It is a great pleasure to be able to put up the logo of information retrieval company H5 as a new sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project. I described H5 in a recent article as “a cross between a commercial information consulting business and a research university” one which, I said, lays as much stress on its high-calibre people as it does on the services and software which comprise its offering to clients.
My connection with H5 goes back to my first foray into the US litigation world, at LegalTech in 2007. I went there because it had become obvious that a half-understanding of US e-discovery was acting as a brake on the UK use of electronic means to tackle electronic documents. The UK alternative was simply to ignore the fact that 90% of communication between businesses is electronic, and to take refuge in the assertion that electronic discovery was something Americans did, and did both extravagantly and expensively. Whilst we still suffer from that amongst the backwoodsmen of UK litigation, we are eroding it and replacing the image of US providers as all “Texans with tall hats” (as one of them once put it to me) with the reality of intelligent people trying to solve much the same problems as our own.
I met Michael Morneault, Practice Director at H5, at that LegalTech. I say “I met” him but what actually happened is that I found his card in my pocket after a shouted conversation with a nice chap whose name I did not catch in a crowded vodka bar where EDRM (the Electronic Discovery Reference Model) was holding a party. Mike mailed me some information about H5 which interested me sufficiently to follow it up and keep in touch. I next heard H5’s name from Mark Dingle of LitSavant, then litigation support manager at Simmons & Simmons, who has one of the more discerning eyes when it comes to evaluating litigation support companies. If Mark thought H5 was interesting, then they were worth keeping an eye on.
Much of what I write about here concerns the Project’s sponsors, mainly because I know them better than others and keep in touch with them. I do not feel constrained to limit my focus to the sponsors (although they by now number most of the main players in the litigation software market anyway), and am guided instead by the general consideration described in a blog page called Interest me. H5 certainly interested me, and they turn up in articles of mine such as Keywords not always the key to disclosure, How TREC can help you evaluate e-Discovery investments, and, perhaps most interestingly for me, How can we do this differently? which concerns H5′s arrangement with litigation specialist firm O’Melveny & Myers to bring a joint approach to clients’ cases. More recently, I wrote about H5’s venture into litigation software in H5 EDGE Classifier brings intelligence to ediscovery search.
The word “cerebral” often comes across as meaning the opposite of “commercial”. H5 manage to combine both of these qualities, and my annual meetings with CEO Nicolas Economou, Executive Managing Director and General Counsel Julia Brickell and Communications Director Sandra Song have been intellectually stimulating as well as rooted in commerciality. That, indeed, is H5’s most obvious selling point – a new project involves thought and analysis first and action afterwards with, as the web site puts it, an approach “combining advanced proprietary technologies with professional expertise in linguistics, statistics, computer science, law, information technology, process engineering, and e-discovery”.
My meeting with them this year was largely taken up with an explanation about their software application EDGE Classifier, which I am now in a position to write about more fully than was the case when I first mentioned it. I will do so shortly.
Meanwhile H5’s presence as a sponsor brings a thoughtful, as well as a likeable, reinforcement to the e-Disclosure Information Project.
As an aside, I collect marketing phrases which capture the target in a few words. I like H5’s tag “What are you missing? How do you know?”.