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E-discovery software provider Attenex on Feb. 1 introduced a new version of a software package that enables corporations and their law firms to standardize e-mail and document accessibility and provide marked reductions in the time, effort and costs associated with the processes.

The Attenex Patterns 4.0 software suite contains more than 50 new features and enhancements, including allowing the reuse of documents previously processed and reviewed—such as valuable attorney work involving document marks or annotations.

For large enterprises, this reuse can eliminate expense associated with the same documents being examined multiple times to fulfill similar requests, an Attenex spokesperson said.

New project management capabilities and reporting options provide users with insight into reviewer productivity rates and project status. Attenex Patterns also now supports the clustering and review of documents in 23 languages.

Other enhancements include a number of user interface features that provide new efficiencies to corporate legal departments. The product’s patented visualization and concept-mapping capabilities help corporate legal departments and law firms analyze documents to support the demands of investigations, regulatory compliance and litigation, the spokesperson said.

In 2006, Attenex software helped users track more than 1 billion electronic documents through the process of discovery and review, a company spokesperson said.

The Attenex Patterns platform provides the technical foundation on which corporations can integrate e-discovery into their overall data management strategy and keep control of the entire process, even when discrete steps in the process are outsourced to law firms or service providers, the spokesperson said.

Attenex Patterns features open APIs and an SDK (software development kit) that enables corporations to integrate it with other applications as well as automate the loading of data, reducing time, expense and risk in the process. Attenex Connector Kits for several popular case management software applications will be announced later in 2007, the spokesperson said.

Click here to read about Symantec’s updated e-discovery control suite.

“Large corporations tell us that there’s a lot of chaos around e-discovery. There are a lot of steps in the process, response times are short, and there are a number of different groups involved—corporate legal departments, IT, outside counsel and often various service providers,” said Kimra Hawley, CEO of Attenex, in Seattle. “Because of this complexity, the results are inconsistent and their corporate data ends up in too many places. It’s an expensive fire drill every time and they’re fed up.”

Over the last two years, Attenex has worked with a number of Fortune 1000 corporations to bring order to this chaos and help find what’s relevant fast, Hawley said. “Our latest release is the result of that experience,” Hawley told eWEEK. “It’s a software platform that integrates and manages the steps in the discovery process so companies and their law firms can standardize on a set way of doing discovery every time. They get better results faster, have improved control and spend a lot less money.”

An increased demand for electronic information from regulatory agencies and developments such as recent changes to the FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) have motivated corporations to take more direct control of the discovery process—including collecting, processing, analyzing and producing the necessary electronically stored information—during litigation, investigations and regulatory compliance.

“The largest addressable cost in e-discovery is the cost of legal professionals who review data,” wrote Barry Murphy, senior analyst for Forrester Research, in a recent report (“eDiscovery Technology Spending To Top $4.8 Billion By 2011,” December 2006).

“Tools with visual analytics built in can make these legal professionals more efficient by determining whether or not data is relevant, is privileged or even needs to be produced in response to a discovery request. Tools aimed at making lawyers with high hourly wages as efficient as possible represent the largest potential cost savings in e-discovery,” Murphy wrote.

E-discovery advisory group formed

In addition to the Attenex Patterns 4.0 software suite, Attenex also announced the formation of an advisory group on e-discovery best practices for corporations and the introduction of software certification programs for attorneys.

The advisory group will develop and exchange e-discovery best practices based around the use of Attenex software while providing direct feedback on the Attenex product road map. Attenex has retained noted e-discovery industry expert George Socha to assist as the group defines an actionable framework for e-discovery based on Attenex software and industry standards such as the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model).

“Corporations are looking for ways to increase their control of the process in order to reduce the costs and risks of discovery and review,” said Socha, of Socha Consulting. “The objective of the advisory group is to provide a framework for corporations to define and implement a repeatable process for discovery and review by combining the practical considerations of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model with the real-world experience of leading corporations.”

Attenex Patterns 4.0 is available now. Pricing is dependent on modules and usage.

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