David Hricik, associate professor at the Mercer University School of Law, had just finished his speech at a legal conference when an attendee approached him, eager to share an anecdote.
The attendee told Hricik, an expert on legal technology, about a negotiation with a large software manufacturer. The software company sent him a contract that its counsel had drafted in Microsoft Word. With a click of the mouse, the attendee and his team revealed a goldmine of secrets hidden within that contract that completely compromised the software company's negotiation strategy.
"It would be impossible to overstate how disastrous the disclosure of this
information could be," Kodner says. "This would apply certainly to any document flowing through the general counsel's offices, but it would really apply to any document that flows through the corporation."
Workshare currently services 62 percent of the Fortune 1000, and its product starts at about $29 per user annually before volume discounts. Other vendors that provide similar solutions include Esquire Innovations' iScrub, BEC Legal Systems' Metadata Scrubber and Payne Consulting Group's Metadata Assistant.
Whatever solutions in-house counsel decide to employ, the key is to be aware of metadata, understand the risks it creates and know how to avoid liabilities.