Big email: How to effectively find the needle in the haystack (Part 1)

Big Data is top of mind for all key stakeholders within large enterprises today, and data mining is a current hot topic

Consider a common scenario: Your legal department has been alerted by a whistleblower to potentially fraudulent activity happening within the organization. There are a few clues to use as a starting point, but the key facts — as well as whether or not fraud actually occurred — remain unknown. With hundreds of millions of emails within the enterprise, and the need to uncover the facts as quickly as possible, the team cranks up the e-discovery process. This effort is undertaken through the same tried and true approach used for all matters involving electronically stored information — identify some key custodians and review most of their documents — and everyone involved knows how time consuming and potentially expensive this process can be. It could take months and precious internal resources to comb through millions of electronic documents to get to the bottom of the whistleblower’s accusations.

This scenario can incite migraines in even the most prepared general counsel. And while the standard “comprehensive review of a large volume of documents” e-discovery process is often unavoidable in responding to discovery demands, there is a better way to respond to or get ahead of the discovery demands in situations similar to the one described above. Counsel need a process that builds on existing processes and technology but leverages the power of emerging analytics capabilities at the outset of a matter to find facts upfront. For a legal department, what matters at the end of the day is finding the facts for any number of reasons including intercepting behaviors within the organization that are illegal or violate compliance regulations, responding to a whistleblower as described above, determining whether or how to dispose of a matter and planning case and e-discovery strategy in the event of a lawsuit. But with ever-increasing data volumes, getting to the facts the traditional “standard review” way is becoming more and more expensive and time consuming for legal teams.

Contributing Author

David Grant

David Grant is a senior managing director in the FTI Technology practice and is based in New York.

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.