Is a Picture Worth a Thousand New Clients? Stratify hopes to score with new version of discovery suite, featuring Visual Email Analytics, released during LegalTech 2005
Ari Kaplan Special to Law.com 02-28-2005
People say a picture is worth a thousand words,
but Mountain View, Calif.-based Stratify Inc. is
hoping that it's worth a few new clients as well. To
that end, the electronic discovery software firm
launched its next-generation suite -- Stratify Legal
Discovery 5.0 -- at the recent LegalTech 2005 show in New York. (LegalTech is run by ALM Properties Inc., Law.com's parent company).
The suite's highest-profile enhancement is the Visual Email
Analytics feature, which enables users to generate e-mail maps of large, complex document
collections. Attorneys can search through records
(including attachments) by concept, topic thread or
date range. The search results are then translated
into a diagram highlighting the relationships and
"It's true discovery because our clients are finally finding what they're looking
for," says David Bayer, the company's vice president
of marketing and business development.
INTELLIGENCE BACKGROUND, 'SMART' TECHNOLOGY
Founded in September 1999, Stratify counts AmLaw
100 and Fortune 100 companies among its clients. Its
patented technology was originally developed for the
U.S. intelligence community. The company receives funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the
CIA, but declined to describe the ways in which its technology is being used.
With most business communication being conducted by
e-mail, instant messaging and voice mail, electronic
search programs have become a critical tool in
In addition to Visual Email
Analytics, Statify's new package automatically creates
intelligent concept folders specific to a case or
matter based on the document content, organizes these
concepts hierarchically based on their
interrelationships and then sorts the documents into
A "smart technology" feature is
used to bypass irrelevant or duplicate document
processing. Attorneys can also redact individual
words or document areas on any record, as well as
search for and globally redact specific words or
phrases across an entire document.
While there are other companies that offer "concept
search" tools, concept search only creates partial
order, notes Ramana Venkata, Stratify's founder and
CEO. "Stratify is the only company that creates
complete order," he says. "None of our competitors have a
similar e-mail analytics capability in the
Not everyone supports Venkata's claim of uniqueness in Stratify's product.
"Attenex customers have been using a visual interface to review and
categorize large collections of e-mail and electronic
documents since 2001," says Mike Kinnaman, vice president
of marketing for Seattle, Wash.-based competitor
While acknowledging that Stratify's suite looked interesting when he saw
it at LegalTech, Brad Harris, director of product
management for Portland, Ore.-based competitor Fios
Inc., says "you have to look beyond the shiny objects
and determine whether they add value to the core of what you need to accomplish."
Stratify's history as a provider of technology to the
intelligence community can be seen as both a benefit and a burden.
While the firm's discovery suite offers a dynamic platform used for a
diverse audience and is tailored for the law, it was
not designed for that purpose. At Attenex, by contrast, "[the] software was spun out of a law firm
and designed for use by attorneys," says Kinnaman.
A USER'S RECOMMENDATION
Nevertheless, at least some users appear to be pleased.
The program is "a significant step forward in assisting
attorneys to find key documents in the vast sea of
electronic discovery," says DLA Piper Rudnick
Gray Cary partner Browning E. Marean. He has recommended
Stratify to his own clients because "Stratify will
speed the process of review considerably by allowing
rapid focus on the key documents."
Perhaps that picture may be worth more than words.
Ari Kaplan is an attorney and freelance writer in New York City. He can be
reached at www.arikaplan.net.