Legal departments at large companies are looking to bring e-discovery in-house, but lack the infrastructure and, in some cases, the personnel to do so. That’s the view of D4 LLC, which recently launched a managed services offering for e-discovery. The East Rochester, N.Y.-based company’s eNtrust service aims to make e-discovery available under a fixed-cost, subscription-based model.

E-discovery involves the identification, collection, and analysis of electronically stored evidence. The 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which set rules for a civil lawsuit’s discovery phase, helped set the stage for today’s demand for litigation support services. That revision cast a rather wide net, making “electronically stored information” subject to discovery.

John Holland, chief executive officer and founder of D4, said corporations seek to cut the cost of relying on outside counsel to handle e-discovery chores. Some companies heavily involved in litigation may tap 20 to 30 law firms, he noted.

Making e-discovery an in-house function cuts expenses and provides more control over the process, Holland said. But assembling the specialized software and personnel to get the job done can prove beyond the capabilities of corporate legal teams.

Cloud-based Service

D4 offers its managed service in the cloud. Holland noted that changes in software licensing models let the company offer e-discovery as multi-tenant service.

Martha MacPherson, director of marketing at D4, said the company works with e-discovery software vendors including kCura Corp., AccessData, Clearwell Systems Inc., LexisNexis and Zapproved Inc. (Legal Hold Pro). D4 also partners with Index Engines, which offers technology for scanning backup tapes and indexing the content. Index Engines recently rolled out a cloud-based tape discovery service.

At the moment, D4’s e-discovery cloud is hosted through a third-party. But the company plans to open its own data center May 1 in Rochester. He said the data center will be a SAS 70 Type II compliant facility.

D4 also provides eNtrust on an on-premise basis, in which case the company remotely accesses the solution.

D4’s initiative provides another sign that the legal vertical will adopt managed services as a way to trim expenses. Law firms and legal departments have been snapping up managed services in such areas as e-mail and marketing.  Litigation support can also join that list.