Since its founding in 2001, the main goal of ediscovery company Attenex Corp. has been to increase the efficiency of legal professionals during the ediscovery process. The company is now positioned to help its customers abide by new federal rules as well.
The need for the Attenex Patterns ediscovery software product increased as amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went into effect on Dec. 1, requiring organizations to store and produce electronic data that is related to litigation. That data includes all electronically stored information, from emails to spreadsheets and computer servers. Corporations will now need to know the location of this information and be able to access it quickly.
Attenex, which offers document review and analysis software solutions, has responded with the January release of Attenex Patterns 4.0, the company's ediscovery software suite. Attenex Patterns consists of three applications (Document Mapper, Workbench, and Matter Manager) that are used by Attenex's customer base of corporations and their law firms.
"What the courts have communicated to corporations is they can no longer essentially put the burden on their law firm to come up with a process for discovery," says Mike Kinnaman, vice president of marketing for Attenex. "The data is theirs. They need to understand where it is and how to get it. Our solution gives them a lot of flexibility. The first thing it gives them is control over the process. What they're starting to do is build out a repeatable process."
Attenex Patterns 4.0 is designed to help customers further improve the efficiency of those processes (such as reviewer productivity, project management, and quality control) through more than 50 new enhancements.
"Project management is an area that we've added increased focus," says Kinnaman. "The volume of electronically stored information is just increasing dramatically. The resulting impact to the folks doing the work was that they had no idea how to manage these projects." Two years ago, Attenex launched Matter Manager to help organizations improve their project-management capabilities. "What we provide them with our Matter Manager tool is a single view into what's happening," says Kinnaman. "They have a way to look in and say ‘how's this going?' We've added some functionality around the attorneys who review the documents. We can now track the efficiencies of the reviewing attorneys. We provide a dashboard into that activity."
Kinnaman says that customers have requested the ability to leverage past attorney work as a way to improve efficiencies. "If you're involved in some kind of serial litigation where you produce documents to Montana in month one and you have to produce documents to Wyoming in month two, if the request is the same, you shouldn't have to review that document again," says Kinnaman. "You should be able to leverage the work product of the attorney, which is captured by us in the form of metadata that we call a mark or a tag."
Quality control is another area of customer interest that Attenex addressed in this new release, according to Kinnaman. For example, 100 contract attorneys may review documents and identify 100 of those documents as responsive. Within those documents are keywords, concepts, and terms that collectively make those documents responsive, notes Kinnaman. "So if it's a matter about product X, the name ‘product X' will appear in those documents," he says. "We linguistically use that to analyze documents at the same time, so we can point out where a document that contains those terms, concepts or keywords has been found responsive by other attorneys was not marked responsive." This enables quality-control reviewers to question the processes and review the documents to ensure that they have been marked correctly.
Workbench, which provides the IT view of the project process, now includes a feature that aids in foreign language identification and clustering. Users can identify and cluster documents in 23 languages (from French to Croatian). "The minute you have foreign language documents brought into discovery, you immediately need foreign language attorneys to review those documents," says Kinnaman. "The way we've built it in is that you can segment out the French documents, for instance, and make sure you're creating review assignments for the French attorneys."
Attenex will continue to add capabilities in response to customer feedback, says Kinnaman. Many of enhancements of this latest release were the result of independent research initiatives the company spearheaded. Analysts and research firms communicated with Attenex customers and other industry customers to learn their requirements for such a software solution.