ECA: The New Buzzword

Early Case Assessment (ECA) is the new buzz word in the e-discovery world but really only the word is new. Attorneys have always tried to identify and collect the specific  documents they need for a particular matter soon after talking with their client. The difference now, of course, is the often immense volume and electronic nature of the documents which make narrowing their scope problematic.

The key to ECA, at least to my mind, is recognizing that is a process and not a product.  True ECA services should that offer law firms and corporate counsel the ability to gain early insight into cases, help determine case strategy, and predict, control and minimize the costs, risks and time of electronic discovery. Ideally, this would involve metrics, methods and technologies to empower litigators to make optimal decisions as early as possible pertaining to case strategy and budgets.

These services would include defensible search methodologies to reduce the volume of electronically stored information (ESI) required for review, and the means to slash indexing times and nearly all reprocessing prior to review. This, in turn, would offer litigators the ability to bring predictable, reasonable costs to electronic data discovery processes, reduce unnecessary capital expenditures, and eliminate spends typically made under tight deadlines or resource constraints.

Browning E. Marean, Senior Counsel and co-chair of the Electronic Discovery Readiness and Response Group at DLA Piper, says ” The ability to gain early insight into the facts of a case, determine case strategy, and predict, control and reduce costs is exactly what law firms and general counsel departments are looking for.  A vendor’s strategy of approaching ECA as a process, and offering the right combination of consulting services enabled by proven technology should be the right one for addressing these challenges and differentiating itself from other providers in the marketplace.”

Chuck Kellner, Vice President of eDiscovery Consulting at Anacomp, explains how his team  provides ECA services by saying . ” We realize that ECA can mean different things to various stakeholders, so we offer a consultative approach and a scalable solution that is flexible in how it acquires data. Our services ensure lawyers and litigation support professionals’ satisfaction with the defensibility of search methods, and the speed and continuity of litigation processes. By leveraging our proven processes and technologies, Anacomp’s ECA services offer litigators the ability to gain early visibility into ESI and make smart, budget-conscious decisions about what to review and how to negotiate the scope of data discovery.”

So when you hear a vendor say they “provide ECA services”, ask them if by that they mean a process which provides faster operations, higher capacity processing, intelligent data collection and superior search, analytics and processing abilities to provide defensible, best-practice and cost-effective solutions to eDiscovery obligations. If they don’t, you may be speaking with the wrong vendor.

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1 comment so far

  1. […] ECA: The New Buzzword « docNative Paradigm Blog docnativeblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/eca-services – view page – cached Early Case Assessment (ECA) is the new buzz word in the e-discovery world but really only the word is new. Attorneys have always tried to identify and collect the specific documents they need for a particular matter soon after talking with their client. The difference now, of course, is the often immense volume and electronic nature of the documents which make narrowing their scope problematic. — From the page […]


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