IT’S AN exciting time for those at the forefront of computer forensics, Forensic Data CEO Nicholas Adamo told Lawyers Weekly,
“It’s revolutionised the industry. I think that the next 18 months will be probably some of the most exciting we’ve seen to date. I mean, I started my company 10 years ago, well before computer forensics was even a discipline.”
The pace of change has been rapid, and law firms and regulatory bodies are working hard to keep up. Law firms are proactively seeking advice, asking specialists in Adamo’s team: “How do we get the best [system] available to support our activities, without having to build it all ourselves?”
“This is one of the classic areas where people are saying to us, particularly the lawyers not just in law firms, but in corporate counsel and some of the big corporations, saying ‘we don’t want to have to build a 20 person litigation support function’. What they want to do is keep control of it, but get advice on how to make use of those services,” Adamo said.
According to Deloitte partner Tim Phillip, advisory work (as opposed to event-driven work) now comprises about 50 per cent of the computer forensic and electronic discovery group’s practice.
So what are the hot topics on the minds of the nation’s top law firms? “First and foremost is dealing with legacy media,” Phillips explained. “These are the old backup tapes that every company has, that they can no longer read because they don’t have the hardware. They no longer have the software. They no longer have the staff who can use the software to read the tapes. So legacy media is the first point.”
Information overload poses a serous challenge to the modern lawyer. Firms are struggling to cope with the volume of data being unearthed in class actions and other litigation. The falling cost of technology is partially to blame. “Even a few years ago, the thought of a 100 gigabyte drive was fairly uncommon. Now you can buy a terabyte hard drive for literally under $500,” Phillips said.
“Everyone seems to have a significant increase in the total volume of data that they’re storing at any one time. That’s causing real issues. Most backup tapes for example are incremental in nature, and to get 100 backup tapes the total volume of unique data might only be 15 per cent. But, they still need to look through the 100 to get what they need from the ultimate 15 per cent.”