As I wandered the long aisles of e-discovery vendors at LegalTech the past two days I realized from at least two of the vendors that they use the term “early case assessment” with a definition different from how I have used it on this blog. Here I use it as a method to get a handle on a lawsuit within the first 60-90 days that it is filed, with such areas as costs, strategy, resolution options, and key legal issues laid out (See my post of Feb. 23, 2008: early case assessment with 8 references; June 10, 2008: law firm used only for ECA; and Aug. 5, 2008: GE saves millions with ECA.).
From the marketing literature of Autonomy I see that they use the term for software that enables a law department to “rapidly locate, access and analyze relevant data within the first 48 hours after a case is filed.” They cite a Fortune 100 company that filtered its data set of potential document by over 95 percent, which dramatically reduced their review set. OpenText uses the term in a similar matter. It’s software “identifies, crawls and indexes information from many enterprise data sources,” which allows litigation lawyers to understand much more quickly how many documents exist that might have to be stored, reviewed and produced. Early case assessment for litigation support is, therefore, another meaning of ECA.