By Kirby Lee Davis
Courtesy of The Journal Record
TULSA – Avansic expects a new e-discovery tool to boost its 2013 revenues more than 20 percent.
When client need forced the Tulsa-based digital forensics company to quickly search through and organize almost a billion legal documents tied to the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill, Avansic tested a licensed search tool from the Dallas software company Pure Discovery. The Avansic team then modified the program with its own software, hosted on its own servers, to address specific legal industry issues.
“Pure Discovery technology was used to help cluster the documents together and create the concept search engine that helps us look for the smoking-gun documents,” said Avansic Chief Executive Gavin Manes.
Avansic now offers this licensed e-discovery service under the name Pure Discovery, charging 5 cents per document handled, or $75 per gigabyte.
That compares to $150 per gigabyte under some American Bar Association e-discovery cost estimates.
While Avansic continues to employ different data filtering and word search tools, Pure Discovery’s associative methods provide the ability to crack different communications methods, account for misspellings, identify hidden meanings, and sort files by multiple topics.
“That’s the power of the tool,” said Avansic Chief Information Officer and Vice President Lance Watson. “It allows you to do associations between things that maybe don’t seem to be together.
“We had a client who was on a very tight deadline,” he said. “They had 55,000 documents to review in a three-week period. They used this technology to do the clustering. Essentially they identified the set of documents they wanted to review in the first hour of using the database. They narrowed it to 4,000 documents they said were key.”
That $500 expenditure probably saved the client $100,000 in review time, said Manes, reflecting on one of the primary e-discovery challenges. National analysts estimate that discovery and review expenses now account for 50 percent or more of legal costs, in part because of the sheer number of documents lawyers may need to review.
Digesting 100,000 emails can translate into 300,000 documents, Manes said, taking into account various attachments and other files. Under traditional systems, he said law firms may face fees of $1 to $5 per document to determine relevance and importance.
Those estimates fell in line with past ABA studies.
“What Pure Discovery does is it actually creates a library with clusters of documents that you can walk through,” said Manes, visualizing them with an interactive pie chart.
The system also helps identify and reduce duplication, Watson said.
“Some estimates show that 60 percent of document sets are duplicated,” Manes said.
“The goal of the engine is to reduce the amount of energy and effort required to get through a set of documents, but to do it in a way that is defensible to the opposing party,” he said. “And it’s also more affordable. The savings is immediate.”
Manes said he expects Pure Discovery to add about $1 million of revenue to Avansic’s bottom line this year. After two recessionary years, Avansic saw its revenues jump almost 100 percent in 2012 to $4.5 million.
“We expect it to save our clients tens of millions of dollars in their document review,” Manes said. “For every dollar I’m making, our client is saving about $100.”