NOTE: And what’s this Section about?
This gives the background and detail of the different types of suppliers so that you can understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each type when you ask them to demonstrate their software. If you just want a list of the main UK organisations go to Vendor List section.
The purpose of this section is to give a brief overview of the different types of vendor that users of this Guide will encounter in the marketplace. This is done so that the relationship between the software offerings and the people that supply them is understood. It is deliberately UK-focused.
Background/Gartner Report #
The definitive guide to the eDisclosure marketplace used to be provided by the analyst firm Gartner. It published annual reviews in May of each year from 2011-15. Retailing at some $1,500 they used to normally be obtained for free, via vendor’s websites for the “cost” of an email address for marketing purposes. One of the key elements of a Gartner report is its use of a “Magic Quadrant” to categorise firms according to both their ability to deliver functionality and the completeness of their vision. It is a useful background document, but is very US centred and does not cover third party suppliers. That is the purpose of this Guide.
In 2014 one of the main themes of the reporting on the Gartner report was how similar the Magic Quadrant was to the previous year, suggesting that the market had paused and a period of consolidation was about to start. This was confirmed in 2015, with what was the final version.
In 2021 Gartner revived their analysis of the eDiscovery marketplace with an new report.
Consultancy Firms #
Up until 2010, this group was mainly the accountancy/consultancy firms in Deloitte, KPMG, E&Y, PwC, Navigant, etc. In 2010 however, two formally independent third party suppliers were bought out by firms eager to provide litigation support to their clients. Legal Inc became part of Grant Thornton and Trilantic was bought by Huron Consulting. In both cases the litigation support firm gained the financial backing and larger access to market of their “parent”, though there was perceived to be a slight disruption to their ability to deliver services during the initial “bedding in” period. This dissipated during the year.
2012 saw further consolidation with 7Safe being acquired by PA Consulting at the start of the year, and in June, Palmer Legal Technology (PLT) became part of Proven, a litigation support and investigations firm. In December 2015, Proven was acquired by Consilio.
This group can realistically be split into two “camps”. In one there are the “supermodels” of the big accountancy based firms, Deloitte, E&Y, KPMG, PA Consulting and PwC. This group are larger scale firms that tend to exist of a steady diet of work generated by the rest of the organisation. Some are interested in the bigger litigation projects, but users of this guide are more likely to encounter them when the client announces that they will be using their services and the law firm will just have to comply. In house counsel might have far more to do with this group, and will have their own opinion on the strengths and weaknesses they bring to any project. I have labelled these the “supermodels” in that the litigation projects normally have to be of a certain size to warrant them “getting out of bed”. If your matter is large enough to be of interest to them they can provide a premium service at (for the main) a premium price. If it’s Friday and you have 1 GB of data you need to get processed by Monday, you probably don’t bother with these guys, as the conflict checks alone might take the weekend, if not longer.
In the second sub-group are the relatively smaller consultancy organisations such as Consilio, FTI Consulting, Grant Thornton, and Ankura (formally Navigant). I use the words “relatively smaller” as though they might not be as large as their “supermodel” brethren, they are significant organisations in their own right and much larger than the third party suppliers they compete against. These are much faster at processing their conflict checks, taking hours rather than days, and are interested in smaller projects (using the “set a sprat to catch a mackerel” sales approach). It might be worthwhile approaching them on the ubiquitous Friday afternoon scenario, but do be aware they can take slightly longer to respond, as they come with their own QA process that does have an overhead. But if that is what you need, then they will be a Godsend.
In summary there are good people doing good work within the teams inside the large (and very large) organisations. There are pro’s and con’s with selecting a “larger” firm over a “smaller” one, these will emerge as each potential user evaluates their own requirements against the supplier’s strengths in the procurement process.
Software Specific Organisations #
This group is the firms that own the software that they bring to market and thus have greater control over its development path. However, obviously, their consultancy and approach to litigation services is predicated upon their own software. In the UK, this group is split between two groups, the more numerous UK arms of US based firms, and a smaller group of UK headquartered organisations.
In the first group there are firms such as; (a non-exclusive, alphabetical list follows), Aon (that used to be Stroz Friedberg), DISCO, Everlaw, Epiq, KLDiscovery, OpenText (that used to be Recommind), SullivanStrickler and ZyLAB. In the second is only eMag now owned by Insurgo.
These firms are financially secure and (generally) have a depth of resources, though there is a perception that, for some of them, their project management teams always seem to be stretched. They are generally the more corporate offering as opposed the final grouping described next.
Solutions/Bureau Organisations #
The members of this group tend to be relatively smaller firms that thrive on offering a variety of solutions to end users and can match their products to the specific requirement of a case. There is an element of this grouping that came from a scanning and coding background, with others from the forensic services area. These firms are sometimes more “nimble” than their bigger brothers and can be more focused on client care, but carry a slighter greater risk in terms of their financial standing and long term viability.
Rather than list the UK “players” here, readers should explore Chapter 8 to get a feel for the vendors that are out there and their offerings. There are significant number to choose from.
Outsourcing Organisations #
There are a number of Legal Processing Organisations (LPO), with the majority of offerings based in either India or South Africa, with both Epiq and Integreon also having a UK base and supplying services to a number of larger law firms. These organisations tend to be software agnostic and mainly (in this marketplace) provide a cheaper option for carrying out larger scale review work. Using these organisations is normally something that is done by the experienced ligation support client, so there is some coverage of LPO’s in this guide, but not a significant amount. Again, readers should explore Chapter 8 to get a feel for the vendors that are out there and their offerings.
External Review Teams #
There are a small number of organisations that will provide review teams of experienced legal staff (paralegals and/or lawyers). These teams can either work off-site or on your premises. The individuals are normally very familiar with a number of review tools and are agnostic in terms of the vendors. They have the advantage that the teams can be deployed very quickly and just as quickly reduced in numbers. The organisations also increasingly offer access to bilingual skills in Russian and other eastern European languages as well as the more common EU varieties. The ones in this version of the Guide include:
BCL Legal, Epiq, i-Lit Paralegals, TransPerfect Legal Solutions.
Managed Review Facilities/Teams #
Similar to the previous section, during 2014, there was a flurry of organisations offering managed review services within their own premises, in response to a growing demand from law firms. The suppliers offer a (normally) London based secure facility, alongside the ability to rapidly provide reviewers skilled in a specific review tool, very often with a specific language ability. All suppliers tell stories of being rung on a Thursday night with requests for “a team of 20 reviewers to work from Friday through the weekend in order to complete the project by Monday morning”. If that’s your idea of forward planning then these people exist to meet your needs.
The ones in this version of the Guide include:
Consilio, Epiq, KLDiscovery and Integreon.