology. Plus, it means that our clients can access their files from anywhere. All they need is a computer and an internet connection.”
Cloud technology allows GoldFynch to offer a versatile range of plans starting from just $20 a month, for 1 GB of data. Designed specifically for small law firms with tight budgets, GoldFynch offers an all-inclusive price, which makes it easy for smaller law firms to predict their monthly bill.
Giving clients a place to store their data safely is just one of the advantages of GoldFynch, though. Johnson points out that an equally useful feature is its powerful search engine. “We often get compared to Google,” he says, with a wry chuckle, “because our search engine not only searches for files, it simultaneously searches the content of those files too – regardless of the file type. That means Word documents, PDFs, emails, whatever. You can then tag these files and redact private information. It’s so useful, and surprisingly few other applications can do this sort of stuff.”
Reaching people outside the world of law
In fact, although GoldFynch targets lawyers, it’s also gained traction amongst academics, business people, and member of large institutions. Drawn in by its low cost and ease of use, they use it to store and sift through their files.
eDiscovery is obviously an exciting new field with a lot of untapped potential for document sorting and searching. It’s a question of what problems innovative eDiscovery providers choose to solve.