“E-Discovery Firms Search Data for Evidence”

Good overview of the surging e-discovery field. Reporting by the Los Angeles Times:

"Day and night, rows of whirring, blinking computers sock away enormous batches of digital records sent by companies involved in lawsuits. Other data are discovered deep in hard drives — wedged between personal e-mails, pornography and other files— by Kroll Ontrack forensic teams whose code names keep their missions secret.

"All this once was an arcane backwater of the legal services field. Electronic discovery was commonly performed by local computer experts who played golf with law firm procurement officers.

"But several factors — including the abundance of inexpensive data storage, high-profile lawsuits and laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that demand thorough corporate archiving — are making electronic discovery a lucrative and competitive slice of information technology.

"The overall market is worth close to $2 billion and is growing about 35% a year, said Michael Clark, who analyzes the field at EDDix. The number of companies offering computer-related evidence gathering appears to have doubled in the last two or three years, with several hundred now hanging a shingle."