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Costs of e-discovery in legal sector ECMs causing problems

by | Jun 11, 2009

One attorney says ECM is breaking down the judicial systemA growing number of industries have begun using enterprise content management solutions, but one industry analyst says the use of ECM in the legal world is "destroying the American system of justice."

Writing for the InformationWeek blog, Michael Hickins says that some in the legal industry, like Ralph Losey, an attorney who specializes in technology”s legal applications, feel that ECM is not being managed properly.

Also, because of the tendency of courts to call for all relevant forms of communication during the pre-trial, more companies feel the need to archive all communication for fear of missing something that may be "relevant."

How this breaks down the judicial system is through the costs involved with going through the vast amounts of data archived in ECM solutions when a lawsuit is filed. Hickins says Fannie Mae spent $6 million last year in finding more than 600,000 emails and documents containing any of the 400 keywords listed in a subpoena.

However, Losey says Fannie Mae got off relatively lightly considering companies spend an average of $10 million per lawsuit on e-discovery.

A study earlier this year from ClearPeople found that SharePoint solutions can be slightly tweaked to help industries – especially the legal sector – better find documents in their archives.