Automating the e-mail discovery process proves fruitful for Transatlantic Reinsurance Co.
Any attorney or in-house counsel who relies on e-mail for evidence or litigation support knows that e-mail discovery is among the most mind-numbing, inefficient processes that enterprises face. And in today's highly regulated business climate, e-mail messages have become one of the most scrutinized and sought after categories of business records.
Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, Inc. better known as "TRC," is one of the largest publicly traded reinsurers in the industry, and like all other players in that industry, we face increasing oversight over business transactions -- particularly relating to e-mail. As a result, our legal and IT teams are responsible for searching through and reviewing tens of thousands of messages to find pertinent e-mails related to inquiries. These examinations are almost always subject to fairly tight deadlines.
THE PERSISTENCE OF E-MAIL
The challenge with e-mail is that retention policies are difficult to police at best, and e-mail never really goes away.
As a result, companies like TRC have ended up with literally millions of messages stored on multiple servers.
Prior to automating our retrieval and analysis process, our IT team spent between one and three days processing each keyword inquiry.
Depending on the number of "hits" returned, our lawyers then had thousands of e-mails to review for relevance and privilege.
Each time a regulator returned with a new keyword request, an entirely new search had to be initiated. In instances where historical data were needed from tapes or other long-term media, the IT department would inevitably need to add at least another week to the process. Once the search was complete, we had to cull the duplicate hits caused by getting the same e-mail from any number of recipients. As a result, our legal personnel ended up spending days organizing and analyzing the results. In one instance, a review of 11,000 messages generated by a keyword search determined that approximately 50 percent were duplicates and another 40 percent were spam or irrelevant. In the end, less than 10 percent were actually relevant.
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By: Edward Kelley